Windows 10 S: It’s Not Me, It’s You

Posted on June 20, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 62 Comments

Windows 10 S: It's Not Me, It's You

Windows 10 S is too frustrating to use today, but Microsoft has some short- and long-term solutions that will help mitigate the pain over time.

For now, of course, it’s a non-starter for most people: Key Windows applications like Google Chrome, Adobe Photoshop, and Apple iTunes are not available, and some of them maybe never will be. But over time, I do expect this situation to improve.

Until that happens, Microsoft offers a solution that should please anyone: You can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free through the end of 2017. And even after this year expires, that update—which takes just minutes—will cost just $50.

Many, of course, will try to co-exist with Windows 10 S. They will not be successful. All it takes is that one desktop application, that one custom driver for some crucial device, to send you running to the free upgrade to Pro. And it will happen. To all of you.

It’s happened to me, certainly. Well, I haven’t actually upgraded to Pro: I’m using Windows 10 S for a few days only on a loaner Surface Laptop, and I don’t have the time, energy, or required USB stick to make a recovery drive while I’m traveling this week. But if I owned this thing, there is no way I could stick with Windows 10 S. Not today.

I have a number of issues with this system, the most obvious of which is its inability to run Google Chrome, an app I use and rely on all day. But I’d like to run Visual Studio as well, and MarkdownPad. And many other desktop applications that simply are not available on Windows 10 S.

Look, I get it. Microsoft is looking to the future. And what it sees is fundamentally correct: The mainstream user base is moving away from complicated legacy PCs and to simpler, more mobile devices.

The issue is that Windows just isn’t ready for this transition. Not today. The Fall Creators Update may help. The availability of more apps in the Store will absolutely help. God, Google could solve this problem right now. You know they will not.

Ultimately, the debate about Windows 10 S centers, as so many personal technology discussions do these days, on whether it’s applicable to you. Today, it’s just not a mainstream solution, not for most people.


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