Raphael Aquino Jose, Senior Product Marketing Manager Surface, revealed yesterday in a blog post that the option to upgrade from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro for free has been extended.
Windows 10 S is a new edition of Windows 10 that is designed as a low-cost solution especially for the Education sector. It is a restricted version of Windows 10 that supports only apps from the Store and not legacy programs.
This has some advantages, for instance improved security, better stability and faster boot times on average, but also disadvantages as most Windows software won't work on Windows 10 S devices (which is good from a security perspective, but bad from a usability perspective).
Win32 legacy programs cannot be installed or run; this would not be that much of a problem if alternatives would be available in Windows Store. While you find alternatives for some programs in the Store, it is often the case that there is no suitable alternative available.
The latter is probably one of the main reasons why Microsoft put out the offer to upgrade Windows 10 S systems to Windows 10 Pro. This is also one of the core differentiating factors between Windows 10 S and Windows RT, as RT devices could not be upgraded to a full version of Windows 8.
Upgrades to Windows 10 Pro from Windows 10 S were free until the end of the year 2017 initially, but Microsoft extended the deadline by three months so that the offer ends on March 31, 2018 now.
For those that find they need an application that isn’t yet available in the Store and must be installed from another source, we’re extending the ability to switch from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro for free until March 31, 2018. We hope this provides increased flexibility for those people searching for the perfect back-to-school or holiday gift.
The announcement confirms the reason for providing free upgrades to Windows 10 Pro; customers who cannot find the appropriate software in Store may upgrade to Windows 10 Pro to install Win32 programs on the device and use those.
Store access is still available on Windows 10 Pro though, but the core benefits of running Windows 10 S are not available anymore.
Users who have bought or received a device with Windows 10 S have three more months to evaluate the device and upgrade to Windows 10 Pro should Windows 10 S fail to meet their expectations or requirements.
Since it seems likely that many devices with Windows 10 S will be sold around December, it makes sense to extend the deadline to give these users ample time to make a decision.
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