Microsoft’s Windows 10 S is what happens when a once-easygoing handling complement has kids and turns into a helicopter parent. Windows 10 S, a locked-down chronicle of Windows 10 found on a Surface Laptop and a tiny organisation of low-cost, third-party notebooks, keeps students protected and secure by restricting them to a Windows Store. But as a examination shows, a miss of leisure chafes.
Locking your PC divided from a big, bad, outward universe creates clarity when your children are going off to high propagandize or college, Microsoft thinks. But even a many responsible primogenitor will consternation because their child can’t use Chrome to lamp YouTube videos to a Chromecast, imitation on some internal printers, or strengthen their PC with anything other than Windows Defender. There’s always an shun hatch: a facile ascent to Windows 10 Pro. But otherwise, Windows 10 S can be an practice in frustration.
Who’s it for?
Microsoft provides Windows 10 S giveaway of assign to educational institutions, and it’s not tough to see why: Microsoft wants a school’s IT dialect (not you) to buy a compared Intune for Education government support software, as good as an Office 365 for Education subscription for a Office apps students will use.
Windows 10 S and a hardware are also chasing Chromebooks, a inexpensive clamshell notebooks powered by Google’s giveaway and docile Chrome OS, that have taken a preparation marketplace by storm. The similarity is not an accident: In fact, as we were essay this review, Asus let us know that a chronicle of a Chromebook C202 would be expelled in Sep as a W202NA, a Windows 10 S-powered machine.
As with Chromebooks, students can’t collect adult a duplicate of Windows 10 S and bucket it onto their possess machine. Instead, Windows 10 S will come preloaded onto Microsoft’s Surface Laptop or a tiny cadre of third-party Windows 10 S laptops labelled for medium propagandize budgets and ruggedized to withstand classrooms full of kids.
So far, however, usually a Surface Laptop is available. As Microsoft suggested in August, a low-cost Windows 10 S laptops won’t boat until during slightest September, presumably blank a back-to-school window for a 2017 propagandize year.
For this review, we’re not deliberation how docile Windows 10 S is, or possibly it’s a improved choice for securing an educational sourroundings than Chrome OS. Instead, we’re looking during it from a user’s perspective—what it’s like to use compared to bone-fide Windows.
We tested a Microsoft-supplied Surface Laptop, that comes preloaded with Windows 10 S. We will note, however, that we upgraded a Laptop to Windows 10 Pro for benchmarking. To lapse a Surface Laptop to Windows 10 S, we downloaded a publicly accessible Surface liberation image, that is something you’d routinely do usually if your complement were malfunctioning. The routine was flattering easy, yet Microsoft says that you’ll need a USB hang of during slightest 16GB in size. We found it took about an hour’s value of time to download and implement a image.
Microsoft also asked us to make this crystal-clear: If we return from Windows 10 Pro to Windows 10 S, all apps, information and settings are reverted, and will be erased from your PC.
Hey, this is (only) Windows 10!
If you’re gentle operative within a Windows 10 environment, Windows 10 S unequivocally is roughly substantially matching to Windows 10. The supposed Out of a Box Experience is identical, with Cortana walking we yet setup. Once inside a handling system, scarcely all Windows functions like Windows Hello, File Manager, Cortana, Windows Ink, and a several built-in Windows apps all work equally to their equivalents in Windows 10 Home or Pro.
In fact, Microsoft’s possess outline slip points out that Windows 10 S and Windows 10 Pro are scarcely identical, yet with dual pivotal differences: Windows S is limited to apps in a Windows Store, and we can’t join a Windows 10 S appurtenance to a association domain. Otherwise, on both Windows 10 S and Windows 10 Pro we can use BitLocker, Windows Subsystem for Linux, and a HyperV practical appurtenance manager, yet we competence need to capacitate facilities within a Windows Features control panel.
It’s when we turn wearied or discontented with Windows that a troubles start.
For safety’s sake, Windows 10 S prohibits we from installing apps from anywhere yet a Windows Store. You’ll be means to download a app, yet when it comes time to implement it, a Windows 10 S helicopter primogenitor stairs in:
That means, for instance, we can’t download a diversion from a Steam gaming service. If you’d like to use Google’s Chrome browser, we can’t—only Edge. Windows 10 S will concede we to download an executable record from a third-party source, or send it onto a PC from a USB stick. When it comes time to launch it, though, Windows 10 S will retard it.
You expected have certain apps that we simply take for granted, possibly they’re category requirements—like Photoshop (or GIMP), AutoCAD, or MatLab—or training aids for younger students, like Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. Silly small utilities that we competence have tucked divided in a folder simply won’t work. Remote support solutions like LogMeIn123 also need a user to download an executable before a remote technician can record in and assistance we solve an emanate with your PC, so this solution’s out, too. Even tried-and-true executable “apps” within Windows, such as a Command Shell or Registry Editor, are off-limits.
This can’t be overstated: The miss of coherence is a biggest reason not to deposit in a Windows 10 S notebook—unless we devise to ascent it to Windows 10 Pro.
A incomparable issue, in my mind, is that Windows 10 S army we to use Microsoft’s Edge browser. While a series of available Edge extensions has climbed to 48 during a time of this writing, with glorious choices including Ghostery and LastPass, Opera, Chrome, and Firefox have thousands of plug-ins and extensions from that to choose. Importing websites and stored passwords from height to height simply isn’t as accessible in Edge as it is in Chrome. Bottom line, it’s a change in function that’s forced on a user, that is certain to annoy some.
Finally, there’s Office. The Windows 10 S “private catalog” underline allows a propagandize or university to emanate a arrange of “store within a Store” to carve out apps that a sold category competence need. It won’t concede we to join a appurtenance to a business or corporate network, though. This competence not meant much, yet if we had visions of saving a sire or dual by joining a business comment of Office 365 to a Windows 10 S PC, it won’t work. The Surface Laptop we reviewed did come with a year’s subscription to Office 365 Personal, however, that is accessible in a beta form. we beheld no differences between Office 365 and a Windows 10 S versions of a apps.
Some relatives will positively support stealing a intensity daze of say, Overwatch, from their child’s PC. And if a propagandize has a web-based curriculum set adult for Chromebooks, a Windows 10 S appurtenance should be means to step in yet blank a beat. But in my mind, a miss of leisure to obtain apps that students competence need robs a lot of a value from Windows 10 S, generally as kids pierce aloft in a educational system.
Unfortunately, a harmony issues request to third-party hardware, too. When we attempted to bond a Surface Laptop to an comparison Dell all-in-one printer around a USB connection, a Laptop famous a hardware, yet wouldn’t bucket a driver—in other words, we couldn’t print, with no reason why. Any motorist or third-party focus that contains scripts or executable files will be blocked by Windows 10 S, Microsoft’s support support reveals. But that’s a lot of gobbledygook to a consumer who buys a Surface Laptop for their student, afterwards has to call Microsoft or a support tech to find out because their son or daughter can’t imitation a breeze of their paper.
It’s value digging yet this Microsoft-compiled index of supported (and unsupported) devices on Windows 10 S to see if you’ll knowledge a same problems we did: The immeasurable infancy of comparison printers simply aren’t upheld by Windows 10 S. To be fair, environment adult Google Cloud Print for a Chromebook has a possess issues, that is because Google is adding internal copy as an initial underline in Chrome OS. Still, doesn’t it seem somewhat violent to be forced to safeguard your inclination are concordant before shopping a Windows machine?
Security and speed
You competence remember that a “S” in Windows 10 S presumably stands for “simplicity,” “security,” and “speed”. We’ve already seen a downside of “simplicity.”
One of a offered points of Windows 10 S, according to Microsoft, is a insurgency to “known ransomware.” Windows 10 S is a company’s newest and many hardened OS, according to a company blog post. ZDNet roughly immediately put that explain to a test, and found that Windows 10 S could be exploited around an aged workaround: Word macros. We didn’t try to imitate ZDNet’s results, yet take Microsoft’s explain with a pellet of salt.
Another thing to consider: Don’t consider that apps like Avast Virus Download Center, Kaspersky Now, or McAfee Central—all apps that seem in a Store when we hunt for “antivirus”—represent tangible antivirus programs. They’re not. You’re contingent on Windows Defender’s built-in firewall and antivirus—both competent, yet substantially not as secure as a third-party solution.
Finally, there’s speed. Microsoft claimed that Windows 10 S is faster to foot and resume than Windows 10 Pro. Originally, we found that Windows 10 S was slower than Windows 10 Pro. After retesting, we found it’s somewhat quicker to boot, yet also somewhat slower to resume from a cold boot. Neither disproportion is generally significant.
A click divided from Windows 10 Pro
Piercings, tattoos, dating a drummer, beer, a joint: all tried-and-true ways for today’s girl to insurgent opposite their parents. Now, we can supplement another to that list: upgrading Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro. If your son or daughter wants to unequivocally hang it to The Man, they can ascent to Windows 10 Pro in only minutes.
(While a ascent from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro is giveaway on a Surface Laptop until a finish of 2017, it will cost $49 thereafter. It’s not transparent what Microsoft will assign to ascent to Windows 10 Pro on a other, cheaper Windows 10 S hardware designed for facile schools.)
You can ascent to Windows 10 Pro by one of dual ways: possibly by a couple during a bottom of a Windows 10 S popups that seem when we try and run an executable file, or by simply typing Windows 10 S Pro into a hunt box of a Windows Store. Either way, clicking a Install symbol starts a process. It doesn’t seem that you’ll indeed need to download a new handling system, as we was means to ascent yet being connected to a wireless network. Windows recommends that we save and tighten all your files and apps before we start a process. Backing adult to OneDrive or another plcae would be a good idea.
When we upgraded from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro, Windows sensitive me it was “preparing to switch,” rebooted once, than finished some final preparations before it launched Windows 10 Pro. All told, a routine took 9 minutes.
As we remarkable above, a switch from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro is insincere to be a one-way street. That’s not indispensably true, as we can download and revive from a Windows 10 S hoop image. But restoring Windows 10 S from that hoop image will erase all files, apps, and settings—so make certain you’re prepared to do so.
Conclusion: If this is Windows, kids will wish a Mac
It’s formidable to erect a unfolding where a user would want Windows 10 S. Sure, an elementary-school tyro with a curriculum built around a Web competence not caring possibly they use Edge or Chrome. A endangered primogenitor perplexing to minimize distractions for a child divided during propagandize competence buy a appurtenance using an OS that sealed out many games. Part of a emanate concerns how Microsoft has attempted to widen Windows 10 S from facile schools all a approach by college, that have vastly opposite mandate in terms of hardware and software.