Living with Windows 10 S: The Series

Posted on July 28, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 48 Comments

Living with Windows 10 S: The Series

For my second go-round with Windows 10 S, I’m going to document what it’s really like living with the limits of this strange new Windows version.

I’m pretty sure that Microsoft is purposefully limiting our exposure to Windows 10 S because it is so unsuitable for most people. But they’re starting to warm up to the idea: After rejecting my call to open up Windows 10 S to the Windows Insider user base, the firm this week did at least make it available to professional developers, via MSDN, and will soon allow education customers to take a peek too.

Windows 10 S isn’t new to me, of course. I spent a week with this OS on Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop back in June. And my conclusions are still correct: Windows 10 S is unsuitable for virtually all of Microsoft’s customers, and anyone who does purchase a Surface Laptop or other Windows 10 S system should immediately take advantage of the free and seamless upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.

I have various ideas about how Microsoft might fix this problem. Ways that we can collectively move forward, as a community, and still achieve Microsoft’s long-term goal of deprecating and then blocking legacy Win32 code in Windows so that this OS can finally move forward into the 21st century.

But that’s theoretical, and until Microsoft wakes up to the chicken and egg problem that is Windows 10—too few high-quality Store apps, too many necessary Win32 desktop apps—we will have to play with the cards we’ve been dealt. And anyone coming across a Windows 10 S PC today, in 2017, has two choices. They can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free, which, again, I think is the right choice for everyone. Or … they can actually use Windows 10 S.

We do these things not because they are easy but because they are hard.

Well. That’s rather dramatic. I do these things because I care about the platform and for the people who use it. And I want to be as educated as I can be about this strange new Windows version so that I can more fairly evaluate it as things change, as new apps come to the Store. And, maybe, down the road, as Microsoft wakes up and opens up the noose a bit.

Of course, this is Microsoft, so nothing is ever easy. The firm continues to ignore my requests for a Surface Laptop review unit, despite the fact that that machine is the only mainstream device that ships with Windows 10 S. So I’ve done what I always do. Find Windows 10 S, in this case, on the back of a truck. And install it on a new PC that I do have. Because the truth is out there. And I’m not going to let Microsoft stop me from doing my job.

So, let’s see what it’s really like. Over a long period of time.

Next up: The basics.


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