Windows 10 S unveiled, the new Windows RT?

Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 S, a new cloud-based edition of the company's Windows 10 operating system designed specifically for Education.

We talked about the-then called Windows 10 Cloud before here on Ghacks, and much of what we have said back then held true during the presentation.

Windows 10 S is a cloud-based operating system that will compete directly against Google's Chromebook, which serves a similar purpose.

The main facts about pricing, and offers.

  1. Devices with the operating system start at $189 according to Microsoft.
  2. Microsoft will release a Windows 10 S device, and so will partners such as Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Samsung, and Toshiba.
  3. All devices include a one-year subscription to Minecraft: Education Edition, Office 365 for Education, including Microsoft Teams.
  4. Management via Intune for Education.
  5. Schools will get Windows 10 S for free on devices running genuine Windows 10 Pro PCs.

What else do we know right now?

Windows 10 S

windows 10 s

Windows 10 S is a Store-only version of Windows 10. This means that you cannot install legacy desktop programs on the operating system as they are blocked. Note that this protection was bypassed in earlier versions of Windows 10 S.

All users get are programs that ship with the Windows 10 S operating system, and Windows Store apps. The latter includes Win32 programs converted to be compatible with Windows Store.

Microsoft, obviously, paints this in a positive light, and it is to a degree. The PC will boot faster, there is less chance stability issues, and malware should be less of an issue (as most won't execute).

The downside is that Windows Store is rather limited when it comes to programs and games. You are stuck with Microsoft Edge as the browser for instance, and cannot install any desktop program that you may have used in the past. This may be less of an issue for students who just get started with computers.

Read also:  Windows 10 Creators Update IT Security improvements

Windows 10 S, the new Windows RT?

Is Windows 10 S the new Windows RT; only under a different name and package? If you compare the two products, you will notice difference between them.

First, that Windows Store has evolved over time. It is no where near where it should be, but projects such as Project Centennial to bring Win32 apps to the Store have improved what is available somewhat at the very least.

Then there is Microsoft Edge, which is undoubtedly the better browser when compared to Internet Explorer. Again, not where it should be when it comes to things such as extensions, but definitely a step up.

Last but not least, it seems as if Windows 10 S devices can be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro for a price. Microsoft has yet to reveal that price.

If you take all of it together, it is clear that Windows 10 S is superior to Windows RT. The question is if that is enough.

Closing Words

It seems likely that Windows 10 S will do better than Windows RT. To be frank, it takes very little to do better than Windows RT.

Users who just need a notebook with Office, and web services, find all of that in Windows 10 S. It is clear that the system is not designed for most professional uses, and that it won't appeal to users who rely on desktop programs.

Now You: What's your first impression of Windows 10 S?


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Windows 10 S unveiled, the new Windows RT?
Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 S, a new cloud-based edition of the company's Windows 10 operating system designed specifically for Education.
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Responses to Windows 10 S unveiled, the new Windows RT?

  1. LD May 2, 2017 at 6:00 pm #

    $999 US - for a K-12 laptop !!! Affluent parents will buy these for their kids (prestige and all that).

    No school board should be buying them. An OEM clone would be more appropriate (value for price), but I have to agree that the Windows Store and Edge Browser is a major negative. Kids do not need to be acquainted with MS software/applications at the K-12 level.

    When your little snowflake makes it to university get them a full blown OS (W10, if it supports the requisite apps and they have to experience the MS ecosystem ) on an Enterprise/Education level laptop. Lab work may need the additional on-board horsepower.

    • seeprime May 2, 2017 at 6:23 pm #

      The $999 machine is not the K-12 ones. Those will be sold by OEM's starting at $189. The $999 Surface Laptop is targeted for college students. The price isn't as bad as I expected it to be. It even comes with a free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro, through 2017.

    • Corky May 2, 2017 at 7:51 pm #

      Affluent parents will buy a MacBook Air.

  2. Yuliya May 2, 2017 at 6:05 pm #

    Windows 10 Sheep Edition. An OS made for sheeps.

    • Womble May 2, 2017 at 9:12 pm #

      So which OS is most popular amongst sociopaths these days?

      • Filip May 3, 2017 at 10:59 am #


  3. AnorKnee Merce May 2, 2017 at 6:54 pm #

    "Panay says Microsoft has focused this hardware on students who are just about to leave high schools. "We talk to a lot of them... they're asking for a laptop, they're asking for a Surface laptop," says Panay. "So we built a laptop, and it's beautiful.""

    From thevergedotcom, about the minimum US$999 Surface laptop that run Win 10 S.

    High-school graduates told Panay that they wanted this very expensive laptop that runs an intentionally-crippled OS.? Hard to belief him.

    • Eddy May 3, 2017 at 12:30 am #

      No student in 2017 should be allowed to graduate high school without demonstrating that they can build and deploy a Linux desktop (and I don't mean Mint or something simple). On the same note, this should be a required undergrad class - first year.

      Not use one - BUILD one.

      I worry that this proposition is not self-evident or many people.

      School superintendent, principals, and board members are tragically clueless. Needs to be brought to board meetings for protest by informed parents.

      This piece about the S is pure PR, with nothing newsworthy about it.

      • jern May 3, 2017 at 5:43 pm #


        I'm not certain we'll ever see what you're suggesting but it's clear the world is waking to the need to introduce computer skills early. There is actually a programming language for children 4-7 called KIBO. It uses symbols on wooden blocks that are sequentially scanned into plastic robots via bar codes. I've also read about Chinese schools (private, I think) that have similar classes for children as young a 3. The idea is to make the computer's language as intuitive as their native language.

  4. hirobo May 2, 2017 at 6:57 pm #

    Rehash of RT. It will go away just the same.

  5. Mikhoul May 2, 2017 at 7:04 pm #


  6. Testertime May 2, 2017 at 7:05 pm #

    Hm, I'm curious, just to understand it correctly: Windows 10 S is a stripped-down version of Windows 10, but is technically still the same, just with enforced limitations? While Chrome OS is an optimized system for ARM processors and thus must be better on Chromebook devices? It seems so...

  7. ilev May 2, 2017 at 7:30 pm #

    "Schools will get Windows 10 S for free on devices running genuine Windows 10 Pro PCs"

    And how much will Windows 10 S cost to schools that don't run Windows 10 Pro PCs ?

    • ilev May 3, 2017 at 11:09 am #

      Any Windows 10 S machine can be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro for a one-time $49 fee.

  8. zund May 2, 2017 at 7:56 pm #

    so, if "Windows 10 S" is for educational purposes... what is "Windows 10 for Education" for?

    btw, even the claims are very identical: "Windows 10 empowers students of today to create the world of tomorrow."

  9. DVDRambo May 2, 2017 at 8:41 pm #

    Considering how much easier it is to configure and replace Chromebooks, Microsoft must have worked pretty hard to almost get Windows to be as easy to use as a Chromebook. The problem is that Windows S still falls short in most regards, more complicated setup, and slower startup. Our local school district teachers love Chromebooks. Microsoft may have another money pit on their hands, that at least can be upgraded to Windows Pro and used to run legacy programs like Quicken.

    • jern May 3, 2017 at 2:10 pm #

      "According to market researcher Futuresource, Microsoft had a 22% share of mobile PC volumes shipped to the U.S. K-12 market last year. Google’s Chromebooks had 58%."
      Microsoft unveils $999 Surface in new education pitch

      MS is playing catch-up.

      • Tim May 4, 2017 at 1:45 am #

        That's only in the United States, who are the only ones that buy Chromebooks. For the rest of the world (I.E. 96% of the worlds population) it was as follows:

        65% - Windows
        17% - Android
        9% - IOS
        6% - Chrome
        2% - MacOS
        1% - Linux


      • jern May 4, 2017 at 8:01 am #

        Thanks for the link. The first paragraph shows why MS/Apple/Google are excited by the U.S. educational market...
        "Sales of Mobile PCs* into the US K-12 sector continued to develop in 2016, with annual shipments growing 18% year-on-year in 2016, reaching 12.6 million units, up from 10.7 million in 2015...This continued growth in the education sector, when considered against overall declines in PC & Tablet sales in total business and consumer markets, highlights why PC OEMs and the major OS providers are focusing so hard on the education market."

        This is also important...
        "Please note, the term 'device shipments' refers to sales of devices at a certain point in time. It is not and should not be used as an installed based data point. (For example this statement is incorrect - Chromebooks account for 58% of devices in US classroom.)"

        It should also be noted that the report focused on,,,
        "Mobile devices only, (Notebook/Mac, Netbook, Tablet, Chromebook) not including Desktops."

        The market for desktops looks increasingly limited.

  10. jern May 2, 2017 at 9:24 pm #

    Martin writes...
    You are stuck with Microsoft Edge as the browser for instance, and cannot install any desktop program that you may have used in the past. This may be less of an issue for students who just get started with computers.

    However, it could force school systems to abandon educational software that has been used and tested for years - to be replaced with who-knows-what from the Windows Store.

    MS wants a software-as-service business model, but that doesn't sound serviceable to me. Ms shoots self in foot - AGAIN!

  11. Mike May 2, 2017 at 10:06 pm #

    What will be interesting to me is what (if any) performance gains are actually made with this. I understand it boots up faster than "regular" Windows 10, but aside from that will we actually see improvements in performance, battery life, etc? Part of the appeal of Chrome OS for many folks is that you can get web browsing performance of a $800 machine on a $200 machine. Will Microsoft be able to replicate this with Edge/Windows 10 S?

    Furthermore, I will be interested to see what, if any, browser makers decide to actually make a Windows Store App to appease Windows 10 S customers.

  12. 420 May 3, 2017 at 1:05 am #

    Me too syndrome strikes again, yet again ms late to the party with an inferior product for too much money. Idiots

  13. Vrai May 3, 2017 at 1:41 am #

    "Affluent parents will buy a MacBook Air."

    I wonder what the "S" stands for? :)

    • AnorKnee Merce May 3, 2017 at 7:43 am #

      @ Vrai

      Win 10 S = Win 10 Store.

  14. Anonymous May 3, 2017 at 1:42 am #

    D O A

  15. Jimmy James May 3, 2017 at 12:58 pm #

    Windows store is terrible, bad, wrong. Worst idea ever. Sad.

    • kalmly May 3, 2017 at 2:42 pm #

      Microsoft is rife with bad ideas of late.

      • Jimmy James May 4, 2017 at 1:22 pm #

        Lol agreed. Plus it's keeping in line with their roadmap:

        Windows XP = good
        Windows Visa = bad
        Windows 7 = good
        Windows 8/8.1 = bad
        Windows 10 = good
        Windows 10 S = bad ...(though it probably technically isn't a new OS, but still I just couldn't resist)

      • AnorKnee Merce May 4, 2017 at 4:18 pm #

        @ Jimmy James

        Win 7 = good
        Win 8/8.1 = bad

        Win 10 = WORSE (forced updates, Telemetry, ads, bloatware/preinstalled apps, etc and EOL in about 2 years if not upgraded)

  16. Tim May 3, 2017 at 2:21 pm #

    I have no idea why they released Surface Laptop with Windows 10 S, I can only assume it was to get people talking about it.

    However, how I see this panning out is that Microsoft will give Windows 10 S to OEM's either for free or at a very low cost. That would make OEM's happy and keep costs down. Microsoft would then recoup the costs either from people upgrading to Windows 10 Pro for $49, or from Windows Store sales, Microsoft Office Subscriptions, etc.

    One issue I see with Windows 10 S though, say you want to use it for students, how for example would you use third-party hardware with it? Some hardware drivers come through Windows Update, but quite often in order to use the hardware properly (such as a graphics tablet for example) you need the full driver package installed to customise the settings. These are only available from the hardware manufacturers website and are .exe files, so they won't install on Windows 10 S.

  17. ZippyDSMlee May 4, 2017 at 2:39 am #

    Windose CemeNT 2.0

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