Windows 10 S operating system – the pros and cons

by Andre Vaux

Andre is Managing Director at claireLOGIC – a business which delivers IT and Communications services to businesses in the UK.

Microsoft Windows 10 S is here! It has been created as a low cost and lightweight alternative to Windows 10, making it perfect for those using low-cost computers – in education for example. It can also be used on higher cost devices, such as the new Microsoft Surface Laptop. Here we summarise the pros and cons of Microsoft Windows 10 S, including why it’s aimed at education users in particular.

What’s so good about Windows 10 S?

Take a look at some of the benefits…

  • Free update and subscriptions

Teachers can update any Windows 10 Pro device to Windows 10 S free of charge. Windows 10 S also features a free one-year subscription to Minecraft Education. Microsoft Office 365 and Intune for Education are also free with Windows 10 S.

  • Increased security

Windows 10 S is more locked down than Windows 10 and will only let users install applications from the central Windows store. This is designed to stop students installing malicious software, keeping systems and networks, pupils and teachers, safer online.


  • Suitable for budget hardware

Windows 10 S runs on “the full range of Windows 10 hardware, from the Surface Book to cheaper laptops.” Asus, Acer, Dell, Samsung, Toshiba and Fujitsu are already creating Windows 10 S devices with pricing starting at around £150. This is great news for developing countries where governments are introducing technology into education for underprivileged kids in rural areas.


  • Simple to set-up and use

Windows 10 S features a simplified, redesigned home screen ideal for school users. Setting up devices running Windows 10 S has also been made much easier thanks to a tool that allows administrators to configure the devices from a USB stick.


  • It’s flexible

IT staff in schools can switch from Windows 10 S back to Windows 10 Pro if devices need to access more advanced features, for around £30.


  • Improved battery life & speedy boot up

Windows 10 S is optimised to consume less power so a laptop’s battery will last longer. And according to Microsoft, a Windows 10 S-based device will boot within 15 seconds and play high resolution videos for around 14.5 hours from fully charged.


  • Mixed Reality

In the future, Microsoft plans to offer Mixed Reality through Window 10 S. Users will be able to see 3D content using a simple RGB camera.


What’s not so good?

The list of benefits is pretty impressive, but what about the drawbacks…

  • Limited app use

The additional security features prevent schools from taking advantage of third-party apps and freeware applications such as GIMP, a popular free alternative to Photoshop. Users will only be able to install apps from the Windows store because it assures Microsoft-verified security and integrity. Of course, this is also a good thing!


  • Restricted browsing

Microsoft has made the Edge the default browser with the Bing search engine. This means users cannot install Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or any other browser onto their Windows 10 S device.


  • It’s not freely available

Windows 10 S is not available for individual sale, but will be found on new devices issued to IT administrators in education as well as those on shelves.


  • We don’t know much more – for now

The real proof in the pudding will be evident when users – in particular schools – begin using Windows 10 S in earnest. Let’s all keep our eyes peeled for feedback to see if ‘in action’ this OS is well received.


If you are a school or any other establishment or user, and you are interested in finding out more about Windows 10 S, we’d love to chat about it with you.

Contact our team to find out how we can help with understanding if Windows 10 S is right for you and how we can support you with roll-outs.


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