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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