There is a new operating system (OS) on the market from Microsoft: Windows 10 S. With a name like that, you might think the new OS is the next step in the evolution of Windows 10, similar to how Apple commonly releases “S” editions of its iPhones.
That’s not exactly the case, however. While Windows 10 S promises improvements in both speed and security, those promises also come with some limitations.
Here is a look at what Windows 10 S is, what it isn’t, and who will benefit most from its features.
Strengths of Windows 10 S
The new Microsoft Windows 10 S operating system has two main strengths, and they both happen to start with the letter “S” – speed and security.
Windows 10 S is generally a stripped-down version of the Windows 10 OS. Without all the extra baggage, Windows 10 S is much more streamlined and speedy. In fact, Forbes reported the OS can boot up in as little as 15 seconds.
The OS is also very secure, since it only runs apps users download from Microsoft’s online store. This means Microsoft can essentially control which apps you can and can’t install on your Windows 10 S computer, alleviating the inherent risk that comes with downloading and installing apps from third-party websites. (READ: Microsoft out to regain ground in schools with Surface Laptop)
Both the speed and security of Windows 10 S make it a good operating system for educational purposes. The faster loading times make it a breeze for students and instructors to use, and its security features greatly reduce the risk of an institution’s computers being infected with viruses or malware.
Windows 10 S Weaknesses
For all the strengths of Windows 10 S, it does come with tradeoffs that might turn off some mainstream consumers.
First, while security might be improved because the OS only runs apps from the Windows Store, it also means it’s very limiting. The Verge noted popular apps such as iTunes, Photoshop and Chrome simply aren’t available in the store, and the same is true of many games. Users who can’t live without any of these apps will most likely stay away from Windows 10 S.
Also, while not particularly surprising, the fact that Windows 10 S is locked to Microsoft’s own search platform Bing and its web browser Edge might also be a deal-breaker for many users. Other search platforms such as Google or web browsers such as Firefox may be available for Windows 10 S machines down the road, but for the time being, there’s no way to swap out Bing or Edge as defaults.
If you happen to like both Bing and Edge, this won’t be a problem. However, many users prefer more flexibility than the OS offers in its current state.
Finally, if you do try to download and install apps from third-party websites, you will be asked to pay Microsoft $49 to upgrade to its Windows 10 Pro OS, which does have that capability. That’s not a completely off-putting price for the upgrade, but if you want the ability to install apps that aren’t available in the Windows Store, it makes more sense to bypass the new Windows 10 S in the first place.
What It All Means
It’s worth restating that the speed and security of Windows 10 S make it an attractive OS for educational institutions. It’s certainly a large market, and if successful, it can help Microsoft become top-of-mind with students that will eventually become consumers.
The OS could potentially leave a bad taste in students’ mouths, however. In this age of on-demand media in which young consumers can get just about anything online anytime they want, the fact that Windows 10 S is locked to the likes of Bing and Edge could feel too restricting to students and leave them clamoring for options other than Microsoft and Windows.
Time will tell how successful Windows 10 S will be, but one thing’s for sure — the more apps are added to the Windows Store and usable on the OS, the better its chance for long-term success. – Rappler.com
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