This week Microsoft introduced a new version of Windows 10 which is designed for education, but available to anyone willing to try an operating system that’s a bit more locked down in exchange for the promise of better performance and security.
Windows 10 S can only run apps downloaded from the Windows Store, which limits the number of apps you can run on the operating system. But since those apps run in a containerized environment, it’s tougher for malware to infect your computer and software is less likely to have an unexpected impact on your computer’s boot time, among other things.
It’s easy to think of Windows 10 S as a stripped-down version of Microsoft’s operating system. But it actually includes some features that Windows 10 Home lacks.
So how does Windows 10 S compare with Windows 10 Home, and Windows 10 Pro? And for that matter, what about Windows 10 Enterprise and Education editions?
Before Microsoft launched Windows 10 in 2015, the company spelled out some of the differences between the Home, pro, Enterprise, and Education editions. Now you can add Windows 10 S to that list.
The Enterprise and Education editions are designed for businesses and schools, and include a number of features that home users wouldn’t need, including device Guard, Credential Guard, and AppLocker.
Windows 10 Pro, meanwhile, has some business-friendly features including Enterprise Data Protection, Group Policy management, Bitlocker Encryption, and Windows Remote Desktop software. None of those features are included in Windows 10 Home… but some of them are available in Windows 10 S.
That makes sense, since Windows 10 S isn’t just a version of Windows 10 that does less… it’s also designed for use in the classroom, and it seems likely that moving forward Microsoft will push Windows 10 S as an alternative to the Windows 10 for Education edition it had previously offered.
While the Windows 10 S comparison chart Microsoft offers isn’t as detailed as the Windows 10 Enterprise comparison we got a few years ago, I’ve put together a chart that highlights some of the key known differences between each version of Windows.
If anything, it’s more like a stripped down, cheaper version of Windows 10 Pro.There are a few things that Microsoft hasn’t really spelled out yet about Windows 10 S, like whether the operating system supports Continuum (although I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t), so this chart isn’t 100% complete. But it should give you an idea of the differences between operating systems… and make it clear that Windows 10 S isn’t necessarily just a stripped down, cheaper version of Windows 10 Home.
2017 Update: Here’s a chart showing some of the key features of Windows 10 S, Home, Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions:
|Windows 10 S||Windows 10 Home||Windows 10 Pro||Windows 10 Enterprise||Windows 10 for Education|
|Non-Windows Store apps||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Windows Store apps||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Change default browser/search||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Windows Store for business||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Windows Update for Business||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Bitlocker disk encryption||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Shared PC configuration||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Domain Join on premise||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Azure AD domain join||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Mobile Device Management||✓||limited||✓||✓||✓|
|Enterprise state roaming with Azure||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Windows Subystem for Linux||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Compatibility w/most PC peripherals||✓||✓||✓||✓|
I’m all for an unbloated stripped down version of Windows that runs fast. But not being able to install my software on My Computer is a dealbreaker.
Windows S is a good try but will fail miserably. Think about who will give up Chrome for Edge.
I had been chrome user for years. I was a cr-48 test pilot. I have switched to edge right before the creators update. I miss a few extension such as play to kodi. I miss being able to turn web pages into apps. At the same time I am enjoying double the battery life on my core m laptop with really little loss.
Chrome is *exactly* the same as MSIE/Edge but, from a different company. Same tracking and telemetry, intrusive so-called security and everything else.
Firefox with uBlock Origin (or Adblock Plus), configured via about:config can be private and secure (& fast as hell). If you run a search query for “pants firefox ghacks-user.js” you’ll be able to see just how messed up browsers are… The comments for various settings explain what’s going on.
Will be interesting to see what sort of success this restricted OS will have. I have never needed any Windows store app, really like to use Chrome, which will not be permitted.
I purchased an Acer R11 Chromebook for $160 the other day (Groupon) for my wife and she loves it. I also got her a $300 2017 iPad which is also excellent. I think it will be an uphill struggle for Microsoft against these other capable and cheaper devices.
Compatibility w/most PC peripherals – NO
Basically any device from that relies on a .exe driver to work won’t, unless the manufacturer issues the driver in a new format. I guess most people will expect to be able to rely on the device maker’s Support/Downloads page, or will rely on someone with technical knowledge who’ll expect that to work…
Microsoft likes to find new and innovative reasons to fail.
Have not had to install third-party drivers for ages aside from my graphics cards. But then again this OS isn’t really for gamers or professionals is it? I also don’t see people complaining about peripherals for the Chromebook aside from that you can’t plug a printer to it. But then again, I have a $30 printer with Google Cloud print support.
Never saw “Installing Device Drivers…” before? That comes from a quick search of MSFT’s lists. Are they going to update them all?
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