What is Windows 10 S Edition?

Windows 10 got a major update last month, called Creators Update. But what is Windows 10 S Edition? It just launched and if this name doesn’t ring a bell, you should know the original rumors called it Windows 10 Cloud.

Now Windows 10 S is official and appears to be the new competitor to Chrome OS. This Windows 10 edition is a simplified version of the main operating system designed for schools and other education organizations. It will be pre-installed on various third-party devices but also the upcoming Surface Laptop.

We don’t have system requirements yet, but Microsoft states Windows 10 S will run on all Windows 10 hardware, even on “cheap laptops”.

Several third-party manufacturers are already working on Windows 10 S devices, such as Asus, Samsung, Dell, Toshiba and Acer. Here’s a more comprehensive guide by PCWorld.

What is Windows 10 S Edition?

All the information above is useful, but what exactly does a simplified Windows 10 version mean in this case? Windows 10 S will have a stripped home screen and unlike the regular Windows 10, it will allow students to install only apps from Microsoft’s Windows Store.

This limitation was set to prevent students from installing potentially malicious applications from various third-party sources. The drawback is this will also prevent schools from utilizing the myriad popular free apps available only outside the Windows Store.

Furthermore, Microsoft has changed how logins happen on Windows 10 S. It appears that a student can log in for the first time on a Windows 10 S device and start using it in about 15 seconds, which is pretty impressive.

The revamped operating system also makes it possible to configure school workstations using a USB drive with preset options. This will make it very easy for large number of school computers to be configured in a short period of time.

If you’re wondering what does the “S” in Windows 10 S stand for, you should know it stands for many things except “Student”. Windows 10 S stands for Simplicity, Security, Superior and according to Terry Myerson, the head of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, it also stands for “Soul”.

Another thing that separates Windows 10 S from the regular Windows 10 is this particular edition will also bundle a free subscription to Minecraft: Education Edition.

Can I upgrade from Windows 10 S to another Windows 10 edition?

Now that you know what is Windows 10 S edition, I’m sure you were wondering if it’s also upgradeable. Since Microsoft and third-party manufacturers plan to make devices running Windows 10 S that are designed specifically for educational purposes, some users might find this edition too restricted.

Regardless if you’re using your Windows 10 S PC, laptop or tablet for home or at work, plenty of individuals and organizations will want to be able to install software from third-party vendors (God knows there’s plenty of it). It appears that Microsoft is aware of this, and they are in fact offering the option to upgrade Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro.

Educators can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free, but it will cost $49 for everyone else.

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