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