In-Box Documentation Confirms that Windows 10 Cloud Can Be Upgraded to Pro

Posted on February 4, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 38 Comments

In-Box Documentation Confirms that Windows 10 Cloud Can Be Upgraded to Pro

Earlier this week, I noted that the only way a Windows 10 Cloud edition would make sense is if it could be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro. Today, I can confirm that this is the case.

That goes a long way towards answering the most common question I’ve received about Windows 10 Cloud. Which boils down to, “So this is just Windows RT again, right?”

Not exactly. There are two key differentiators that we know of so far. They are:

Windows 10 Cloud also runs on Intel. Where Windows RT was ARM only, Windows 10 Cloud will run on both Intel and ARM platforms. It is a mainstream Windows product edition.

Windows 10 Cloud can be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro. Where Windows RT was a “one-way, dead-end street” because of its incompatibility with desktop (Win32/.NET) applications, Windows 10 Cloud isn’t because it can be upgraded to Pro, and given that capability.

The proof of this comes from a file called EditionMatrix.xml, which can be found in C:\Windows\Servicing/Editions. This file confirms that Windows 10 Cloud is indeed a mainstream Windows 10 product edition (there’s even an “N” version for the EU). And it proves that it can be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro. Here:

(Home N Edition can likewise be upgraded to full Pro, the file notes. Neither can be upgraded to Home or Education, however. Or to Enterprise, of course.)

There are still so many questions, of course. For example …

Why “Cloud”? That is going to confuse people. Is there a subscription?

Will Centennial (Desktop Bridge) apps work? They don’t in the current leaked build. They need to.

Why is this appearing now? Will this be part of the Creators Update release cycle, as indicated by the references in code today? Or is it for RS3 in the fall?

Will Windows 10 Cloud PCs only be low-end PCs or will there be premium PCs too, as I believe?

How will the upgrade process work? That is, there’s nothing in the product today to indicate how you from Cloud to Pro, as there is for those wanting to go from Home to Pro. I assume it will work similarly.

More info as it comes in.

NOTE: Thanks to Brad and Walking Cat for digging into this release. –Paul

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Comments (38)

38 responses to “In-Box Documentation Confirms that Windows 10 Cloud Can Be Upgraded to Pro”

  1. 10533

    I don't agree that Centennial apps should run here. With Centennial apps comes Win32, with Win32 comes 25 years of cruft (that's backwards compatibility stuff). That's a big part of why current windows is much higher maintenance than iOS or Android. The target of this platform should be education to compete with Chromebooks. There the ability to only run webapps has been fine.

    I have this theory that Generation Z\Post Millennials  (or what ever they are calling them now) are going to be a very different type of user. They are going to grow up having used iOS and Android devices. They are going to expect everything to be touch AND easy to administer. When they finally need a desktop OS to do real work they are going to think OSX, Classic Windows, and Ubuntu are all stupid and over complicated. They only current OS that will work they way they expect is Chrome OS. Which they are using at school. Windows Cloud should target Gen Z FIRST, everyone else can use Classic Windows.

    • 9518

      In reply to jsavage:

      >>"They are going to expect everything to be touch..."

      I'd politely disagree...

      finger-painting is cool -- when you're 3-5 years old. So was eating spaghetti using your fingers when you were even younger. Then as you master motor skills, it's about using tools that enable you to do more, better. The advantage of touch is on devices when/where you can't easily use a keyboard & pointing device [touchpad, mouse, etc.], e.g. cell phones & tablets. I'm NOT talking about more sophisticated hardware using a pen.

      Ignoring the endless debate on whether younger generations are dumber, as those older have Always seemed to believe ;) , they're Not stupid. They'll use what they need to do whatever it is they want to accomplish. Where they differ is in not being weighed down by old habits... Why use a PC for email? Why use email? I think win32 apps fit in there.

      I agree FWIW that win32 apps are not always going to be necessary, or even desired, if they're replaced by web apps for example that will run on cheaper, smaller form factor hardware, albeit often with the same size [or larger] display. And many if not most of the cheaper win32 apps people tend to use could be replaced today by something online.

      I disagree about Android & iOS being better practical choices in the mass market... Android is lower maintenance because it can't in most cases be updated. It's not a shock to cell phone fans used to replacing their phones every couple of years, but I don't think that rapid obsolescence amid the ever expanding numbers of security vulnerabilities because they're out of date is going to be all that welcome among Chromebook & tablet owners. And Apple devices are just too pricey when someone's looking for lower cost solutions.

      • 10533

        In reply to mikiem:
        My Chromebook and Windows laptop both have touch. I often use the touche screen even though I have a track pad. Some tasks are easier with touch other with the track pad. I don't even really think about which I use at a given time. It's automatic, like switching gears on a stick shift. At this point I wouldn't buy a laptop with out touch.
  2. 127

    Paul, are you sure it is Windows 10 Cloud? Or just Windows Cloud?

    With Windows 10 being 'the last version of Windows', will this be MS's transitioning play? In naming that is. Windows Cloud / Home / Pro / Enterprise

  3. 850

    "Why "Cloud"? Well, would you prefer Windows Lite?

  4. 8807

    Will you be able to go from Win 10 to Cloud? I can see business and education environments where they would want to deploy a fleet of locked down, secure desktops that are affordable to maintain. The use case for "Swiss army" do-anything PCs is more limited than some seem to realize.

    • 10158

      In reply to Kurt_Koch:

      If MS allows it to run Office (which RT could mostly do), then maybe. However, that gets a little dicey allowing Office code to run but not other Win32s. Unless MS also has a plan to take Office to UWP. 

  5. 10593

    Why can this not be a mobile SKU (Think Surface Phone) that can resize to the screen size?

  6. 217

    I still don't understand the point of Cloud then, this makes it more confusing to me. 

  7. 5530

    I hope it can be upgraded to Home for cheap. That should be the way to go.

  8. 1792

    Maybe the "cloud edition" comes with free unlimited Onedrive storage?

    • 633

      In reply to ponsaelius:

      Sure. OneDrive storage will be free in the "cloud edition"...until it's not. Past practice tells us that Microsoft would not enable this feature for very long, if at all.


  9. 9903

    Why make cloud instead of just removing most of the heavy legacy crap that keeps big Windows from truly supporting low end devices. Or at the very least allow users to just simply install what they want like Linux during it's install process

  10. 5486

    I can see MS giving away 'Cloud'. It will sort of replace the free 'Home' upgrades that ended last year, and it's probably intended to give UWP a push. A few million running a version that only runs UWP apps will, no doubt, be Microsoft's hope for Devs to get onboard. It will alienate all those Win32 apps, but MS want those gone anyway, or at least coax devs to re-package them as UWP.

    If it turns out as we expect, it's a shrewd (or maybe dumb) move by MS. It takes on Chromebooks head on, pushes UWP front and center, offers an upgrade to 'Pro' for those prepared to pay, and will further push users into MS services. It could also sink just like RT, but it's a calculated gamble whatever happens.

  11. 677

    With the world Cloud in the title.

    Could this be a type of Windows that actually runs in the Cloud and is accessed by Edge in some way.

    As you may guess I know nothing about Chrome books but is this how they do things in a way.


    If Edge is all you need and your account shows which level of Windows you have and all the Apps you need are associated with your Cloud account and run in the Cloud.

    Yes this would mean an always on connection tho.


    Just a thought.



  12. 8578

    It's hard to imagine who would buy a Windows Cloud computer and then upgrade to Windows Pro. Perhaps someone who thought they were buying a Windows computer and then found out it didn't run Windows programs? But someone that unsophisticated wouldn't really need the Pro version, right? Just returning it to the store and buying a PC with Windows Home is a more likely result.

  13. 801

    I suspect that it will be an ad supported version that is sold in place of home addition (new retail computer version). Upgrade to pro to eliminate the ads? Just a thought.

  14. 10158

    This just seems like lost effort, IMO. I guess it's so MS can push UWP and maybe make this edition free to OEMs, but a win32-less version didn't work with RT, and I have doubts that it will work now. Making it upgradable to Pro sounds good, but imagine the people buying a PC with this version of Windows installed when they try to install relatively simple things that only come in exe's. "Sorry, this software isn't supported by this version of Windows. Click here to purchase an upgraded edition." It would be one thing if most of the software people used today was found in the Store, but that is far from reality, and I just don't see Chrome or iTunes becoming UWP apps anytime soon. If nothing else, it might just help push a sale in Apple's or Google's direction. Now if Windows 10 Cloud is completely free to download and install by anyone, then they may have something, but getting it on a store-bought PC would result in a surprise for many users.

    • 4506

      In reply to Darmok N Jalad:

      It's possible that this is aimed at education and enterprise. Though I can see this being downloaded for free on the Microsoft website or maybe even that Windows 10 Starter edition 

      • 9518

        In reply to 12Danny123:

        I would guess that the target would be lower cost devices -- I just don't see much of a market for sales of the OS to consumers. That said, if there was a way to install it on older Android devices, where the OS version is out of date & non-upgradeable, apps in the store or not, I'd bet it might just find a market.

        For folks that would download an ISO to install an OS on bare hardware, I just don't see what the lure would be when they could download 10 pro & just run it not activated.

    • 9518

      In reply to Darmok N Jalad:

      >>"It would be one thing if most of the software people used today was found in the Store, but that is far from reality, and I just don't see Chrome or iTunes becoming UWP apps anytime soon."

      I could see something akin to Samsung devices that come loaded today with Samsung software that, while usually inferior to what's in the Play store, can do much if not most of what many users need. A company like Samsung might even see an advantage in the Windows store's lack of apps -- users would be more likely to use the bundled software from Samsung, so they might see more success with their app, music, & video sales.

      • 10158

        In reply to mikiem:

        Yeah, I'm curious how OEMs would approach this deficiency, though in Samsung's case, why even bother with Windows 10 Cloud if the main goal is to just promote their own efforts--that's what their Android devices already do, and that software is much further along than anything they might cobble together in the UWP space.

        Admittedly, I don't delve into UWP apps at all (I have no W10 PC), so I don't know what is out there and how much of it is any good. While MS hasn't done well in this space, I also notice a distinct lack of reviews or discussions of good UWP apps from any of the Windows-related sites I visit. Most of the stories either mention a big player coming or going.

        • 4506

          In reply to Darmok N Jalad:

          The games side of things for the Windows Store is gaining major traction though, you're starting to see game developers embrace the Windows Store as an extra way to gain more revenue and more direct advertising. They're even embracing Xbox Play Anywhere

      • 661

        In reply to mikiem:

        I am often amazed that there isn't more criticism over iTunes! Why is it required anymore? Cant Apple replace it with a website?


        • 10158

          In reply to Simard57:

          You technically don't NEED iTunes anymore. Any modern iOS device will configure and go without ever connecting to a desktop PC. And with the dawn of music services, I think iTunes is not nearly as critical of a component. Even so, if you still have a local music library and it's sorted under iTunes (which seems to do a good job keeping your playlists, ratings, and music data properly sorted after a device migration), why would you want to play local content from a website? 

  15. 9722

      They should make this cheap or free and maybe pad their numbers a bit. I would give this a try and I have an old Dell Vostro/Q6600 that will be needing an OS come April 11, 2017.

  16. 707

    It seems a little odd that the upgrade is to Windows 10 Pro and not Windows 10 Home.

    • 4506

      In reply to pcoates42:

      It's probably because Windows 10 Home as a SKU may be discountinued and replaced by Windows 10 Starter. Though highly likely that Windows 10 Home will continue to be supported. 

      • 127

        In reply to 12Danny123:

        Not Windows 10 Starter.....!!?! My guess is Windows Home will be replaced by Windows Cloud. As Paul wrote, Cloud can be upgraded to Pro.

        • 9645

          In reply to Bart:

          So Microsoft's play is to tell all the home users that "sorry, all your apps and games will no longer work, except for the pitiful selection in the Store." Are they trying to prove Tim Sweeney right? Do they really want to make gamers - the same market segment that, by the way, Microsoft supposedly want to lure - pay whatever how much a Pro license costs?

        • 4506

          In reply to Bart:

          Its possible. But note that it'll likely that exisiting PCs running 10 Home will be functioning as normal. However it's possible in retail and on future PCs that Starter and Pro will be the norm 

  17. 10582

    Windows Clouds =