Windows 10 S comes to an undignified end

Dead End
Image: IDGNS

Stripped-down OS quietly downgraded to 'mode' after less than a year

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13 February 2018 | 0

Microsoft’s reputation as an ‘irregular’ producer of quality software continues. Windows 7 remains the world’s most popular operating system and cloud platform Azure has plenty of adherents, the same can’t be said of Windows 10 S.

Windows 10 S was Microsoft’s attempt to grab market share back from Google and its low-spec Chrome OS-powered Chromebooks. It failed.

On the official Windows 10 S website, you can find Microsoft still telling you how 10 S has more security, great performance, but a Windows operating system that couldn’t run your 32- or 64-bit Windows software isn’t really windows. What you do get is something that looks like Windows only with a closed ecosystem populated by second-rate Universal Windows Platform (UWP) applications.

A recent overview of the 10 most popular UWP programs threw up the usual suspect of Dropbox, eBay and Facebook Messenger – basically a selection of websites or web services, not full-featured applications.

Someone, somewhere out there, must use Windows 10 S. After all, it came as the default operating system on the Microsoft Surface Laptop. Interesting thing, though: A Google search for ‘Windows 10 S Surface Laptop,’ reveals stories on how to upgrade those machines to a real version of Windows 10.

So, not even a year after introducing , Windows 10 S Microsoft is pulling back from it. Now Microsoft is spinning that Windows 10 S was never really a new version of Windows 10. Instead, it’s a ‘mode,’ which can be used across the Windows 10 lineup. There’s also Windows 10 S for Firstline Workers, Windows 10 S Enterprise and a rather mysterious Windows 10 S for Home.

As Microsoft discovered with Windows RT, users who want their user experience to be based on tried-and-trusted user interfaces and applications. ‘The same only less’ doesn’t wash.

But don’t let the 10 S fiasco poison your mind about the product it was trying to play catch-up with. Anyone who does want an operating system that’s lightweight, fast, secure and useful should buy a Chromebook. Google Chrome OS gives many users all the operating system they’ll ever need, with none of the confusion that came with Windows 10 S.

IDG News Service

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