Making Sense of Windows 10 S

Posted on May 2, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 138 Comments

Making Sense of Windows 10 S

I think it’s fair to say that Windows 10 S—previously called Windows 10 Cloud—is somewhat controversial. But as I’ve written previously, this product is no less than the future of Windows. And I can identify only one change that would make this new Windows version viable for many, many more users.

To recap, Windows 10 S is a forward-looking new version of Windows 10 that can only run apps from the Windows Store. This is limiting in some ways, of course, but it’s also quite freeing: Win32 desktop applications, while powerful, are also complex, and they often adversely impact the PCs on which they run. They do so by offering their own updaters, which all run every time the PC boots, slowing performance. They mess with the Registry. They spew files all over the file system. And they are not secure, reliable, and easy to install/uninstall as are Store apps.

Microsoft will let Windows 10 S users upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for just $50 is that’s required. But if you can stick with Windows Store apps—and web apps, via Chrome—this solution will be quite interesting. And not just to education or low-end PCs: As I first reported, Windows 10 S will be provided on premium PCs too. In fact, the gorgeous new Surface Laptop runs Windows 10 S.

Looking at my PCs, it’s not hard to identify where Windows 10 S falls apart for me. Like most people, I don’t use many Windows Store apps. And like most people, I do use a number of desktop applications. And I rely on those applications. Some, I cannot live without.

Key among these is Microsoft Office. But no worries there: Microsoft is bringing the Office desktop apps—Office 2016—to the Windows Store, using the Desktop Bridge technologies.

But my most important desktop application, inarguably, is Google Chrome. I rely on Chrome, and I use it all day long.

If Google would simply make Chrome available via Windows Store, I could make the switch. I could use the future of Windows, today.

Will Google do this? No. I don’t believe so. But I’m now sort of wondering about the viability of me, individually, wrapping Chrome in a Desktop Bridge container. And then making the switch.

I’m going to speak to Rafael about this. Yes, there are a few other destkop apps I do use, like MarkdownPad and MetroTwit. But there are Store/web solutions I could use instead. All I really need to fix … is Chrome.

And I suspect that is true for many of you as well.


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Comments (138)

138 responses to “Making Sense of Windows 10 S”

  1. mtalinm

    How is it not RT part 2?

    Also, is chrome so superior to edge that it would block you from switching OS?

    • obarthelemy

      In reply to mtalinm:

      Chrome doesn't have to be superior. That's how lock-in works: once you'v got your fave addons, your credentials, your tabs shared between devices, your user skills/habits, your bookmarks... all locked into Chrome, using something else, even if it's just as good or superior, is onerous.

    • ValueTech

      In reply to mtalinm:

      The biggest lock-in Chrome feature: it's on mobile phones, even Apple's. Edge and IE: not on mobile.

      MS said mobile first, cloud first. The cloud is accessed via the web broswer, and their web broswer is not mobile. Sure, MS mobile apps access cloud data. But the ultimate cloud data accessing app is the broswer, and the mobile one at that.

    • euskalzabe

      In reply to mtalinm:

      Easy. 1) RT was stuck on the new app model, where as 10S allows you to expand to x86 if you really need to. 2) Chrome has the main advantage of being available in all mobile platforms, with the sync capabilities that brings. Sync is the main and only reason why I can't use Edge: if it's not on my Android phone, it's useless to me. I can't be expected to remember all my passwords in 2017. There's just too many of them.

      • mtalinm

        Excellent, thank you. So the surface laptop can go from 10s -> 10 for $50.
        In reply to euskalzabe:

      • Matthew Burkhart

        In reply to euskalzabe:

        I'd suggest moving to a password manager whether or not you stick with Chrome, something like LastPass will maintain cross-device sync and even works with Edge while being more secure than Chrome's password storage.

        The big reason I want Chrome isn't passwords, it's tab and history sync [edit: and bookmarks!]. Life is a lot easier when I can open a tab on my computer that I was looking at on my phone or at work without having to email it to myself or copy it to something like onenote. I could easily move to Edge if they released an Android version and improved tab syncing, but I doubt that'l happen any time soon.

  2. ErichK

    I use a decent-sized handful of modern/UWP/whatever apps alongside my desktop applications, but I almost feel like I am constantly torn between the freedom of the wild-west-past (running whatever Win32 app I want) and the necessity of moving into the future where apps are curated from a secure store that don't clutter your system and are easy to uninstall. I still don't know when I'll truly be able to make a clean break. I mean, I did it with my transition from a 32-bit to a 64-bit OS where I said goodbye to certain 16-bit apps, but this somehow seems like a bigger hurdle to overcome.

  3. crfonseca

    Being a software engineer, there's no way I could use only store apps, but at work, other than the dev tools I pretty much only use store apps.

    Edit: On another note, are we required to buy a PC running Windows 10 S? To its intended audience, schools, thus the S in the name, it seems a pretty solid product.

    And the fact that you can manage devices using Intune, or set them up using a simple pre-prepared USB pendrive is especially nice for schools, that typically don't have much of an IT staff.

    • peterh_oz

      In reply to crfonseca:

      I think you'll find that it's S for Store (Apps), not S for School. Unis, which Americans call Colleges, are not schools (outside the US). Schools stop at age 18. And this version of Windows, as Paul pointed out, is the future of Windows. It is not for today.

  4. dave0

    Win32 apps are fine. We have the hardware to run them. Artificial limitations feel weird.

  5. Chris Payne

    I'm curious what technical differences there are between Win 10 S and Pro, aside from the obvious of loading store apps. What changes did they make to enable the fast logins? The better power management? The smart closing of the laptop? And why can't these changes be made in Pro too? And if I upgrade to Pro but then "downgrade" by only allowing store apps, will I get the performance boosts?

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Chris Payne:

      Picky: wouldn't loading store apps be IDENTICAL but loading and running DESKTOP software be what's different?

      It'd be a valid question to ask why all Windows SKUs capable of running desktop/Win32 software couldn't all have a setting to allow running only signed EXEs, but allow signatures from more than just MSFT.

  6. rameshthanikodi

    Edge isn't too far behind Chrome IMO, and it even has some extensions covered. But the freezes and crashes are what kill it. Beyond that, it's great........when it doesn't crash

    What really matters though, is if schools are into this. If schools have no problems using just Edge and Office 365 (killer app, I suspect most people prefer Office over Google Drive), this is perfect. Easy to manage with no way of screwing it up and with the expected consistent performance people want. I suspect Windows with store apps actually runs better right now than Chrome OS with Android apps.

    • Spineless

      In reply to rameshthanikodi:

      Re: Edge... that and favorites usage and management. Favorites in Edge are a train wreck. Have nested favorites folders on the favorites bar? Then you get to jump from one UI (drop menu), to the right hand slide UI. Talk about jarring. And... we still can't edit a simple favorite. And there's no workaround because these favorites are not stored in a simple and accessible location.

      So if you can overlook those two huge issues, it's essentially a toss-up between Chrome and Edge. Chrome is better at some things, and Edge is better at some others.

  7. Jeff Jones

    I would be Google will release a Windows Store version of Chrome if the market share starts in increase. Currently there isn't much return on that investment for Google since Win32 works everywhere anyway. If people start buying Windows 10S devices in droves, Google will want to be there. Definitely a Chicken or Egg scenario though.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Jeff Jones:

      The fundamental indicator, which I'd bet MSFT never shares, is the % of Windows 10 S units upgraded to Windows 10 Pro. If the % is over 50%, then is should be clear Windows 10 S would be a failure.

      • rds2587

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        If x million people now buy a windows device instead of a chromebook, even if 100% of them upgrade to windows 10 pro, then that would still make it a success.

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to rds2587:

          Those x million people don't currently have any options for buying Windows 10 Pro laptops, even under US$300, rather than Chromebooks?

          Those x million people would shell out US$1,000 or more for a Surface laptop running Windows 10 S, then pay another US$50 to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro rather than buying a sub-US$300 Chromebook?

          OEMs are going to rush sub-US$300 Windows 10 S laptops to market in hopes of generate lots of US$50 upgrade fees for MSFT while they'd be lucky to make US$5.00 off of each unit sold?

          I see all the brilliant marketing of OEM Windows 8 RT tablets, er, re-Surfacing.

      • Spineless

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        I wouldn't say that would indicate failure. If anything, it shows that a centrally managed Windows experience, whether it is Windows 10 S, or Windows 10 Pro, is a success.

  8. wolters

    It's time to play the 5 hour "Developers! Developers! Developers!" because this will hinge on UWP for sure.

  9. CaedenV

    Well... This is at least not awful. Being able to upgrade for a reasonable price ($50 is what Windows should cost to begin with!) is a good compromise.

    Now lets go the rest of the way on this and make win10 S available to anyone for free! Put this thing out as the 'free upgrade' for those who missed the boat, or for those who need to slap together a Windows PC that are on a tight budget. This should be bog-standard Windows, and if you want x86 and Domain capabilities then you pay $50. I want to live in that world!

  10. dholiman

    I could probably Google around for this, but does "S" do domain join?

    • Dan1986ist

      In reply to dholiman:

      According to the FAQ page Microsoft has, S will be able to join an Azure AD.

      • JerryH

        In reply to Dan1986ist:

        So in other words no. Azure AD has a long way to go before it will be able to do the things that on-premise AD has done for years. Policy (GPO) is obviously the big hitter, but there are other things such as domain rooted DFS, Delegation of rights via OU containers (Azure AD is completely flat), and many other things. Oh, yes, auto-provisioning machine certificates for domain joined machines so that you can use the certificate to authenticate to Wi-Fi. Anyway, Azure AD may be enough for a small company. It is certainly fine for ADFS federation with a real AD when it comes to granting privileges in things like Office 365. It may even be enough for a large company to enable certain BYOD scenarios. But it pales in comparison to the real thing when it comes to enterprise capabilities.

  11. Ugur

    I'm perfectly fine with a device in this price range coming with this OS, mostly because it allows upgrading to Windows 10 Pro for a small fee.

    I see it as could be a nice balance between allowing easier administration for some while allowing upgrading to run full desktop apps for all others.

  12. Todd Northrop

    Paul, maybe you missed the point of Windows 10 S: To get people once again to pay for Windows. How many people owning these things as a primary laptop do you think WON'T make the upgrade to Win 10 Pro?

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to Todd Northrop:

      That's not the point of it - it is a strategic positioning of the OS, the OSs newer platform for apps, and provides an unbeatable solution for education. What is brilliant is that it can be turned into a full version of Windows 10. MS nailed this nicely.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        The question being whether the market will embrace Windows 10 S. Doubtful in enterprises, so that eliminates at least 40% of the overall PC market. Doubtful in the short term in the US education market as Chromebooks are already bought and in use, so most districts aren't just going to junk what's already in hand to buy new hardware. Education market outside the US, maybe, but it may depend on whether software development is part of school-related PC use. Are there Windows Store IDEs?

        Finally, consumers. How many older PC buyers/users want to keep using 5-, 10-, 15-, even 20-year-old software, e.g., games but also (my own case) National Geographic archives on CD which I bought back in the 1990s? That would presumably have no future under Windows 10 S. However, I know that much of it works fine under wine under Linux, and that which doesn't works fine in my Windows XP VM.

        This still looks like MSFT trying desperately to get popular phone apps running on PCs. There's reason to believe it'll turn out no better than Windows RT.

        • Jim Butts

          "Doubtful in the short term in the US education market as Chromebooks are already bought and in use, so most districts aren't just going to junk what's already in hand to buy new hardware." I don't know about that. Chromebooks can't run any of the office educational add-ins, including Onenote learning tools. If those work in 10 s store app versions of office I can easily see schools dropping the cheap chromebooks for cheap 10 S books.

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          • hrlngrv

            In reply to Jim Butts:

            Then it only remains to be seen how quickly OEMs rush to provide cheap Windows 10 S laptops because US K-12 education market isn't going to switch to US$1,000/unit Surface laptops.

  13. edboyhan

    With my work style, I find Edge to be a better fit for me. I used to use Chrome on all my machines, but I often had issues on it with high dpi displays, and sluggish performance with lots of tabs open (I often have 75+ tabs open at once).

    I'm a little confused as to how Windows 10 S is all that different from the old WinRT OS. Clearly the store usage experience is a bit improved ( if app selection is not). The addition of the full panoply of desktop office apps from the store -- as well as Edge coming from the store means there's little (as I look at the 25 apps I have pinned to my taskbar) from the world of traditional desktop apps that I use anymore.

    I will definitely be buying a Surface Laptop -- I'm a little bummed out that the multiple color editions are only available with the core I5. If you want the core I7 (or certain I5 configurations), you can have any color you want as long as it's platinum :-(.

    Oh, and the upgrade to Pro for just $49 is quite attractive -- now I wonder if I can somehow turn my one person consulting shop into an educational institution somehow (:grin)

    • Watney

      In reply to edboyhan:

      I'm trying to make up mind between the i7 and i5. I've always bought i7 laptops, but if you primarily use 10 S with Edge and Office, is an i5 with 8GB adequate?

  14. johnlavey

    I am always thinking, maybe blindly sometimes, about computer performance. Will Windows 10 S make everything run faster, smoother and more efficiently? Will Windows 10 S replace the OS I have on Surface Pro 4, that is, Windows 10 Pro?

    and YES. Chrome figures into almost everything I do on the computer all day long.

  15. Delmont

    Screw Chrome. A web browser is seriously the deal breaker? Go buy an iPad then.

    • juice

      In reply to Delmont:

      You probably haven't realised this, but "a browser" is a window to web-enabled apps, of which there are MANY, and for many people, are essential.

      FWIW, I think Chrome is pretty much a dog, but if you need it, you need it.

  16. LemonJoose

    Windows 10 S will be perfect for my mother's next machine, which will probably be an inexpensive 2-in-1.  Almost everything she needs is already included in a default Windows 10 installation (Edge, Windows Mail and Calendar, the People app, the Photos app, Skype, and the News and Weather apps.  The only other stuff she needs is the Facebook app and a few casual games from the Windows Store that she enjoys.

    In fact, while I have full Windows 10 Home on the Atom-based 2-in-1 that I use as a secondary device mostly for web browsing and email, it would be fine if that were running Windows 10 S.  However, my gaming rig and work laptop will both still likely require full Windows 10 Home/Pro for the foreseeable future.

  17. unfalln

    This is another really sad day. I totally agree with you that Edge *needs* better Web App integration. Shortcut creation, Live Tile updates, working notifications, you know the drill. There's no way this won't happen, but if this product is released with the same Edge that is in Creators Update, then this product just does not have the appeal for Educators moving from Chromebooks or iPads or even older versions of Windows. All of those situations require some sort of porting of their existing software and Web Apps would've been by far the easiest solution, if not the only affordable one. In all Chromebook cases and some iPad or Windows cases, only testing, practically no coding, would be required if the existing infrastructure is web-based.

    I know I sound like a whinger on the internet, but it's a little sickening that I've put all my chips in this basket for so long, holding out for the one time they get this right.

  18. Bobby Williams

    If all the games I play on Windows 10 were available in the Windows Store, I might consider making the switch to Windows 10 S.

  19. TeeJaySD

    Still don't know why the Paint.NET guys haven't put their app in the store via the Desktop Bridge. It would be glorious.

  20. YouWereWarned

    If I was restricted to store apps, which mostly feel like programmer's summer camp projects, I'd move to a Mac and kiss Windows goodbye. Are the ads in Windows S to be curated for K-12?

    And it is curious that everyone seems happy, now, to be paying $200 for an advertisement delivery system. There are fewer ads on TV than in the "News" app (100 ways that Walmart crushes Kmart -- please!), just to pick one of many offenders.

    We are settling for crap.

  21. midpacific

    Not sure why win32 apps aren't just always run in a container or vm. Win32 installer need not know the difference. If this is truly the future of Windows then no need for Pro upgrade. Unless it is just taking too long to get Windows to run this way for win32 by default? Seems a trivial thing to do. Maybe it's some crazy licensing problem forcing apps to run in a container?

    • wright_is

      In reply to midpacific:

      I think this will come, although in a way that will make it harder and harder to use smoothly, to push people and developers towards using the store.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to wright_is:

        There's an outside chance ISVs could decide that investing in Crossover in order to run Win32 software under Linux might be the better path, and OEMs might also decide Linux as an alternative to Windows would be in their interest.

        Unlikely, but there are limits to how hard MSFT can push ISVs and OEMs.

  22. peterh_oz

    For me, I can't switch without iTunes. Yes it is a crap program, but Microsoft's playlist functions don't offer the flexibility of the Smart Playlists in iTunes. And with a very large library, plus purchased videos, switching is not something I'm willing to do. They need to be able to offer a way to run Win32 on these devices. Do that, and I'm set!

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to peterh_oz:

      Tangent: media lock-in may have killed Windows phones.

      In theory, there is a secure way to run Win32 software on Windows 10 S devices: use VMs. Maybe not an option on low-end devices, but should be an option on more expensive devices, certainly US$1,000 and up Surface laptops.

  23. FreeJAC

    If only it also supported App-V (Perhaps it does, but I doubt it) then Chrome and full Office could easily be side loaded.

  24. edzucker

    With the addition of office apps this is WINRT. It was a failure. I know as I owned a surface RT. At least there is an upgrade path.

  25. tbtalbot

    I would like to see a genuine UWP Chrome or a converted version. They probably won't. Either way, I'm finding myself using Chrome less frequently as time goes on.

  26. Andrey Medvedev

    "Windows 10 S is a forward-looking new version of Windows 10 that can only run apps from the Windows Store."

    A.k.a. Surface RT?

    • BluetoothFairy1

      In reply to Andrey Medvedev:

      RT was an ARM version of W8 with the "desktop mode" being only an emulation layer to look like a desktop, to appease the users, but that W8 desktop in reality did not exist in RT.

      W10S is a real true Windows 10 Pro, trimmed to use only store apps, but with all other power and features of W10Pro....

      Win RT vs W10S are apples and oranges, you are comparing the incomparable.

      Think W10Pro minus the malware. That's what W10S gets you.

  27. rheuser

    As a developer, I also need Visual Studio as well as Office. All other apps that I use are either Store apps or have store counter parts.

  28. hrlngrv

    There's a lot of PORTABLE desktop/Win32 software out in the wild. Couldn't MSFT provide a generic desktop application base in a Store/UWP container, and on first run, it prompts for the pathname of any EXE to run. In that way, one could run portable software in containers without needing to create a desktop bridge package.

    That said, in terms of my own usage, Excel is #1, closely followed by Outlook (recently transition from Lotus Notes) and Firefox Portable. Next on the list is GNU R, and there are a few days in the month where I'm using it more than the others. I can't see it becoming a Store/UWP package.

    OTOH, wouldn't it be even simpler to provide Windows 10 S with a VM for running desktop software? Wouldn't that be even safer than containers for desktop programs?

    I accept that Windows 10 S is what MSFT wants Windows to become. I just don't understand why I should welcome it.

  29. normcf

    So, you get an OS that runs office and and a few store apps and a browser, but not a great browser. It is is still windows 10 so malware, which does not care whether there is a curated store or not, can still attack. Students get an OS that they can probably break into and mess up. Locally stored files can be lost, or if stored online still require a network connection. I see the only advantage being running office over gsuite, which, for relatively simply formatted student documents, is not much of an advantage.

    ChromeOS is virtually impervious to malware, can be fixed with a < 10 second reboot, devices can easily be shared, and worst case, a 10 min powerwash in IT support.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to normcf:

      Malware: does Windows 10 S only prevent INSTALLING non-Store software, or does it NOT RUN unsigned desktop software?

      As for local storage, a Chromebook in standard rather than developer mode only allows users to store files locally under their ~/Downloads directory. Unless MSFT also only allowed users to store local files in their Documents directory (with Music, Pictures, Video subdirectories), OK. OTOH, if Windows 10 S provides C:UsersPublic, local file storage becomes problematic.

    • rameshthanikodi

      In reply to normcf:
      relatively simply formatted student documents

      That's not a thing.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to rameshthanikodi:

        It is a thing in what's called middle school in the US, and still a thing in a lot of high school classes. OTOH, my own kids had way too many science courses in which they had to put together 3-fold, letter-size flyers for something about science. More selling science than learning science.

  30. Waethorn

    Microsoft math:

    Cost to buy Windows 10 Home: $119

    Cost to buy Windows 10 Pro: $199

    Windows Anytime Upgrade Home-to-Pro: $99

    Windows Anytime Upgrade S-to-Pro: $49

    How does this make any sense?

    • BluetoothFairy1

      In reply to Waethorn:

      If you consider their strategy, what Paul was talking about, where they are trying to push everyone to W10S, then the numbers above make perfect sense. They want everyone start using the store to boost the app situation, hence this financial incentive. W10S is not only for schools, in the long term, W10S model is where they are heading, leaving the rest behind.

      They need that app store to grow and grow. If W10S fails, MSFT is hosed, because without that strong app store, their prospects of returning back to mobile (where they must go to survive) are pretty bleak.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Waethorn:

      Cynicism warning: those wanting Pro would be more likely to buy new PCs with S rather than Home preinstalled, so MSFT could show world & dog that S was a success. Also, not unlikely MSFT wants to kill off Home.

      • Waethorn

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        They want to screw over OEM's anyway. Windows 10 Home for ULCPC's is getting axed in favour of this. This is the first step to move to properly future-ize Windows into a walled garden. Companies like Valve will see this as going over the line.

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to Waethorn:

          Most OEMs already make Chromebooks. Perhaps time for more of them to offer preinstalled Linux alternatives. Credit where due: Dell already does, which may explain so little coverage of Dell on

        • rameshthanikodi

          In reply to Waethorn:

          They are not screwing OEMs over. They just made the determination that they need to do this to really compete in the low-cost PC segment that is quickly losing ground to Chromebooks. And people are choosing Chromebooks not just for the cost, but also battery life and performance. So now here we are. If Chromebooks weren't a threat then i'm sure they would love to keep the status quo.

          The "walled garden" badly needed imo. I mean, yes, this probably sucks for Steam (no way it can be put into the store), but most people that use Windows don't use steam. Gamers are a very vocal minority because they tend to be PCMR enthusiasts as well.

  31. gregsedwards

    Or, y'know, just use Edge.

  32. obarthelemy

    My other issue is with Store apps' quality. My elderly (80) parents are on Win10 in locked-down Tablet mode, but I still had to install "desktop", not "Metro", Skype, because Metro Skype has issues (doesn't ring reliably...). If MS can't get it right, or can't be bothered, 3rd parties certainly won't either.

    Also, the Win10 Store is a cesspool of scams. The lack of good and legitimate apps makes it even more glaring than for iOS and Android: those also have more than their share of scammy apps, but there's also the Real Stuff. Not in Win10's store.

    That's a pity because I don't have an issue with the OS itself, Desktop mode is very useful and Metro mode is at last good. But.. developers, developers, developers.

  33. yaddamaster

    The #1 problem with the store and ALL stores is the issue of abandonware. Until MS solves this I'm having nothing to do with the store when there is a reasonable Win32 alternative.

    I'm tired of finding Store apps I like only to have them disappear when the writer decides not to keep paying MS to have them on the store (or whatever the publish model, I've lost track).

    Right now I have about three Store apps I really like and want to put on my tablets and another laptop but I can't because they're not on the store anymore. They're still on my primary laptop.....but that's it. And when I wipe my laptop they will be gone for good. I can't sideload them or anything else.

    • NazmusLabs

      In reply to yaddamaster:

      You are incorrect. You can reinstall apps even.after they are removed from the store. Just click your profile on the store, and click my library. Where did you get the idea of not being able to reinstall apps.

      As for paying MS to keep apps in the store. That's not true. Microsoft does NOT have an annual developer fee like Apple does. Keeping your app in the Store is completely free.

  34. mruszczyk

    I absolutely agree. I would love a Chromebook like device, running core Windows if I could use Firefox or Chrome on it. That's all I need in addition to the UWP apps.

  35. mmcpher

    I use Edge on all my newer PC's and my chief complaint is balky LastPass integration. Issues on particular webpages are increasingly rare, and I keep Firefox as the backup. Because I find Chrome flat awful. I use it in work because it works "best" on our creaking, rusting W7 desktops. LP does work very well on Chrome but so does it on Firefox. Chrome is still a messy, malware spreading hog. Edge where it works is cleaner, faster and more generous in sharing. But when is it going to get out of preschool?

    Windows S isn't likely for me, but I do hope it helps to accelerate the dreadfully slow growth of Edge.

    • tfreitas

      In reply to mmcpher:

      LastPass does have an Edge Plugin, check out the LastPass: Free Password Manager. I'd share a link with you but Microsoft is too stupid to put a copy link option in their Share options. Mail wants to use Microsoft Mail, not my default email program of Outlook 2016. Sheez...

      • mmcpher

        In reply to tfreitas: Thanks! I do have the extension installed, but it is balky on my WIndows Insider pc's, better on the production build pc's. My frustration is with Microsoft's slooooooooooow-motion baby-stepping. Its as if their software is such a Rube Goldbergian mess that touching one part off.

  36. Mark from CO


    Yep a strategy that is fully dependent on the well wishes of its prime competitor.  Really smart.

    Mark from CO

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to Mark from CO:

      You have it backwards. Google is now screwed here. Schools don't care about the browser its the OS and educational apps.

      • harmjr

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        Not quite true. I work at a community college in Houston Tx and we just approved Chrome and are steering employees away from edge and IE.

        • VancouverNinja

          In reply to harmjr:

          Sure it is - I am sure the board of the college did not know this was an option for them at the time they made the decision. Who knows, they may want to change their decision. No one picks the second best option when the first works for them.

          • Mark from CO

            In reply to VancouverNinja:

            I understand your points, but it seems to me that Windows S is an operating systems that has no apps (UWP) now, and chances are won't in the near future.  Microsoft may make some stuff for the Education market, but the choice won't be anywhere near as robust as what Google can provide.  Further Windows S is an OS that hopes PWA apps will break through.  And who has been pushing PWA apps aggressively?  Yep - Google.  All in all, looks like Windows S is an operating system that is hard trying to follow the leader, not trying the lead the market.  Last, this is Microsoft's late response to Google.  Do you think Google will take as long to respond as Microsoft did?

            Mark from CO

  37. GeekWithKids

    Couldn't someone put out a Chromium version of chrome to the store?

  38. Thayios

    True for me for sure - until they start upgrading Edge more often than every six months.

  39. scumdogmillionaire

    My wife and daughter could move to this. Office is all they use on the desktop. Mail, Calendar, Photos, Groove and Edge is pretty much all that's left on their end. They use their iDevices for anything else.

  40. mjw149

    Itunes has really fallen off, but many use it and then of course, the two biggies: STEAM and Chrome. It's a tough sell in the home, but I think this is the right thing to do. I wish the unlock wasn't a for-pay thing, though.

    The store lock is the rare example where a feature is free on Mac and paid on Wintel.

  41. IanYates82

    So some form of sideloading. Interesting...

    Frankly I'm interested in using this for the doctors to whom we provide software. So many fewer moving parts for them to muck up. All we need is a browser but occasionally need good connectivity (USB devices, etc) so 10 S would be great (even with Edge).

    • Dashrender

      In reply to IanYates82:
      Speaking of Doctors - what about Dragon Naturally Speaking Medical Edition? Will that run on 10 S? or will the $50 upgrade to Pro (along with all the normal pro concerns) be required?

  42. MutualCore

    Agreed, Chrome is the deal-breaker for me and a billion others!

  43. MikeCerm

    While you (or anyone) might not be able to get the full Google-branded version of Chrome into the Store, it should be possible for someone with the right level of expertise to take the open-source bits from Chromium and package that into something that could work. Chrome "apps" and extensions should all still work, and I think you'd need an API key or something to get Chrome Sync working, but this is certainly within the realm of possibility.

  44. sott3

    Chrome. Visual Studio. Adobe Creative Suite apps (or even just Acrobat). Accounting software. Spotify. Don't see a place for this at my place of work. Maybe at home but then I'd probably just use an iPad.

  45. Waethorn

    Yeah, from what I'm reading from the OEM sites, this is the replacement for the ULCPC version of Windows 10 Home, which is being phased out. No surprise there - Microsoft has been adding more hardware restrictions to the ULCPC specs (including Cloudbooks) and increasing minimum order quantities to limit the number of OEM's that can take advantage of that program.

    So OEM's are getting screwed over on this.

    Microsoft tried the approach to open up access to Win32 and have the Windows Store at the same time, and that failed. Now they're trying the opposite tactic by limiting the market to the Windows Store to see if squeezing users and developers will make people adopt it. Microsoft is getting desperate.

    "But I’m now sort of wondering about the viability of me, individually, wrapping Chrome in a Desktop Bridge container. And then making the switch."

    Already tried it. Auto-updating breaks. Plus, you have to deal with certificate issues. Do you really want to put a self-signed certificate into your global certificate authority store?

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Waethorn:

      . . . So OEM's are getting screwed over on this. . . .

      Plus ça change.

    • skane2600

      In reply to Waethorn:

      If this is true MS is likely going to feel the pain too. The end result will likely be to raise the entry level price for a full Windows PC (the type that people actually want). While you can upgrade Windows S to Pro for $50, that will represent about 30% of the cost of a low end Windows S PC. So basically Chromebooks will enjoy a $50 cost advantage relative to a full Windows PC while today the low-end prices are about equal.

      • Waethorn

        In reply to skane2600:

        Microsoft already told OEM's for the last few years to only release premium PC's to inflate their margins. Intel cutting production of cheap processors also hit the market hard. That never did anything for sales though, so now they're flipping back to telling OEM's to sell cheap PC's.

        Chromebooks already see advantages over Windows PC's because G Suite for Education is free for schools, and easy to manage. Windows and Office are not.

        I don't get your math. I haven't seen any $150 Windows S PC's announced, nor are there any laptops selling for that little.

        • skane2600

          In reply to Waethorn:

          I thought I read somewhere about $150 Windows S PCs. Perhaps I confused it with the $189 price point. But there's certainly cheap Windows Home PCs. Dell's Inspiron 14 3000 is $149.99.

  46. scd147

    I wonder if we can run this in a VM to evaluate it.

  47. leops1984

    Well, this may work for some applications, but there's a market that while not very large, is certainly a profitable segment: gamers. Windows 10 S is still DOA for that market.

  48. dallasnorth40

    I can live without Chrome, so I'm all in on Windows S. With the full MS Office suite and Edge I'm good to go! If I need a legacy app for something, I have my desktop.

  49. Bats

    I highly doubt that Google will make a Chrome available via the Windows Store. Chrome is not just a browser or an App, it's a platform. Google will want to send updates to Chrome directly and not via any store. Plus, if they haven't made Chrome available thru the Windows Store now, they it's highly doubtful that ever will anytime soon. 

    There is really no need to go Windows 10 "S". From the looks of it, the people who are happy with their free Windows 10 upgrade, won't care for the "S" the same way Windows 7 users shunned the free upgrade to "10."

    As for Education, I don't see any of what Microsoft announced being a game-changer. Minecraft is practically somewhat dead. Microsoft Teams, is only software and can easily be copied. Office 365 does not have the ease of maintainability as G-Suite. Does Microsoft have a ready low cost competitor to Google Cardboard for VR? 

    Watch Paul fall into the "trap" when he (will) mention the partners making sub $200 laptops for education. Do you know why it's a trap? Because those partners will make Chromebooks as well.

    • obarthelemy

      In reply to Bats:

      Chrome is available-ish on iOS (with the usual caveat: not running the Chrome rendering/js engines, but offering the Chrome UI, sync), so I'm guessing Google isn't adverse to appstore updates and compromises. iOS's Chrome is VERY compromised compared to the Real Thing.

      I'm guessing Google would rather Win10S failed, so they'll drag their feet getting Chome on it. But if 10S takes off nonetheless, then Chrome will get ported.

      Then again, other browsers aren't exactly putting pressure on Chrome: Edge and Safari are on very few platforms. Firefox is reasonably cross-platform, and works well. I've started switching to it because Firefox/Android supports add-ons while Chrome/Android doesn't. Firefox is OK, the features are here, the ergonomics are different but not unbearable, performance is OK, reliability is good not great. If I were Firefox, I'd make a Win10Store version in a hurry.

  50. scd147

    Hmmm, forgive me but much of the points against the Win32 apps are the same points made against them when Windows RT was a thing... so what is making this not Windows RT 2.0?

    • JerryH

      In reply to scd147:

      No, you are right. This is RT 2.0 for sure. RT allowed only built in Win32 apps (such as notepad). This version allows apps run through the desktop bridge (Centennial) to come down from the store, so it becomes more capable than RT 1.0. But it is certainly the logical successor to RT.

  51. Daekar

    Don't care about Chrome, but I use too many peripherals, rely on too many Win32 utilities for playing music, editing mp3 tags, ripping DVDs, and play too many Win32 games for this to be viable for me.

    I would consider this for a second PC for business though, as long as my main Swiss Army Knife PC was still available for nerd-level work.

    • obarthelemy

      In reply to Daekar:

      I think Windows got it right with the "consumer" Metro mode and "pro" Legacy mode. You fall into the "pro" bucket, but rather few people do. Now if only Metro could get apps....

  52. VancouverNinja

    MS has got Google right where they want them. If Google does not put Chrome in the store Edge becomes the defacto standard in education. If Google does put it in the store it will become available to MSs long term plans and be available on their upcoming mobile device. Google is in a no win situation here - it empowers MS completely either way. For Google their best choice is to go into the store as it will help maintain their browser leadership even if it helps MSs mobile ambitions.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to VancouverNinja:

      If Windows 10 S gains substantial market share in the next 4 months, Edge may become the de facto standard in education, but the odds of that happening are in the same ballpark as Windows phones passing iPhones in the next few quarters.

  53. DemianMioc

    As I said before, Windows Cloud or Windows S is basically Windows 10 with this turned on:Thumbnail

    50$ to turn on single toggle in Settings is a lot...

    • obarthelemy

      In reply to DemianMioc:

      -$200 to lose Desktop/Win32 mode is a good deal for some. If you don't need the legacy apps, but also if you don't need the headaches and inefficiencies that come with legacy Windows.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to DemianMioc:

      . . . 50$ to turn on single toggle in Settings is a lot...

      To paraphrase P. T. Barnum, perhaps MSFT wants to see whether there's a Windows user born every minute.

    • HellcatM

      In reply to DemianMioc:
      Yes you are right but also you can't turn it off. They should have made it so its on when you buy a computer with S but you can turn it off if you want.

      Let me get this straight though, if you buy Pro you can install Desktop programs? That may be worth it, $50 isn't bad.

    • JC

      In reply to DemianMioc:

      Specially if the starting price for one of these units is $1000.

  54. Jules Wombat

    So all this praise for the W10 S (Which I agree with) and yet the same author dissed Windows RT big time ??

    Two faced or what. The average consumer, enterprise, school will more likely now adopt an Android based device.

    • Simard57

      In reply to Jules Wombat:

      RT was on Arm

      RT didnt have an upgrade path so there is less risk to the consumer. they can try to life in the store knowing they can upgrade if it doesnt provide apps they want

      seems to address much of the criticism of RT

      • Matthew Burkhart

        In reply to Simard57:

        Not to mention that this is manageable through AD and GPO, whereas RT was workgroup only. That alone makes this a more interesting OS for especially locked down school, business, or kiosk computers.

  55. sharpsone

    I don't use chrome in my day to day, Edge has been my go to since Windows 10. I don't feel like i'm missing out on anything either. I think 10S will work for me for my basic computing tasks, but 10 Pro/Ent will still be required for work.

  56. Dashrender

    I haven't looked, but what about the Adobe products like Photoshop and Illustrator?

  57. SherlockHolmes

    The only thing that I would make the switch to the office store version would be: toast notifications like the one in Windows Mail when Outlook 2016 is closed. Other then that, not interested!

  58. Luka Pribanić

    Paul, please fix the're embarassing yourself.. "—and web apps, via Chrome—" ... How?! If you said in previous article you're limited to Edge and Opera, as Chrome is NOT in Store?! ...

    Edit: And, no, it does not make a sense to write that whole paragraph on the false and/or hypothetical premise of Chrome being available by other means. It should then say "If you COULD STICK"... OR should have another browser instead of Chrome mentioned, OR should be completely reworded to serve as an intro to article in a way saying "if we could only have chrome to use it for web apps...", OR be placed to end of article... or whatever