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.
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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.
<p>Supporting Win32 is not holding Windows back from any capabilities. In fact Windows capabilities are a superset of what iOS and Android can do . In 2017 with 6 major releases of Windows since the start of the century, it's a bit silly to suggest that Windows isn't a 21st century OS.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#154771"><em>In reply to Waethorn:</em></a></blockquote><p>Is that a joke? Windows is already 32 years old.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#154979"><em>In reply to Waethorn:</em></a></blockquote><p>If you're going to create your own definition of what Windows is, you should define it first. Neither Windows 1.0 or Windows 95 use the same kernel as Windows 10, so these limited definitions can get messy.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#154979"><em>In reply to Waethorn:</em></a></blockquote><p>"Windows, marketshare-wise will be long dead before that."</p><p><br></p><p>So it will go from 91% right now to dead before 2025???</p><p><br></p><p>Why do you and Karma even come here if you do not like Microsoft/Windows? I mean both of you hover and wait for new blog posts to pounce with your negative dribble….and you do it every day. Kind of odd don't you think?</p>
<blockquote><a href="#154824"><em>In reply to hrlngrv:</em></a></blockquote><p>I'd like to see a review in the future where somebody tests "bridged" desktop apps to see if they work well on 10S. In fact, I haven't seen much testing of these apps on any version of Windows 10. </p>
<blockquote><a href="#154896"><em>In reply to SvenJ:</em></a></blockquote><p>The fact that MS wants people to test Windows 10S specifically suggests they might believe otherwise, but you're probably right. But I'd still like to see more independent evaluations of how well "bridging" works on any version of Windows 10. What characteristics (if any) prevent a specific Win32 program to fail to install or run after an attempt to bridge.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#154878"><em>In reply to MikeGalos:</em></a></blockquote><p>That is only true on iOS. On macOS you are running the browsers engine, which ever browser you choose. Safari and Chrome are both based on webkit but forked long ago.</p>
<p>Can you buy the OS if you are not buying a new low end PC that most people will avoid???? Nope.</p><p><br></p><p>Will any of the limitations S has impact schools that uses Chromebooks today???? Nope.</p><p><br></p><p>Everything else on this OS is a much to do about nothing.</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>
<blockquote><a href="#154981"><em>In reply to Waethorn:</em></a></blockquote><p>Just logged into gmail, contacts, calendar, drive, docs, sheets, photos….all on Edge all worked just fine. I did get a message saying I could not work offline unless I had Chrome. Never used the offline feature so I am going to say Edge is just fine with Google stuff.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#154982"><em>In reply to Waethorn:</em></a></blockquote><p>It's a valid question but some functions that are legal within Win32 aren't going to be possible with Centennial apps and some of those could be considered potentially harmful. Anything that relies on modifying the registry in a way that affects more than just the app itself won't work since the Centennial apps get their own private registry.</p><p><br></p><p>Here's some of the limitations: docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/uwp/porting/desktop-to-uwp-prepare</p><p><br></p><p>What's interesting is that there are more limitations for Centennial apps running on Windows 10 S than Windows 10 "vanilla".</p>