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‘Windows 10 S’ vs. ‘Windows 10 Pro’ vs. ‘Windows 10 Home’

Microsoft introduced Windows 10 S for education — Here's how it compares to Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Home, feature by feature.

Windows 10 S logo on Microsoft presentation

Windows 10 S is a new version of Windows that has been specifically designed for the education market, and to go after Chrome OS. In many ways, it’s similar to Windows 10 Pro, but it’s easier to setup and manage, and it’s technically more secure, as it’s a locked-down version of Windows 10.

Devices running Windows 10 S can only run apps available in the Windows Store, and as a result, you can’t install traditional desktop (win32) apps, which helps to prevent poorly designed applications from affecting battery and user experience. In addition, blocking win32 apps also reduces the chances for a PC to get infected with a malware.

Also, Windows 10 S uses Microsoft Edge as the only web browser, and while you can use any other browser, the only caveat is that it has to be available from the Windows Store.

Unlike Windows 10 Pro, and similar to Windows 10 Home, devices running Windows 10 S can’t be joined to a domain using Active Directory, but it’s possible to connect a computer to Azure AD (the version of Active Directory in the cloud).

You can check the chart below to see exactly how Windows 10 S compares to Windows 10 Pro and Home.

Windows 10 S comparison chart

Config & FeaturesWindows 10 SWindows 10 HomeWindows 10 Pro
Non-Windows Store applications XX
Domain Join on premise  X
Azure AD domain joinX X
Windows Store AppsXXX
Default browser hardened to Microsoft EdgeXConfigurableConfigurable
Windows Update for BusinessX X
Windows Store for BusinessX X
Mobile Device Management (MDM)XLimitedX
BitlockerX X
Enterprise state roaming with Azure ADX X
Shared PC ConfigurationX X
Microsoft Edge/Internet Explorer search default: Bing and designated regional search providersXConfigurableConfigurable
Switch to Windows 10 Pro (through Windows Store)XX

Another big difference that set Windows 10 S apart from Windows 10 Pro and Home is that it’s a version of the OS that isn’t available for purchase. Windows 10 S will only be available for schools, Windows 10 education PCs, and on the new Surface Laptop.