At its EDU event last night, Microsoft introduced a new lightweight and secured operating system- the Windows 10 S. The education-oriented operating system is Microsoft s answer to Google Chrome OS. The streamlined version of the operating system is designed to take on Google s low-cost Chromebooks. While Windows 10 S sounds a lot like Windows 10, there are some key differences, and both are different operating systems. Also Read - Cyberpunk 2077 back on Sony's PlayStation Store, with a special warning for PS4 ownersAlso Read - Windows 11: Release date, top features to expect, how to upgrade and more
Microsoft is yet to reveal what the S in Windows 10 S stands for, but on its official page, the tagline reads, streamlined for security and superior performance. It s clear, the lightweight operating system is built for speed, battery life and security, so users don t have to worry about vulnerabilities and malware attacks. Also Read - Windows 11 could be a free upgrade for you provided you fall in this category
What is Windows 10 S OS?
In terms of look and feel, the Windows 10 S is not much different from the existing Windows 10 or Windows 10 Pro. You get the same Start menu with resizable live tiles, the virtual assistant Cortana is also present, and the new operating system also includes touchscreen and stylus functionality on supported devices. What s more, the Windows 10 S devices will also support Windows 10-powered virtual reality headsets. ALSO READ: Microsoft Windows 10 S: Redmond s new low cost OS that caters to education
At the launch event, Microsoft mentioned that the Windows 10 S OS boots twice as fast as regular Windows 10 OS. Designed to run on lower-end laptops, minimum hardware requirements include 4GB of RAM and 64GB of on-board storage. Battery life is another key area where Microsoft has worked on. While Chrome OS and macOS laptops typically last longer compared to the ones running on Windows 10 OS, it remains to be seen if Windows 10 S can deliver the kind battery life anywhere close to what Microsoft is claiming.
How does Windows 10 S differ from Windows 10 / Pro?
The Windows 10 Pro version can run any software from third-party developers, be it iTunes, Photoshop, and more. However, one of the tradeoff with Windows 10 S OS is that it can only run apps that are listed on Windows Store, like the Windows RT OS that was launched a few years ago. While this sounds good from the security point of view as the risk of downloading malware and viruses are minimum, there are a few disadvantages too.
To begin with, you will be limited to apps that are only available on Microsoft Store. Which also means, you will not be able to run Google Chrome browser or Apple iTunes for instance, unless Apple and Google list these apps on the store. As there is no option to side-load apps, Microsoft Store is your only best chance of getting apps.
On a PC running Windows 10 / Pro OS, you can easily switch your default browser and search engine, but that s not the same with Windows 10 S. Even if you have a different web browser installed from the Microsoft Store, the default browser will remain Microsoft Edge, and the default search engine will be Bing.
Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro upgrade
Schools and other education institutions that are running Windows 10 Pro in their PC and laptops can easily move to Windows 10 S for free. However, for those who are on Windows 10 S and dissatisfied with it can upgrade to full-fledged Windows 10 for free through 2017. Starting 2018, Microsoft will charge a minimum fee of $49 (Rs 3,200 approximately) for the upgrade.
Windows 10 S devices
Prices for Windows 10 S-based laptops will start at $189 (approximately Rs 12,300) and go all the way up to $299 (approximately Rs 19,200). HP and Acer have already announced their Windows 10 S based laptops, but there is no word on the availability yet. ALSO READ: Microsoft Surface laptop with Intel core i5, i7 processor, Windows 10 S launched: Prices, specifications and features
Microsoft, on the other hand, has also announced its high-end Surface Laptop running Windows 10 S OS, with prices starting at $999 (approximately Rs 65,000). It features a 13.5-inch full HD touchscreen display, Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD. The laptop will start shipping in the US starting June 15.