Living with Windows 10 S: Thinking About the Alternatives

Posted on August 18, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, iOS, Mobile, Windows 10 with 52 Comments

Living with Windows 10 S: Thinking About the Alternatives

Once you realize that Windows 10 S is a complete non-starter here in 2017, one’s mind naturally turns to alternatives. So here’s a list of what I consider to be the top four choices. I’ll be exploring the non-Microsoft options in more detail in the future.

Note: Obviously, I’ll be writing more about Windows 10 S going forward too. That doesn’t stop just because it’s a work in progress.

1. Windows 10 Home or Pro

The most obvious alternative to Windows 10 S is some version of Windows 10 that can—get this—actually run Windows applications. And while there are suddenly far too many Windows 10 product editions out there, most people who buy a new PC will see only Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro.

The good news for those stuck with Windows 10 S is that when you finally realize that this system doesn’t meet your needs—it should take less than a day in most cases—you can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro … for free. Better still, it is a seamless and easy process that, yes, does require a reboot but happens very quickly. You can find out how in my article [Tip: Upgrade Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro](Tip: Upgrade Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro).

Grade: A
Pros: They both run all Windows app, Windows 10 Pro is free for Windows 10 S users (for now)
Cons: Windows 10 is still a big and complex OS, and desktop apps can harm security, performance, and reliability

2. Chromebook (with Android apps)

Chromebooks and other PCs based on Chrome OS kind of take the Windows 10 S value proposition and turn it on its head. In this case, you can only run web apps, but they are at least running through the most sophisticated vehicle for those apps, Google Chrome.

Except for one important thing: Chrome OS is being adapted to run Android apps as well. And while this capability is still pretty much in beta for most Chromebook users, and is quite buggy, it could change everything. That is, if and when this works properly, Chromebook users will have the best of both worlds: The best web apps platform (Chrome) and the best modern mobile apps platform (Android) all in one PC.

Now, to be fair, this isn’t quite ready yet. And you can’t really take an existing Windows 10 S-based PC and convert it to Chrome OS. (OK, you can, using third-party tools, but let’s not go there.) Instead, you pretty much need to purchase a new machine, a Chromebook.

And on that note, I’m currently evaluating Android app support on Chrome OS. Again, buggy. But potentially a game changer too.

Grade: B
Pros: Inexpensive, easy to maintain, Chrome web apps are excellent, Android app support
Cons: Most Chromebooks are low-end, Android app support is buggy

3. iPad Pro with iOS 11

I have spent much of this summer trying to contort myself to working on an iPad Pro running iOS 11, which brings dramatic productivity-related functionality to Apple’s tablets. That said, it is still pretty terrible. And I’m not sure that the pain—in terms of learning curve and then sustained inability to do certain things at all, or at least elegantly—justifies adopting this solution.

Obviously, adopting an iPad Pro would require an expensive purchase and then a second expensive purchase for some kind of keyboard cover or other keyboard solution. I don’t feel that this solution is viable for most, but I have written a few things on this topic already, including Apple iPad Pro 10.5 First Impressions: The Post PC World Isn’t Here Yet, Understanding What Productivity Looks Like on an iPad Pro, and Rethinking the iPad Pro as a Laptop Replacement. I’ll have more to say on this topic as iOS 11 is completed.

Grade: C
Pros: Elegant, lightweight and portable
Cons: Expensive, no pointing device, awkward keyboard covers

4. Linux

There’s a lot of joking around on Windows Weekly about Linux, but the truth is, I have a long history with this open source system. And back in the late 1990s, I had a hard time understanding how Microsoft would ever be able to beat back a free OS and office productivity suite, assuming each just offered the most important 10-20 percent of what Windows and Office did.

Flash forward 20 years and things obviously didn’t go in that direction. And when I look at Linux today, I see something that is free (good) that you can install and use on basically any PC (also good). But what I don’t understand is the why. As in, why would anyone (non-technical) bother? You bring up the OS, it has whatever UI it uses, and it has some simple built-in apps. Great. But what about the excellent support for web apps that Chrome provides? Not available. What about the excellent desktop apps we see on Windows? Nope. OK, what about even the level of Store-type situation we see in Windows 10? Not even that? Why are you using this thing? (Unless you’re a developer.)

Put simply, Linux isn’t something that most people use, it’s something that some people (again, not including developers) just tinker with. And that is not a viable replacement for any version of Windows 10. Not even Windows 10 S.

That said … I’m me. And I have, in fact, been evaluating various Linux distributions lately and will continue to do so. And while I can’t imagine this will result in a “Switchers Guide to Linux” or whatever, maybe I will get an article or three out of it if that makes sense. Right now, I don’t believe so.

Grade: D
Pros: It’s free and it usually works well, even on older PCs
Cons: Best apps are unavailable, Chromium is not Chrome

 

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Comments (52)

52 responses to “Living with Windows 10 S: Thinking About the Alternatives”

  1. Avatar

    Win74ever

    There's another alternative: Installing Windows 7 on your machine. Better than Windows 10, no bullshit "modern" apps.

    • Avatar

      Jorge Garcia

      In reply to Win74ever:

      Agreed, but I'd go one step further...I think that the best OS, if you have real work to do that is, is Windows 8.1.1 plus a $5 program called Start 8 (Which brings back a very useful start menu and allows modern apps to live inside of resizable windows. That's what I have on my main machine and It'll be there until MS makes it unusable, which is hopefully a decade away. I have Windows 10 on other PC's, and I can't stand the abusive update process that fills up my hard drive until I get drive space error messages, and despite the fact that I turned on metered network. Windows 10 is a deal with the devil.

  2. Avatar

    Jules Wombat

    Dumb and Dumber

    • Of course Linux supports Chrome
    • Of course Linux has a wealth of quality Applications (every bit as good as MacOS or Windows Applications) even if they have quirky unfamiliar names.

    Why is it not obvious that Windows 10 S IS sufficient for a majority of casual Windows Users, and that MacOS and Linux are as good or better than Windows [Home, Pro etc] for those users familiar, with specific system needs or simply personal preference for those platforms. Each to his own, diversity of thought is good. But Absoluteness statements are pretty bad in Journalism.

  3. Avatar

    hrlngrv

    Re Linux, there's a Linux version of Google Chrome, just not the default browser for most distributions because of its proprietary additions. Nevertheless, easy enough to install for most distributions. Add the Ice utility from Peppermint OS, and you have web apps for Chrome, Chromium, Firefox and Vivaldi.

    You need to accept that even though you dabble, you really don't know much about Linux, and given your evident bias, it's unlikely you ever will.

  4. Avatar

    MutualCore

    iPad Pro is unacceptable for any kind of work due to no mouse support.

  5. Avatar

    Harrymyhre

    Re option 3, iOS on iPad (and iPhone)


    thats me now.

    I bought an iPad Air just as the air 2 was being launched. For a while I used a zagg keyboard with it.


    Then one one day I was in an Apple Store. Needed to process a return of an accessory. All workers in the Apple Store type in iPhones or iPads to do their jobs. No Apple Store worker touches a physical keyboard.


    Those guys FLY on those screen keyboards.


    eventualy I took off the zagg keyboard from mg iPad. I bought a fintie case to protect the iPad from drops.


    Thats how i roll now. But I am not an author.


    If if a person is going tablet don't even think about android. iPad tablets - that ios virtual keyboard is just the best.


    Harry

  6. Avatar

    Paul O'Flaherty

    While the app store may not be mature enough yet (ever?) for anyone in the power-user / enthusiast camp to ditch Windows 10 (full) for Windows 10S I think there is big potential for Windows 10S on 'companion' devices.

    iPads are expensive, have limited form factors and no pointing devices. With Windows 10S and ARM (assuming it works) we may see a variety of companion devices that cost less, come in a choice of form factors and support plenty of peripherals including pointing devices.

    These companion devices will be running (nearly) the same OS and applications as the owner's 'main' Windows PC - OK, not photoshop for which you'll just go to your main device, but consumption and light work apps that are suited to companion devices. No need to learn two different apps (Windows and iOS or Windows and Android), no need to purchase apps/content for different platforms, simple synching of data, settings and notifications.

    Once 'real' office is in the Windows store you'll be able to use the companion devices for real work in a pinch - attaching keyboards and pointing devices, plugging in a memory stick, connecting to a big screen and printing.

    As features like 'pick up where you left off', 'OneDrive Placeholders' and 'timeline' are delivered/improved it could/should start to feel like you have just one 'computer' but a variety of different screens from which to use it.

    With Windows supporting multiple accounts and Hello for easy/quick sign in, a single 'companion device' could easily serve as an additional screen for all the family's 'computers'.

    • Avatar

      mikiem

      In reply to Paul_OFlaherty:


      Purely FWIW...

      From what I've seen, found, & bought in the marketplace, there's really not much price advantage to a cheaper ARM chip vs. a cheaper Intel SOC. ARM won out in large part because the SOC included a good modem. Now Samsung or similar may come out with higher priced Windows devices running an ARM chip, because that's where they can deliver the best feature set [AFAIK Samsung has never developed x86 chips], but I have a hard time imagining a Samsung device without Samsung apps & services, including their own stores. So 10 S for them would probably be out.


      Practically speaking, I've got a couple of lower spec Windows tablets, & the only way they're useful to me today is if I can run regular win32 software. Someday that might change -- I would love it if I didn't have to also use an Android tablet, where I can get all sorts of actually useful apps -- but today it just isn't possible.


      That said, the way I think of my 8" Windows tablet, & the justification for buying it, was that it's the same thing as a compute stick device, only for less money it includes a touchscreen & speakers. I can, & have used it as a full, if low powered PC. IOW there's no need to wait until some new device comes out -- for a few years you've been able to do what you're talking about: "you'll be able to use the companion devices for real work in a pinch - attaching keyboards and pointing devices, plugging in a memory stick, connecting to a big screen and printing".

  7. Avatar

    RobertJasiek

    For productive use, iOS is no option for me (missing productive software I need, very insufficient file management even with iOS 11, missing mouse). macOS is no option for me because of price and too limited hardware choice. Windows 10 S is not an option for countless reasons (missing productive software I need, missing drivers I need, missing advanced configurable security, missing freedom of software and search choice, therefore violated rights and laws).


    My options for OSs are:

    • Windows 10 Enterprise,
    • Windows 10 Pro,
    • Windows 7 Pro,
    • Linux.

    My options for computers are:

    • one computer for all,
    • two computers - one online, one offline,
    • two computers - one productive, one consumptive.

    The OSs have the following disadvantages:

    • Windows 10 Enterprise: prohibitively expensive as a single user,
    • Windows 10 Pro: security and data privacy concern due to telemetry,
    • Windows 7 Pro: security concern when updates will end,
    • Linux: learning curve, other productivity softwares with different behaviour in details.

    E.g., after 2020 I might end up with a Windows 7 Pro offline computer and a Linux online computer just so as to avoid the Windows 10 telemetry attacks.

    However, all this still lacks the broader picture that I also want a productive mobile device, iOS does not offer it, Android is not an option for me (missing productive software I need, missing OS updates), the only other noteworthy mobile OS being Windows 10. Due to its telemetry disadvantage, it can happen that some time I buy a productive mobile device but only use it offline or in the LAN so as to maintain security and privacy.

    Windows 10 S is a solution for nothing. Windows 10 (Pro or, if the single user price becomes reasonable, Enterprise) without telemetry would be my solution for everything.

  8. Avatar

    Lateef Alabi-Oki

    You're clueless about Linux.


    • "You bring up the OS, it has whatever UI it uses, and it has some simple built-in apps. Great. But what about the excellent support for web apps that Chrome provides? Not available."


    Chrome supports web apps natively on Linux.


    Any website can be converted into a Chrome web app on any XDG-compliant desktop environment (GNOME, KDE, XFCE, Unity, etc)


    • What about the excellent desktop apps we see on Windows? Nope.


    Sir, you hopelessly misinformed.



    • OK, what about even the level of Store-type situation we see in Windows 10? Not even that?


    That's inaccurate, Paul.


    Every modern Linux distro ships with an "App Store". For example, Fedora Linux ships with an App Store called GNOME Software.


    And yes, it works just like any other App Store. And yes, it has more apps than Windows 10. A whole lot more.


    By the way, Package Managers existed on Linux and *BSD systems for decades and long before Apple and Microsoft stole the concept from those communities.


    • Why are you using this thing? (Unless you’re a developer.)


    Because you don't feel like dealing with the inherent maintenance nightmare and incessant bullshit that is Windows.


    If you're not an IT department or computer geek, you have absolutely no business running Windows.


    99% of users should be using Chromebooks for productivity, or Tablets (running iOS or Android) for all else.


    • Put simply, Linux isn’t something that most people use, it’s something that some people (again, not including developers) just tinker with. And that is not a viable replacement for any version of Windows 10. Not even Windows 10 S.


    Cute.


    • Cons: Best apps are unavailable, Chromium is not Chrome


    Both Google Chrome and Chromium are available on Linux.


    Paul, with all due respect, you're not qualified to discuss Linux. Most of your assertions about Linux are just plain wrong. And if you have to discuss Linux, for Christ sake, do a little research.


    You have an ethical obligation to readers not to misinform them, and saying shit like Chrome is not available for Linux is just sloppy on your part. That's a simple Google search away.


    • Avatar

      Waethorn

      In reply to mystilleef:

      "Because you don't feel like dealing with the inherent maintenance nightmare and incessant bullshit that is Windows."


      This is probably the #1 reason why people switch to Linux.

    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to mystilleef:

      . . . Chrome supports web apps natively on Linux. . . .

      Using Ice from Peppermint OS, Chrome, Chromium, Firefox and Vivaldi can handle web apps without browser UI. It's even possible the same approach could be used with Firefox under Windows (I'll be trying that next week).

      This site has been consistent about listing Adobe Photoshop, Apple iTunes, MS Office in addition to Google Chrome as the best of Windows desktop software. Linux has Chrome (as even a few seconds of thought about Chrome OS would have made clear), but it doesn't have the others. It's a real lack, but it doesn't mean Linux has nothing else.

    • Avatar

      skane2600

      In reply to mystilleef:

      Good that you put App Store in quotes with respect to Linux.

  9. Avatar

    mikiem

    One problem with Google's stuff is that unless you have a Google branded device, security related updates are a big question mark. Google also doesn't have an OS distribution model like MS, Apple, & *nix, where it's reasonably easy to install the OS & get all the features. But those cons are mostly concerns of more tech-oriented folks, & at least for now, most people are not that concerned about security problems in or with Android -- if they were, the number of devices running old, un-patched versions wouldn't be what it is. So while I can find all sorts of arguments against buying a Chromebook, including value based on the sale price, I can easily see it, or a future version running a more hybrid Google OS, becoming the most popular choice for many [perhaps someday most?] types of consumers.


    Popular or not, I do agree with Paul's assessment of Linux. I actually like Linux, & have wanted to, and tried to use it since the early 90s. Sadly it would never do what I wanted &/or needed. I can [& do] use the GIMP, but personally find the Lightroom alternatives wanting. Another huge gap may have just been filled with Resolve being ported over -- previously the video editing apps available were severely wanting. Still, I can't see any overwhelming reason to take my Windows devices, which all work & are known quantities, and try to switch them over to some flavor of *nix. If one or more stop working with Windows, well then yeah, it's time to look at *nix, but until then, I've already got more projects than I have time for.


    Windows 8 to me will always be a hair-brained attempt to force the Windows Store on users. Windows 10 S may have a bit of that thinking in it's roots. If & when it gets to the point that the enterprise can get 10 S devices to run only their selection of *existing* in-house & 3rd party software, I think it might be appealing to those businesses. For edu, I can't get past feeling that MS marketing needed to field something, anything to counter Chromebooks in the market, regardless if they ever sold anything. Now if there was a wealth of apps that educators felt were indispensable in the store, that could obviously change things.


    Windows 10 Home & Pro seem to have a tech advantage over prior versions of Windows in that they'll install & run well on low powered devices where 7 would not & 8 was a struggle. At least until there's an update, which effectively means you can't depend on these low powered devices 24/7 -- they'll work OK until there's an update, & then they're out of service for hours. Where you want/need a higher powered PC, the boost in efficiency compared to earlier Windows versions often make 10 Home or Pro the preferred choice. A serious gamer would be less concerned about 10's size & complexity, along with any controversy re: data collection.

  10. Avatar

    Waethorn

    "But what about the excellent support for web apps that Chrome provides? Not available."


    What are you talking about?!? Chromium supports the Chrome Web Store. You're just plain wrong here.


    Also, you can install Google Chrome on Linux just fine if you need support for DRM codecs or Flash.

  11. Avatar

    Waethorn

    The whole Linux section is #fakenews.

    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to Waethorn:

      Too intentional. The Linux section was the fruit of bias and ignorance.

      • Avatar

        Alex Taylor

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        Yes, to add to my list below of "As a linux user, this is how I impartially evaluate using windows":

        I'm doing a little work on my SP3 today and I'm reminded to ask, why does does File Explorer have this 60 second green progress bar any time I do something exceedingly complex like add a directory?

        I don't recall requesting world peace at the same time....


        So to Paul's "why would anyone (non-technical) bother?" (with Linux) - I'd start with issues like that as a great reason.

        • Avatar

          PCFREAK4

          In reply to agt4:


          I have a SP3 / SP4, not really, but my wife does and what you describe never happened to us at all.

          Maybe stop buying the cheapish i3's.

          Our's are both i7 with 512gb and perform accordingly and we are even able to play games like D3:RoS on it, with maxed out settings.

  12. Avatar

    longhorn

    I borrowed this comment from skane2600 and made it premium, because it's worth it ;)

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    "It seems to me an odd set of comparisons. I kind of "everything but the kitchen sink" set of comparisons with Mac OS being inexplicably the missing "sink" (since everything else is included). IMO the only OS that occupies a somewhat similar niche specifically with the 'S' version of Windows is a Chromebook.

    Obviously Linux, MacOS, and Windows are alternatives to each other just as iOS and Android are, but there's nothing about Windows "S" that would make it a particular alternative to Linux or iOS."

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This article is comparing apples and oranges (can be useful sometimes)

    Windows, macOS and Linux = productivity

    Android and iOS = mobile

    Windows 10 S and Chrome OS = netbooks

  13. Avatar

    toshdellapenna

    Android is linux, but is basically the Windows of phones. All the apps are there. Everyday/non technical people are able to use it like they do a windows pc. Why isn't there an android distro for PC's for the normals?

  14. Avatar

    Bob Shutts

    The 1990's just called. They want their OS flamewar back.

  15. Avatar

    mortarm

    >You can find out how in my article [Tip: Upgrade Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro](Tip: Upgrade Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro).

    in case you didn't get it the first time.

  16. Avatar

    MikeCerm

    Chromium has begun to replace Firefox as the default browser on some flavors of Linux, but you can definitely install "real" Chrome on Linux. It has all the same features as it does on Windows, including the ability to watch YouTube TV (though it's limited to 480p and below because Linux doesn't support the DRM required for HD).

  17. Avatar

    BigM72

    There is one platform missing from this list: OS X. Yes, it might be considered legacy by Apple but still lets evaluate it in this context:


    Pros: Can use high quality desktop class applications, wider app selection than 10 S, good track record on battery, on reliability and stability and security (better than windows so far). Historically good trackpad performance. Integration with iOS devices.


    Cons: Only available on premium priced Mac computers, limited touch support, smaller library than Windows 10 Pro.


    For buyers who want a premium PC, OS X makes more sense than a premium PC running Windows 10 S.

  18. Avatar

    bbold

    Great article, and I totally agree with this list. However, I truly HATE Linux. I have tried and tried and tried to like Ubuntu and such, and it just feels alien to me. I would prefer the hampered down iOS experience even over Linux, so that would be the last alternative to me.

  19. Avatar

    Joseph Ward

    Interested to see where you might think OS X would fit into this list, since I know you keep an eye on development there, too. It seems that it wouldn't be too much further from the Windows usage experience than many Linux distros are, and offers much better support from Microsoft itself (not to mention the Parallels/VMWare Fusion options for running Windows apps).

  20. Avatar

    Darmok N Jalad

    "Best apps are unavailable, Chromium is not Chrome"

    You can download Chrome on Linux, and it looks like it supports apps. I don't know if you can run ALL apps, but from what I just tried using a VM of Ubuntu and installing Chrome, you can set up web apps with all the Google apps. You can even...wait for it...pin apps in their own chromeless windows!

    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to Darmok N Jalad:

      Google Chrome for Linux can be had from Google directly or through most of the major distributions' package repositories. And the Linux version of Chrome does run web apps and Chrome apps.

      Every once in a while, Paul Thurrott doesn't know what he's talking about.

  21. Avatar

    Alex Taylor

    I think a huge amount comes down to familiarity.

    I've been primarily using (openSUSE) Linux on the desktop for years now, and my primal reactions to using windows are much like Paul's re Linux.

    -Why aren't desktop apps just found/installed and updated by the system/store?

    -Why doesn't something as core to the OS as a file manager not have basic features like split view or tabs?

    -Why is there no good built in photo manager (like Digikam)? Or even an obvious way to resize a photo in the default viewing app?


    Pretty much all the apps I want or need are a single click away, and the fact that desktop apps are properly updated by the OS is something windows-10 is still trying to catch up to. 

    That also includes Chrome vs Chromium - you can have either or both with no extra effort.

  22. Avatar

    Stooks

    Wow Paul your Apple hate is sophomoric at best. You have had that hate for a long time now, a good 15 years or more.


    First off these Windows 10 S posts from you and other "tech" writers are hilarious. There is a CLEAR target for Windows 10 S......schools that use Microsoft products heavily and want to cheap "student" workstations. Cheap meaning Chromebook competitive. Schools that have went all in with Google are probably not going to switch back now unless this "solution" (Windows 10 S workstations/Intune for schools etc) takes off. It might stop more schools from going the Google route.


    If you are not in that group, you wont even consider let alone buy a Windows 10 S computer and probably wont be able too since you probably can't walk in to bestbuy or hit up Amazon and get a Windows 10 S computer. It will be through some school sales channel. END OF DISCUSSION.


    Back to your Apple hate. Yes Windows home/Pro would be the first alternative, but the second choice would be crystal clear for those not having those Apple hate glasses on.....macOS and all the apps it supports. Give it a B for price and a A in everything else since you can get almost all apps on the Mac and the hardware fit and finish is simply amazing. MS apps, Adobe Apps, AutoCad etc, etc, etc. It is not even listed as an option for you because logic is blinded by some bizarre hatred.


    My list for Windows 10 S alternatives.....


    Windows 10 home/pro

    macOS

    iPad

    Chrome OS

    Linux.


    My ranking is based on "capability/compatibility".



    • Avatar

      MikeCerm

      In reply to Stooks:

      The cheapest Mac you can get starts at $1000, and those with decent screens start at $1300. MacOS is an alternative to a Windows 10 S in the same way that a $100K Tesla S is an alternative to a Nissan Leaf. If the problem with the Leaf is the limited range, a Prius is a reasonable alternative. Few will be willing to pay 3 times more than a hybrid that solves the range problem... unless they really want all the extra bells and whistles of the Tesla. But if that's the case, the Leaf was never an option to begin with.

      • Avatar

        Stooks

        In reply to MikeCerm:

        And Windows 10 S first came out on the Surface Laptop that starts at.....$999. You can get a Mac Mini starting at $499


        Paul did NOT mention price is a primary concern when exploring alternatives to Windows 10 S. His focus is more about the limitations of Windows 10 S and what your alternatives are. In fact hardware is not really the focus at all. It is OS/Apps and again macOS is going to trump everything but full Windows 10. Can you run Adobe CC on Linux, Chrome OS or iOS???? You can on a $499 Mac Mini

      • Avatar

        Darmok N Jalad

        In reply to MikeCerm:

        I'm having a really hard time finding any 10S devices beyond the $1,000+ Surface Laptop. I really wonder just how many 10 S devices we are going to see. OEMs know that they will shoulder most of the blame when consumers see that their cheap 10 S laptop can't run traditional Windows programs. The $50 upgrade fee to pro is relatively quite sizable when we're talking about a $200 laptop. I think we're going to see a token effort from OEMs on 10 S machines--probably a little more effort than with Windows RT, but I'm expecting a small and limited product roll out, so they can study return rates, which I suspect will be high.

        Anything but traditional Windows is a big gamble for OEMs. Look how it has worked out for Windows RT, Windows 8 with Bing, Windows Starter, Windows 10 Mobile, etc. Even when OEMs gave it a good try, they were left holding the bag when MS gave up. Why would they really jump into anything but classic Windows?

  23. Avatar

    Michael Gray

    My wish is that Microsoft make a cut down version of Windows that is designed to work on lower spec (older) laptops.


    I have a collection of older laptops that are perfectly fine that I have upgraded from Windows 7/8 etc to 10, however as Windows 10 has evolved over the last year or two with the various updates, the laptops have really struggled with performance in doing even the most basic of tasks. Replacing the hard disks with SSDs and maxing out the memory has helped extend their life, but the fans now run more often and the wait time increases as the laptop struggles...a familiar story to many no doubt...


    It just seems a waste to have computers that is working perfectly from an operational perspective, only to struggle because of the added features and graphic requirements of the current Windows 10. I have installed Linux on some of these machines to find the laptop works really well in terms of performance, only to find myself struggling with Linux from a day to day operational perspective.


    Ideally there would be an option in the Windows 10 upgrade process to select a performance based OS minus all the bells and whistles, but maybe the answer to my first statement is to make Windows 10S available as a download and this will give the older laptops a second life.


    Note, I am aware of the Performance Option in Windows 10, under the Advanced tab in System Properties to select between Performance and Appearance, but the results make little difference for many older machines.

    • Avatar

      mikiem

      In reply to MikeG:

      "My wish is that Microsoft make a cut down version of Windows that is designed to work on lower spec (older) laptops.

      I have a collection of older laptops that are perfectly fine that I have upgraded from Windows 7/8 etc to 10, however as Windows 10 has evolved over the last year or two with the various updates, the laptops have really struggled with performance in doing even the most basic of tasks."


      In case it helps at all... 10 has a small footprint when using Compact, so disk space shouldn't be a problem. A guess would be that at least some of your performance problems are related to the number of cores & the GPU. In my experience a lower end quad core Intel chip [e.g. Atom or Celeron] can often outperform a somewhat higher end dual core chip [e.g. i3] when running 10. RE: the GPU, I've found with my low-spec devices I have to now turn stuff like GPU assist in the browser off -- the Intel chip's GPU apparently can't always handle what 10 asks of it today. Process Lasso also *may* help -- it helps with some devices, but not others.


      If it's a hardware problem, where 10 is asking for something the laptops can't really give it, I've also played with, & had some success running 10 in a VM. Going that route, you could boot to *nix or one of the WinPE-type desktops [e.g. MistyPE at reboot.pro], run something like VBox full or using the portable launcher, & run 10 in a VM.

    • Avatar

      MikeCerm

      In reply to MikeG:

      Windows 10 runs fine on anything with 2GB of memory and at least a Core 2 Duo, which is basically every computer made in the last 10 years (with the exception of the early netbooks. An SSD is a must, because even a top-of-the-line modern system will feel slow with a spinning hard drive. If your laptops don't meet those requirements, the good news is that you can buy a new laptop that with a quad-core Apollo Lake or Cherry Trail CPU and 4GB of memory for under $200. I'm just not sure what else Microsoft could do. By all available metrics, Windows performs just as well as (or better than) Linux on equivalent hardware.


      Sure, if you've got an ultra-low-end system with only 512MB, Linux will run on it and Windows 10 won't, but considering a web browser with one tab open will use 300MB on its own, a 512MB system simply is not suitable as a general-purpose PC. A system old enough to have that little RAM will waste so much electricity that a new machine would literally pay for itself.

  24. Avatar

    Jorge Garcia

    Google dropped the ball. They've had enough time to make something that looks and feels like Windows to the average user, but could open Android Apps. ChormeOS was too nerdy. Samsung gets this, hence DeX OS. If Samsung made a laptop that ran DeX, I'd buy it for my mother in an instant.

    • Avatar

      skane2600

      In reply to JG1170:

      ChromeOS is too nerdy? Compared to what? I would argue that a Chromebook is easier to use than a typical Android phone. Obviously more limited than full Windows or MacOS, but hardly more complicated.

    • Avatar

      rameshthanikodi

      In reply to JG1170:

      Chrome OS is not "nerdy" at all. Windows 10 S and MacOS are the nerdy OSes.

      • Avatar

        mike moller

        In reply to FalseAgent: not to mention the incorrigibly nerdy Linux with its hopeless collection of ad hoc documentation


        • Avatar

          Tim Onstad

          In reply to mike_moller:

          Try a distribution like Linux Mint which is designed to be used long term without any major GUI changes and is designed for the average user to use.


          You don't need any 'nerd' skills to use it, all the administration can be done via easy GUIs, including the software manager which has thousands of software packages.


          If you want to use 'nerd' skills on Linux Mint, you have that option, just like Windows users have the option of using their 'nerd' skills on their flavor of Windows.

          • Avatar

            skane2600

            In reply to Tim_Onstad:

            On Linux Mint can you ever encounter an app incompatibility problem when using the package manager that requires additional libraries to be downloaded? If so, that's still kind of "nerdy".

            • Avatar

              hrlngrv

              In reply to skane2600:

              I haven't come across any set of packages which require different versions of the same library in over a decade, but that doesn't mean they don't still exist. Do you have any examples?

              If you mean you want to install ABC but it depends on library XYZ which isn't currently installed, apt/dpkg and presumably all other package managers would automatically install XYZ along with ABC. Further, if you subsequently remove ABC, and nothing else is using XYZ, apt/dpkg and presumably the others will alert you that you could remove XYZ (and any other library packages no longer used by any executable packages) using the autoremove subcommand.

              Nerdy? Maybe, but a lot better than Windows which has no mechanism for mentioning when nothing is still using, say, the VC++ 2005 redistributable libraries.

              Sometimes nerdy may be better.

        • Avatar

          Waethorn

          In reply to mike_moller:

          Most Windows support you get is "ad hoc documentation", as has been so for years.

        • Avatar

          hrlngrv

          In reply to mike_moller:

          Have you tried to access help facilities of any recent MSFT software without an internet connection?

  25. Avatar

    skane2600

    It seems to me an odd set of comparisons. I kind of "everything but the kitchen sink" set of comparisons with Mac OS being inexplicably the missing "sink" (since everything else is included). IMO the only OS that occupies a somewhat similar niche specifically with the 'S' version of Windows is a Chromebook.


    Obviously Linux, MacOS, and Windows are alternatives to each other just as iOS and Android are, but there's nothing about Windows "S" that would make it a particular alternative to Linux or iOS.

  26. Avatar

    mortarm

    If Linux is to be discounted, it's not because of lack of quality programs, there's plenty of those. There are three real reasons Linux will never become a mainstream OS:

    1) Microsoft came first. Linux didn't become (relatively) common knowledge until the early 2000s, while MS-DOS and Windows had been around since the '80s, giving Microsoft a massive head start on the desktop market.

    2) Lack of support from hardware makers, meaning, no drivers. The Linux community has stepped in to try and fill the gap, it's still a workaround. As such, you often get just the basic functionality of your device. The largest support is for printers. Anything else is hit-and-miss.

    3) No cohesive customer support. Everything's done through the Linux community. And while there are numerous forums, wikis, etc., trying to ferret out the answers you need can be frustrating.

    Don't get me wrong, I love Linux. I been playing with it since the first Slackware distro came out in the late '90s. It deserves better recognition and respect. It's just not gonna get it.

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