On May 2nd, Microsoft released a special version of its Windows 10 operating system called “Windows 10 S“.
What is it?
Windows 10 S is essentially a special version of Windows 10 that is aimed primarily at the education market. Microsoft touts that Windows 10 S is streamlined for security and performance. It is available on many newer, lower-priced devices similar to the Chrome OS devices, which is what this version of Windows is designed to compete against. For those of you that remember the short-lived Windows RT operating system, in many respects Windows 10 S seems like an updated version of RT.
If it’s more secure, is it better than Windows 10?
Not necessarily. It depends on who you are and what you need your operating system to support. Just like the Chrome OS devices, this version of Windows locks down the ability for users to install software outside of the Windows store. In doing so, Microsoft can prevent many types of viruses and malware from being introduced on the device. It also, unfortunately, will block out useful utilities supported by Windows 10 that cannot be installed on the Windows 10 S desktop.
The cost the user pays, of course, is that they are limited to only apps available through the Microsoft Store. If you want to use the Chrome or Firefox web browsers, for example, you will not be able to in Windows 10 S — you’ll be limited to only using Microsoft’s Edge browser. Many other types of 3rd party desktop applications will not be available either.
Microsoft has also announced that users will not be able to use any other search engine than Bing within Windows 10 S, so that’s another major limitation.
Who would use Windows 10 S?
Microsoft is targeting Chrome OS users, and the education market in particular. These types of users generally are just running simple programs and using cloud-based applications and services for their primary computer needs. In education markets in particular, this offers a fast and easy way to deploy devices and keep them relatively secure for basic applications.
Will Win2PDF work with Windows 10 S?
No, not at this time, for the reasons listed above. Win2PDF installs as a Windows printer, which allows it to be used from any application. Since it isn’t a typical standalone desktop application, it’s not possible to package Win2PDF to be available in the Microsoft Store.
What can I do if my laptop came installed with Windows 10 S?
Some devices, including the newest Microsoft Surface laptops, come pre-installed with Windows 10 S. If you want to run applications such as Win2PDF, you can do so by upgrading to Windows 10 Pro from the Microsoft Store for $49.95.
We’ll continue to monitor the roll-out, but currently we do not see Windows 10 S as being a significant platform for business or many home users due to its limited application compatibility.
If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.