Windows 10 S isn’t exactly a new version of the OS, instead it’s a locked-down version of Windows 10 Pro that is restricted to only run apps from the Windows Store and uses Microsoft Edge as your exclusive default web browser with Bing (which you can’t change).
However, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as you can still use Windows 10 S as you would normally do with any version of Windows, but knowing that it’s been streamlined for security and performance. And you can work with Windows 10 Pro features that aren’t available on Windows 10 Home.
Here are six reasons Microsoft wants you to know about Windows 10 S, and why you should embrace the new experience.
Windows 10 S designed for performance
Unlike Windows 10 Pro or Home, S starts up a lot quicker, and it’s designed to stay fast.
Microsoft Edge is your exclusive default browser as it’s more secure and faster than other browsers, such as Google Chrome. It’s designed to run your web applications, such as Google Docs, and it includes unique features like Tab Preview Bar to manage sites, Windows Ink to annotate web pages, and you can easily save tabs for later viewing.
Windows 10 S allows you to use any browser with any search engine, but it has to be available in the Store.
Windows 10 S has been designed to run apps only from the Windows Store, which are verified for security, and they run in a safe isolated container to ensure performance and security. Out-of-the-box your device is protected from malware with Windows Defender, but you can always choose another solution available in the Store.
Do you need an app? The Windows Store got you covered with the apps you’ll need, some of which include Office 365 apps (currently in preview), Hulu, Pandora, Autodesk SketchBook, Netflix, Sling TV, Complete Anatomy, Duolingo, NPR One, Facebook, Instagram, Drawboard PDF, OhBot, Fluid Math, Sensavis Visual Learning, and Twitter. Spotify and iTunes are also coming to the Store later this year.
Windows 10 S runs the full desktop version of Office apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, and Publisher. However, Office in the Windows Store is currently available in preview for Surface Laptop owners.
Windows 10 S is Windows 10, as such you get the same familiar experience and features, such as Cortana, Windows Hello, Windows Ink, Paint 3D, Mail, OneDrive, Skype, and more.
Windows 10 S is a variant of Windows 10 aimed for regular users, but if you must install apps outside the Windows Store and have more control over the system configuration, you can always upgrade to Windows 10 Pro by clicking the see how link next to “Still want to install apps from outside the Store?” message when trying to install a traditional Win32 app. The link will open the Windows Store on a new page that offers to switch to Windows 10 Pro.
The upgrade for Surface Laptop is free until the end of the year, then it’ll cost $49. But remember that after the switch, you can’t go back.