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Microsoft has unveiled a new version of Windows 10 called Windows 10 S. This is Microsoft’s answer to Chrome OS Why Google's Chrome OS Will Fail [Opinion] Why Google's Chrome OS Will Fail [Opinion] Google’s Chrome OS is ambitious. Too ambitious. The concept of booting to a web browser is an enticing one, but Google hasn’t pulled it off well enough. Offline support is incomplete at best, the Chrome... Read More , and the new streamlined version of Windows 10 is being targeted mainly at students. Can Windows 10 S take a serious slice out of Google’s share of the education market?

Chromebooks aren’t for everyone The Chrome OS Challenge: A New User's Day on a Chromebook The Chrome OS Challenge: A New User's Day on a Chromebook What are Chromebooks like for someone who's used to a Windows or Mac setup? As a newcomer to Chrome OS, I'm here to tell you. Read More , but the cheap and cheerful (if you exclude the Chromebook Pixel) laptops have proved particularly popular with students. This is a problem for Microsoft, which is losing consumers at an age when brand awareness and platform preferences are set.

Cue Windows 10 S.

Limited to Windows Store Apps

Windows 10 S is Windows 10, “streamlined for security and superior performance”. The biggest difference between Windows 10 S, and Windows 10 Home and Pro, is that the former can only run apps obtained from the Windows Store. This will be an annoying limitation for power users, but it does offer some obvious advantages.

Microsoft screens every app before offering it up on the Windows Store. They also run in secure sandboxes. This means that Windows Store apps are much safer to install than other programs. Windows Store apps are also optimized for performance, meaning they should use less of your laptop’s battery and other resources.

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Just like Chrome OS, Windows 10 S is intended for use on low-end hardware. OEMs including Asus, Samsung, Dell, and HP have all already committed to bringing out new Windows 10 S-powered laptops with prices starting as low as $189. Which puts them on an almost equal footing to Chromebooks in terms of price.

All Windows 10 S devices will come with a free subscription to Minecraft: Education Edition. It will also be available for free to any schools currently running Windows 10 Pro. If you buy a Windows 10 S laptop and find the OS too limiting you’ll be able to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for $50.

It’s Windows RT All Over Again

Microsoft has already tried its hand at lightweight versions of Windows. In 2011, Microsoft introduced Windows RT Windows RT - What You Can & Can't Do Windows RT - What You Can & Can't Do Windows RT edition was discreetly launched about a month and a half ago with the flagship Microsoft Surface RT tablet device. Though visually indistinguishable from Windows 8, there are some key differences as to what... Read More , a limited, and ultimately flawed, version of Windows 8. And then there was Windows 8.1 with Bing, which, the less said about the better, to be honest. Only time will tell whether Windows 10 S fares any better.

As a side note, the S in Windows 10 S doesn’t officially stand for anything. However, it could mean “Schools,” “Students,” “Store,” or even “Streamlined”. We suspect you may have some suggestions of your own, so feel free to leave a comment below telling us what you think the S stands for. Please be nice.

We’d also welcome other comments, so feel free to tell us what you think of Windows 10 S!

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  1. Doc
    May 4, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    "Streamlined"? More like "crippled." Who buys (or downloads) apps from the Windows Store? It's just a cash grab by Microsoft, who wants in on the 30% that iTunes and the Play Store collect from their users. I replaced the Calculator on Windows 10 with the Win7 version, and uninstall everything that Microsoft will allow me from its crippled "UWP" apps (which is just the latest version of the bloated .NET platform).

  2. Patrick Saunders
    May 3, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    If it's anything like that brain dead Windows Starter Edition, they can keep it.

  3. David
    May 2, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    S for Stillborn?