Forget Windows 10 S — Microsoft needs a true 'lite' version of Windows

Windows 10 Cloud Wallpaper

Windows 10 Cloud Wallpaper (Image credit: Microsoft)

If Microsoft wants to get serious about competing with Google in the education market, it needs a version of Windows 10 that isn't just Windows 10 Pro with a virtual block on installing programs from outside the Store. Windows 10 S, while a nice idea, is not a true Chrome OS competitor. Microsoft needs a real, lightweight version of Windows 10 that removes the bloatware of Win32 and focuses primarily on being a web-first OS.

The beauty of Chrome OS is that it doesn't get in the way. It's a simple, straightforward experience that puts what you bought the thing for front and center: browsing the web. Microsoft's idea of a Chrome OS competitor is normal Windows with a block on installing non-Store apps, and while Windows 10 S is good for other reasons, it's not a viable Chrome OS competitor.

Windows 10 S Review

Chromebook

Chromebook (Image credit: Windows Central)

I think Microsoft needs a version of Windows 10 with a desktop environment that's true Universal Windows Platform (UWP)-only. That means no legacy Win32 programs, no classic Control Panel, and no ancient File Explorer. Microsoft needs a version of Windows 10 that's entirely modern while remaining familiar enough to be recognizable. Microsoft needs Windows 10 Mobile ... but without the Mobile part.

It wouldn't be for power users

I can already hear the power users in the comments ranting about why such a version of Windows 10 is a bad idea, but let me be clear here: This version of Windows 10 is not for you. It's for those in the education sector or casual users who do nothing but surf the internet.

In my life, I have bought or given Windows laptops to all kinds of people. Old people, young people, workaholics, casuals, you name it. While everyone's use case is different, I've noticed a trend amongst several of them; their use cases are using the web browser for accessing email, watching Netflix, and writing documents. These laptops often come with bloatware and extra crap that they're not ever going to use, killing performance, and it's overkill for a lot of people.

The fact of the matter is for a lot of people, Windows as a whole is overkill. Not everyone wants to customize every last setting available in the Control Panel. Not everyone wants to access the registry, manage connected domains or organize files in File Explorer. A lot of people just want to use the internet, and I think Microsoft needs a version of Windows 10 that gets out of the way and lets people do just that.

A version of Windows 10 that's true UWP-only, with a simple desktop experience that includes a taskbar, Start menu and windowed apps, is exactly what a lot of people need. Maybe not you or me, but people. Windows 10 S gets a lot right, but it's still the same old Windows under the hood. It still has the extra settings, functions, and capabilities that most people don't need.

As I showcased in my CShell video earlier this year, Continuum has been updated with windowed mode, which actually makes Continuum useful. Take that experience, build the hardware into a laptop rather than a phone, and you've got the exact scenario I'm imagining: A version of Windows 10 with a desktop experience that's UWP only, and runs on ARM-based laptops.

Edge needs to be better

Don't get me wrong, a true UWP-only version of Windows would come with its own problems. For example, UWP itself isn't exactly doing well when it comes to third-party apps, but again, a lot of these people just use the web browser on these kinds of devices. The only real problem with this is Microsoft Edge, which many would argue is still subpar compared to Chrome or Firefox.

While I personally disagree, I totally understand that argument. Microsoft needs to do more work to Edge before people will start taking it seriously, which is why a true UWP only version of Windows 10 today wouldn't work. Until Microsoft gets more extensions for Edge in the Store and improves Edge under the hood, the idea of a version of Windows 10 that puts the browser first falls flat. But Microsoft is serious about Edge, and I think Microsoft wants Edge to be the best browser out there.

And I'm not saying this version of Windows 10 should be installed on high-end machines. This would be a version of Windows 10 for Intel Atom or ARM-based devices that aren't all that powerful and are good at browsing the web or doing lightweight tasks. Too many times have I bought a sub-$300 laptop and found it to be incredibly sluggish thanks to Windows being so old and heavy, along with the added bloatware hardware makers like to pre-install. A UWP-only version of Windows 10 would improve the experience on devices like that dramatically.

What are your thoughts on such a version of Windows 10? Do you know anyone who would benefit from an OS like this? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

134 Comments
  • But, why all the lies about Chrome OS though??? It is crap, always has always will.
  • Ok
  • Chrome OS, in the United States, is gaining traction. If you disagree then so be it. Doesn't change the fact that it's true.
  • It's not gaining that much traction, all of that is marketing BS lies. It's negligible. It's crap and if you disagree with that so be it. Doesn't change the fact that THAT is true.
  • Chromebooks now have HALF the US education market. That is traction. They may not have much consumer market, but getting them into kids hands so early can't be bad for them. I doubt Chromebooks will really go anywhere though since PCs are losing relevancy. I find very few instances were I would prefer picking up a laptop instead of just using my phone for common tasks.
  • No, they do not, that is all BS Google is marketing. There is not even a way to gauge that. They got traction for sure, but not that great, There is no takeover situation going one here. If anything you are correct about your assessment about them really going anywhere while Mobile is still around.  
  • Arnold,  Lay off the Fanboy kool-aid buddy.  Chrome OS is taking over the educational depts across The US and Canada.  If you don't believe it,  does not make it false.  Sorry again.  BUT IT'S the TRUTH.  here comes the downvotes for the TRUTH again.  Walk into any school around here and it's chromebooks all the way....no google marketing here.
  • There is no way to gauge what computers are sold to schools? Are you serious?
  • Eventually you will have to switch to PC if your are doing music, game, photography, movie production, 3d, etc imo...
    Can you run Visual Studio on Chrome Book? Repo? Excel?
    Can I go keyboard only on Chrome Book?
    I'm a main programmer in a major game studio, Excel / Office is very important in my industry, google sheet, etc... stand no chance tho...
  • Those are the tools man. If you want to program a game install Excel.
  • Sorry but Chrome is gaining traction, mainly in the education sector. Our ISD ditched Windows a few years ago because of the abysmal peformance and weight required to run it.   They moved over to issuing Chromebooks and not looked back at all.  Now everything is done on a Chromebook and uses google docs and drive. The school can buy the absolute minimum hardware now and the laptops run great.
  • Chrome's success in education is less about what a great OS it is and more about how easy they made them to manage. They created tools to deploy them that anyone can use. We used them in a clinic where I volunteer sometimes (all the charting is done through a web based EMR app) and it was a terrible decision, however. They were slow on the webapps that go beyond basic web browsing. Printing was a nightmare. I'm sure they've improved in the last 2 years though. Mobile tech, virtualization, and "the cloud" are making the OS you run less relevant. MS should be worried. In time, I think Chrome will be a threat. 
  • I would argue that easy to manage is part of the OS.   It is the entire package.    Also, easy to manage extends to the home.   I personally have a HUGE family as in 8 kids and love Chromebooks.  I am the house admin, never even applied, and CB are so much less work then Windows. I had one kid with a Acer 15" and another with an Acer 14".   They wanted to trade as the 15 has better speakers and the 14 is the best value machine I have seen.    Did not require me to do anything.   They just handed each other and used their account.   Now that is solid gold for me.
  • Go ahead and deny that Chrome OS is gaining traction if you want. Steve Ballmer laughed off the iPhone, too.
  • Comparing these two is laughable.
  • Stop.
  • How's life without a functional brain?
  • @ Arnold Andino. I have a Chromebox running ChromeOS. I love it. I love it as much as my Surface book. Its my secondary machine. There is a suprising amount you can do on it. RDP, Citrix Receiver, Telnet, IRC, VPN, Photo Editing. I can edit fair amount of MS Office documents. MS Teams, OneNote.  And soon, these things will run Android apps. Then, I can use actual Office. (And hopefully Visio at some point) I also used an Android Tab today, with a travel mouse and foldable MS keyboard, its fits in such a small bag but is like a mini PC.  MS know they need a moblile offering, its just too big a space to ignore. But ChromeOS is scaring them, its getting so good for a lighter user you could give up your PC. Its super cheap, and its very secure and very fast. Honestly you shouldn't bash it, live with it for a while, you will learn to love it I am sure.
  • Hwangeruk,  He's a kool-Aid drinker.  No need to use LOGIC and COMMON SENSE with people like that!
  • Great post!   Completely agree but why on earth are you being downvoted?   People are having trouble being realistic, IMO. In the end it is about developers.   Google able to leverage Android with the largest developer community with Chromebooks is a threat to MS over the very long term. What happened is MS client developers have been leaving for over a decade.   First with the Web many left and then iOS and then Android.   Without mobile this is a very real issue for MS.
  • Chromebooks grew 38% YoY and Windows/PC sales are at the lowest in a decade. "Chromebook shipments surge by 38 percent, cutting into Windows 10 PCs" https://www.pcworld.com/article/3194946/computers/chromebook-shipments-s... The data would indicate otherwise. But keep the faith maybe it will change ;).
  • Duplicated
  • Stay classy European, Zac.
  • Opinion ==! Fact.
  • I thought this
    =!
    Was "not equal to"
    Atleast in C based languaged.
  • I thought this
    =!
    Was "not equal to"
    Atleast in C based languages.
  • I am a student.. I want a laptops, but see the configuration and cost of windows laptop. On the other hand see the price chrome laptops. Whether you like or not.. Not everyone can afford surface laptop or any slim laptop(whether it is Dell or hp). They are too costly. And cheap windows laptops are not reliable. So what options we had left. Chrome laptop. Plus they had regional content. Tablets are now history. Do you think a student need 4k screen for studies? Windows laptops are best but price are worst. They are just focusing on innovation. And how they can recover the cost of that innovative products. For example take a example of figure print scanner or any app which can replace Kindle app or paper white etc.. Nothing till now in budget laptops.
    On the other hand Google with playstore in laptops will bring all cool stuff of android in laptops in my budget.
    Windows store in laptop has app gap. And play store in Chrome laptop has stability problems. Tablet app crash. But playstore is on upper hand because they know they need to fix all these issue in laptops, but Microsoft need to convince app developers to please make app for windows laptop..
  • Well, my kids' school system disagrees.  Every kid gets a Chromebook starting in third grade. Chrome OS runs fantastically on the lowest of the low-end hardware, never slows down, is always up to date, and does the one thing that is 95% of everything PCs need to do: Surf the Web. My kids can watch multimedia, do online assignments, write reports, etc., all from the Web now. And, because Chromebooks can now run Android apps, they actually have a bigger library of current software available than Windows PCs do -- not just S versions, but full Windows.
  • I agree.. Bigger library with variety of applications. Just look at the ebook app or PDF app or any video player or music player or anything .. There are so many developers who makes applications which can run in any Android laptop or phone .No minimum requirements no drivers requirement nothing.what ever app you need just download it and use them. Plus too much eco friendly. Microsoft has a monopoly,in laptop. But let see how they come up with windows 10. One more thing windows store 3rd party app are really horrible.. Except few.. And look at the price of that few products... Too expensive..
  • So why not just go with a Chromebook for light users and power users continue with regular Windows? There isnt any real argument being put forward as to WHY anyone would choose a light version of Windows if it existed so again it will be just another solution looking for a problem. The value in Windows is the fact that it IS Windows, take that away and it really has no attraction or benefit to anyone. Time to realize that and stop trying to shoehorn Windows onto devices where it doesnt belong just because they plug into a wall socket and have an On button.  
  • "So why not just go with a Chromebook?" Because not everyone wants a Chromebook. I want a Chromebook running Windows, hence the article. I don't want a Chromebook running Chrome OS. I am not part of Google's ecosystem, and want to be running Microsoft sofrware and services no matter the device.
  • It looks like this is true, but as user of W10M I can tell you that Microsoft make better software and make their services avaliable in other platforms
  • " am not part of Google's ecosystem, and want to be running Microsoft software and services no matter the device."
    So why don't you continue using the Microsoft Ecosystem? No one is preventing you from using your preferred OS and services. 
  • @Zac Bowden, So, riddle me this: "Microsoft needs Windows 10 Mobile ... but without the Mobile part." What exactly is that "mobile part" is in your opinion? If you're going to say that's the mobile shell (the part that will eventually be replaced by CShell), then you're right. If you're tempted to say anything else, or you assume there must be other parts of W10M that are specific to it which justify it being a "seperate OS", then you're wrong. In other words, with the exception of CShell, what you are asking for already exists! That is W10M (although MS would be unwise to market it under that name)! Take W10M, remove the platform drivers, add different platform drivers for the new hardware, add in CShell, and presto. Finished! The only thing missing is a larger selection of UWP apps, but Chrome also gets by with nothing but a browser, and such a device could do so as well. The shell (primarily task bar, start menu and task switcher) will work fine on large displays. It will look and behave exactly like the Windows 10 shell. But it will exclude the Win32 baggage, be much more secure, and only run UWP software. So again, there is no difference between W10M + CShell and what you are asking for. The need for such a lightweight OS, or more precisely the potential need for it, is exactly why W10M is still being developed. Understanding this is exactly why I've been saying for years that despite phones being dead, W10M is not yet dead. Understanding this is why I was able to tell you that MS would continue to invest in W10M, long before Daniel Rubino's contacts at MS (baffelingly to most) confirmed the same. The potential need for such an OS is exactly why W10M is still under development. The only way W10M can really die is if MS removes the capability to install W10 without Win32 and all of Win32's associated baggage. Once CShell is released, including or excluding Win32 (and all that comes with it) will be the only differentiator between W10M (or whatever it is called going forward) and W10. As long as MS maintains the ability to install a pure UWP version of Windows, then W10M lives on, because that is all W10M is (ignoring platform drivers which don't technically belong to the OS anyway). Many on WCentral, particularly those who comment on articles, end up inventing technically completely ridiculous theories to explain-away why W10M is still receiving updates despite its apparently irrelevant market position. That is leading to a lot of confusion and BS. Clearing that up would help a lot of people on this site understand what is going on. Lastly, there is no technical reason such an OS couldn't also be suitable for power users. Nothing about the OS itself makes it unsuitable for that purpose. The only thing that matters is wheather the appropriate software, the type powerusers rely on, is available for the UWP platform.
  • I never understood the reason why microsoft doesn't market a cheap 10 - 12 inch 2-1 laptop with touch screen , arm processor and 2gb ram - 32 gb storage and lte capabilities with a version of w10m. You can browse the web , take notes with inkcanvas, listen to your music, watch netflix etc without having a lagging legacy code base and need for anti-viruses etc. That kind of laptop is also suitable for the education sector and for companies to deploy their custom apps to employees. 
  • The problem is File Explorer.  Microsoft shunted so much uneccesary crap inside explorer.exe in the late 90's and early 2000' as a way to battle regulators by saying it wasn't possible to remove Windows Media Player or Internet Explorer, or blah blah failed technology because it was "part of the system".  I mean, have you looked at just the icons inside of explorer.exe?
  • Nope. Pointing to "the icons" is probably the most irrelevant way you could attempt to justify your point. 99.9% of those icons are embedded in explorer.exe for compatibility reasons. Unless you happen to install a two decades old program that was never updated and therefore still references them, they are never used. MS can't remove them, as being "compatible" with older software is one of its main selling points for corporations. If your software tends to be newer than that, then their existance costs you nothing beyond a few hundred kB of storage space, which in comparison to all the other junk Windows installs is pretty much a drop in the ocean. I'd say you'd have to be far more specific in regard to where you see a problem in regards to File Explorer. Otherwise I'd say you're seeing problems where there isn't one. Either way, the current File Explorer will very likely be replaced by something newer as part of CShell, but how quickly the old is phased out depends on a lot of details I currently don't know enough about.
  • Zac,  there are literally hundreds of "chromebooks" running windows.  Many cheap dirty windows laptops out there.  This day and age,  Even the cheapest of the cheap run windows 10 without issue.  The only issue is the fact that many only install 32gb of drive space.  Other than that,  there is nothing wrong with full windows 10 on cheap devices.
  • Steve, ChromeOS is much more efficient than Windows. It was explained really well from a current Microsoft kernel engineer why Windows is so much slower.</p> "I Contribute to the Windows Kernel. We Are Slower Than Other Operating Systems. Here Is Why." http://blog.zorinaq.com/i-contribute-to-the-windows-kernel-we-are-slower...
  • But as long as the end user experience is not lacking...USERS don't care how efficent an OS is.  They care about,  when I turn this on,  is it fast,  and can I do what I want to do.  SIMPLE.  At this point in time,  the newer "cheap" systems for windows 10 can do both.   It's only a few geeks here that care about the underlying **** going on.   Consumers DON'T CARE about that.   My Dell 2 in 1, is far from the highest model out there,  but 10 generally runs quicker than my sons macbook air 2016 model.  my wife's dell 3000 2 in1 even runs faster or just as fast as his macbook.  Seems OSX is the "yardstick" for speed and fluidity.  What chrome gives is a secure platform where its pretty well pointless to create "viri" for it.  Where as the baddies can mess the crap out of your windows device.  But,  As I said,  as long as it's fast and smooth,  the end user does not care.  As long as they can do what they want to do.   As it stands,  with windows 10 I can do 99% of what I want to do on computer...the 1% being I want imessage/facetime on it.  Will apple ever cave?  Who knows.  I know I would pay 50 plus dollars to buy that functionality for my windows 10 devices.     
  • Totally agree and this would be the default on low power tablets. My partner had a cheap Windows tablet and then tried a Amazon Kindle Fire, for her there is no going back as the Kindle just works and does what she wants.
  • this is a good idea 
  • Not only is it a good idea, but it works well too. I already have this 'light' version of Windows 10... on my phone! It works lovely in Continuum. Job done.
  • With how well Continuum works (could be way better though) with more work could've been the true Windows 10 for ARM. Just let developers make apps for the ecosystem as people buy it. People hated on Windows 8 but I think Microsoft never gave it a chance for people that don't use it for their workstation.
  • Nailed it Zac, spot on. A UWP-only laptop would be perfect for my family and alot of people I know whilst making my a life so much easier. I don't have to worry about malware, firewall settings, internet security suites clashing with installers because they aren't bothered to read and inadvertantly installing a bazillion toolbars and adware. Just to name a few silly but common scenarios. The worst one is that low end laptops do not have space for the forced updates thanks to OEMs shoving 32gb EMMC into the machine and not giving a crap that the user is left with next to nothing in useable storage space. As windows is a major space hog for people who just want to browse the web, use facebook and some store apps. It's what Windows RT should have been... it was an amazing tablet o/s as well and now tablets feel like an after thought (A classic Microsoft over reaction). Plus Microsoft would need to do heck of a lot more in promoting their UWA own platform that is not desktop based, many enterprise users do not need store applications but many consumers do. So for a UWP-only windows to succeed it would need store apps. There-in lies the problem, which sector did Microsoft chose to forgo? Consumer. You honestly couldn't make this up it's brain breakingly atrociously hilarious. A UWP-only surface mini LTE would be the perfect student device.
  • I don't even why they abandoned the tablets and Windows RT. That should've been the definitive version of Windows they should worked at, not for phones. They never had a chance in the mobile phones without a great app ecosystem /store.
  • Although I liked Windows RT and had bought a device, it definitely wasn't gaining traction
  • MS does a lot of things wrong from a consumer point of view. What would be good is having a stripped down/steamlined version of Windows, and then having features you can add if needed from Settings, even at a cost to the consumer. This would be great for all those, including myself, who actually got an ATOM based 2-in-1, or tablet, with limited resources. But then again, MS can't figure this stuff out, because they have no touch on consumer feedback, or know what consumers want. This is where Apple shines, because they are real people with real minds at this point, and future thinking. I'm kind of getting tired of MS and living in the past with them to be honest  :( 
  • Stripped and steamlined version is not for pro or power users, it's for the average joe who do not even know how to navigate the control panel let alone initiate commands via winkey+r. There are three obvious  reasons why RT didn't gain traction, no touch office so to use office you had to open the desktop and the user would be subjected to a jarring experience. Two - the desktop elements do not lend well to touch, three - People didn't understand what RT meant - so they presumed because it's Windows it will run traditional Win32 applications + macros.
  • This might sound bonkers, but why don't they use the core OS from the Xbox (obviously change the shell back) but there is your pure UWP and possible convert this to ARM in the near future.
  • I think you are dead wrong here Zac. I think that hardware will catch up to Windows S and both in price and computing power. Enough to give those people that don't want bloatware as you put it a useable easy machine and enough to grow in to.
  • Whilst hardware may surpass Windows S with ease you are forgetting about price, personally I wouldn't want to run the current version of Windows on anything much less than an i5, I have, I had it on an HP Stream 7 inch tablet and it was ok for me to play with but if any buys a low spec PC or tablet its a painfully slow experience and the price of higher tech is currently going up not down. This idea is for a light, cheap version of Windows to run on very basic PC's for hard working mums to buy for their kids or older folk on limited savings, they just need a quick OS that runs web pages, Skype and the mobile versions of word etc.   I don't want or need such a device, but a lot of non tech savvy low income poeple do and this is why MS could lose out in the future, people who start off with a different OS and don't need the complexity of a full blown PC won't rush out to buy into Windows, especially if MS aren't in the mobile arena at all.  
  • An Edgebook! I am sure that would go over well!
  • Call me crazy but, what they really need to do is introduce this new OS Zac describes (all UWP/no Win32, etc.) and brand it something other than Windows.  Windows has too many legacy connotations...it has too many expectations for what it "is".  If MS wants a footprint in the education and ground-floor consumer side of things they could easily do it as this article describes.  And, they could avoid a ton of chafe and drama and confusion if they simply chose to brand it something other than Windows.
  • I was thinking the same thing. As a general purpose OS Windows means different things to different people. Programmers expects "Windows" to be able to run Visual Studio, SQL Server and IIS, Office workers expect it to run Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint and Word and gamers expect it to run everything on their Steam library. They got Xbox right, people don't expect it to run PC games or apps despite having the "Microsoft" brand behind. Maybe that's the reason why Chrome OS is not Android and is not called as such and why the iPhone is called like that and not "MacPhone"  and iOS is not called OSX Mobile. I get the One Core and UWP thing, but the XBox One is proof enough the Windows brand isn't necessary to advertise a product which has the Windows Core and can run UWP apps.
      Microsoft should give different names for the Windows "flavor" for different family of devices. With the weight and expectation to "be Windows" lifted, comes the liberty to adapt to each of the form factors. Think like Linux and their distros. 
  • Call me crazy, but what kids need is less GUI and more command line.
  • "casual users who do nothing but surf the internet" I think thats what our phones are for (web, youtube, snapchat, fb, insta). In few years, most people won't want to carry a laptop. They will be just carrying their phones. You go home and dock that thing. Apple will figure that out first before Microsoft does (with more/better apps). And if I was in high school or college, I would want full winsows. That's me.
  • MS already figured this out with Windows Phone and Continuum, but as usual they pisched it up the wall. Nadellaaaaa!!!
  • Nadella don't care about windows and Terry myerson have no idea and leadership.
    I worry Terry myerson will make windows be like Internet explorer.
  • Hmmmm.... So, if Edge was better (or at least all you needed in a browser)... Wouldn't Windows 10s be what you were looking for?
  • Zac I don't think I agree with you on this one. Maybe 10 or more years back (like the Vista days?), this would have been valid, but now, hardware is generally mature and affordable enough to handle even the so called 'bloated' windows. I'm sure you have an SSD in all your Windows machines right? How long does it take to cold boot? 5 seconds, 8 seconds? Seriously, any average Windows machine with an i5 and decent SSD and at least 4GB or RAM is pretty darn fast. Heck even the average Android flagship phone is packing 4GB+ of RAM these days. I don't remember when last I've been disturbed by 'slow' performance on any of my Windows 10 devices (all core i5 and above and equipped with SSDs of course). Seriously, Windows lite has no purpose, because the performance 'benefits' will be marginal, and probably not noticeable on any decent hardware (which is really affordable these days, just get some el cheapo core i5+ laptop/desktop and slap an SSD into it). Windows 10 Pro all the way, the hardware is now capable.
  • I agree with you. I think even cheaper modern hardware is plenty fast enough for Windows 10 S. And that's only going to improve with each generation of new hardware.
  • If high-end Surface Laptop doesn't come with Windows S by default, I would totally agree that Windows S should be a much lightweighted version for low-end PC.
  • It seems like you are describing what Windows RT was attempting to be? I agree though, I have an HP Stream 7 and it just can't run Windows 10 without incredible lag, I don't even power it on anymore as the experience is painful. 
  • That's a fair point.  RT failed because there were no apps, and in a lot of cases, there still aren't.  How would this Windows 10 Lite succeed where WinRT failed?  That's a good question for Zac.
  • It is like Windows RT but I think compared to the time of Windows RT, the app situation is much better especially with windows on ARM coming and centennial bridged apps in the store. 
  • MS had a light weight o/s like chrome, actually MS had a few of them but they killed them all.....
  • So Microsoft Needs another windows RT to combat Chrome Os . No one needs A dumbed down windows. It will never be able to compete against IOS or android. People just need cheap Surface pro alternatives.
  • There are already a ton of dirt cheap Surface Pro alternatives.
  • And what are those. I am using a cube mix plus chinese tab because all others are ******* expensive.
  • What do you consider "expensive"?
  • I am on board with this idea.  For one thing, it would light a fire under Microsoft to make good UWP apps possible.  Edge might be a fast, compatible browser, but user-interface wise and integration-wise, it is like 8 years behind modern browsers.  It's awful.  Is that because of limitations in the UWP platform?  Or limitations in Microsoft's commitment to giving edge a compelling user interface?  We would find out, I guess.  And we need an Edge running on Android phones and iOS phones so that my bookmarks are universally shared.  Chrome does such a nice job with this that I doubt Edge will ever catch up.  
  • So... Windows RT? They had this, and nobody wanted it. So instead of trying to flog a cut-down OS that nobody wants, they came back with a different cut-down OS to see if they could do better.
  • Execpt of course, that Windows RT was not cut down at all. There is significant difference in between a "disabled feature" and "cut down".
  • Windows RT was not cut down in the slightest. It was full Windows, compiled for ARM.
  • So why do the EXACT SAME THING over again?
  • @Steve Adams. The difference here is OneCore, slow transition of APIs, the ability of apps to dynamically adjust to appropriate screen sizes. Windows RT was in essence windows 8 (over simplification here) where apps didn't not scale well and the initial releases of Windows 8 Store apps they all would launch full screen. There are so many differences to a UWP only windows device and Windows RT.
  • But for "chromebook" applications,  the apps really don't need to scale.  All the apps are made for desktop,  and thats what chrome books are.  So,  really...what he is talking about is RT AGAIN.  and it will not fly....again!
  • I know a couple of people who went to phone-only setup for most of their life, relying on a laptop only when they need to compose some documents etc. and I kind of understand them. OEMs keep showing 5400 RPM HDDs into cheap laptops, which I don't think is acceptable at all. And that's probably what most people buy because "omg this pc has a lot of storage" (and also, it's hard to find a cheap laptop from the big guys with a small SSD on-board). These things are damn slow and Windows is not really built for casuals, too much stuff you can accidentally switch on/off. That's not something Windows 10 S can fix, really. So I side with Zac on this one.
  • No MS needs to get a handle on all of the temp space usage so they can have a usable install on small SSDs. That's why chromeOS is fast. They aren't using old school hard drives. If you can make a usable 64GB ssd windows laptop then it would just as fast as chrome more or less. I remember when I first got my SurfaceRT 32GB and then run Windows update and have a full drive and unusable machine. It's way better now but still seriously problematic.trying to compete with a machine with different performance specs.like these low powered chromebooks whose only advantage is the ssd.
  • I have an Atom tablet running Win10 Pro.  Probably 90% or more of its use is with a browser or the UWP Netflix app.  I ignore Control Panel and many of the customization options since I'm almost only in the browser anyway.  But what would I gain by elimination of other features, which I don't use and are mostly transparent to me anyway?  First of all, another Windows edition invites the relentless "too many choices" criticism from a seemingly endless crowd of tech bloggers. Also, although I very seldom use my tablet for things like remotely supporting servers, the option to do so is valuable to me. (I know, that goes back to the "not for Power User" topic, but I still wonder why removing features is better than just ignoring them if they're unneeded).
  •  someone did make a 7" Windows  mobile, but it sucked. I want a Windows 10 mobile in 8-9" tab
  • Zac Bowden is easily the most adequate author on WC, followed closely by Dan Thorp and then Dan R.. He has the best view on things. (Too attached to Windows on mobile thought.. Get your sh*t together already, Zac)
  • wait, what? chrome is what? can't even fathom how this os compares to windows. it's still a vaporware.
  • I totally agree
  • Seems to me that WOA would fill exactly the need you are looking for. Just don't run win32 apps via emulation.
  • buy some thing thats chesp is the name of the game in school systems. chrome books give students access through the web to their teachers lessons and their individual progress and other websites to download applications.. Microsoft crippled Windows 10s by not allowing it to dowmload apps ,programs from the web. Micosoft should replacxe Windows 10 s with windows 10 home edition minus some minor features students and school network admnistrators do not use anyhow.  microsoft madness for making a buck off of windows 10 is hurting their cause not helping it I found out that Microsoft gets more of service fess if apps cell than some apps makers like so to get more apps microsoft should lower it's fess
  • I think the author misunderstand. Generally, UWP apps are slower than Win32 apps due to the restrictions of WinRT APIs. Though Chrome OS is easy to manage, it's not fast. Chrome apps are less functional than Windows apps, so they look fast. Looking at OpenOffice and Gimp in Linux, it's really slow.
  • Pretty sure much of the UWP API still rests on top of Win32.
  • While in premise I agee with you.  The problem like windows mobile is the dreaded app gap.  Until UWP becomes more prevalent then any Windows RT v2 is dead in the water.  Chrome can get away with it because it is a better browser than edge because alot of devs optimize for chrome.
  •  nice read but this has been done with RT. A fantastic OS that lots of people "didnt get"   still used by my company today and the RTs are the best thin clients there is as they are safer than every other os out there and still can browse the web email etc directly
  • I agree with you Windows RT was a great idea and OS but with terrible Timing and Marketing!! Windows has come a long way from there with a new integrated development platform... thats why it is diferent now! Microsoft needs a new marketing stratagey to sell the public (General Public) this new OS! ... an OS for the people.. not for the professional or the industry! 
  • I don't think an UWP-only OS would work. UWP can't win against multiplatform competitors like PWA (progressive web apps) because it's locked to Windows 10 only.
  • How about getting a full screen version of Edge first?
  • F11 not work for you?
  • I dont really get this. Hardware isn't getting weaker over time on devices this size, its getting more powerful. The need for lightweightness fades with every passing year. At this point android and ios are very much overly lightweight, for the hardware its often running. We are finally at the point where full windows could run on a phone. I think you are running in the wrong direction with this. Although I agree in principle for one reason, to encourage UWP. 
  • Totally agree on Zac's article! and I've been talking about this for a couple of years now! Microsoft needs a New OS, based on Windows10 for the a modern age where Power PC Users, Developers and IT proffesionals aren't the majority behind a PC. This new smartphone era have turn everyone into an user! This users loves browsing the web and use apps..!! thats all Microsoft is obligated to satisfy these users giving then a new faster, clearner, lighter OS!! ...and truly think UWP is the answer. Of course, MS needs much to Do to make this  reality!.. Not just a browser issue, but identify and target this new product to a smartphone generation, offering them a PC like device easy to use, that powers on and off instanly, easy and fast to update... and with APPS I hope Microsoft is hearing!!  
  • To me, Chromebook (OS) is NOT the main problems. THe users base is Microsoft first problem. My kids’ elementary school (k-8) went from using Microsoft Office product (desktop/365 software??) to Google Doc. The school is using the HP desktop and Mac they purchased years ago.  The school removed the Microsoft office software. Google is providing IT tools to create google account for EVERY KIDS. The kids need to use the Google Doc suites now. The teachers have access to documents created by the kids, ect, ect….Nice. The kids  are using Chrome browser. They can do everiting in the lab, at home, on an iPad, Android tablet... Now my kids have a Gmail account…How many new users google is getting every year? Could they have used Microsoft outlook? Does Microsoft has IT tools for this purpose?
    My kids like Apple and Google? They think Microsoft is for old people!!! This is the real problems!
  • They are kids so...
  • Great point.   It is NOT simply the Chromebooks but the entire school eccosystem is Google.   From the smartboards chromecast enabled to Google Classroom to Gapps, email, etc. My kids have to use Google Docs to write papers as it is integrated into their plaserism checker and MS Word is NOT.   I have a huge family and use to buy a MS Office license.   I had to.   But have not now for a couple of years as there is just no need. Even docs that I share personally including our survior pools, team roosters with parents and little league organization and pretty much every other doc I have to now share is Google and NOT MS Office any longer.   Now enterprise is still MS Office but for kids and the personal side it is really Gapps.
  • My kids’ elementary school (k-8)
    Your poor grammar suggests you should join them.
  • Thank you, English is not my first language. I’m working on it every day.
  • @jdrch, It would have been nice from you to include the correction, so I can improve my writing.
  • I have a couple of machines that would benefit immensly from a lighter version of Windows 10. W10 works great on my laptop because it's pretty beefy, but on tablets or crappy netbooks, it is a nightmare. Lags to the point of being unusable. 
  • You can load the open source ChromeOS version and the machine will be super peppy.   ChromeOS is a lot more efficient than Windows.   One of the MS Kernel Engineers explained why they are so much slower in a blog post.   It is a good read.   http://blog.zorinaq.com/i-contribute-to-the-windows-kernel-we-are-slower...
  • Microsoft is a software company, they need to attract new young users. The entry point is outlook, one drive and office suit on the web.  Microsoft created app for IOS and Android for WHO? They already have web tool who should works everywhere. Microsoft need to MARKET TO YOUNG people. Elementary school is where the new young talent are.
  • Chrome OS is fast, clean and, most important, lightweight.
    Except none of those are why Chrome OS' biggest users (K-12 schools) choose it. Chrome is big in that market because 1) it's secure 2) it's easily administrated 3) it's easily reset to default settings 4) content restrictions are easily implemented. Windows 10 S addresses all of thsoe by 1) limiting apps to those sourced from the Windows Store 2) leveraging Windows' existing stellar domain administration features 3) the Windows Reset feature that allows you to restore a pristine Windows 10 installation with no 3rd party apps 4) leveraging Windows' existing content restriction controls via Edge and the Windows Store. This article shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what Chrome and Windows 10 S are all about.
  • Jdrch,   But the biggest one Windows 10 S is NOT secure.    That is a big difference from ChromeOS.   Windows 10 S was easily hacked on the first try.   Edge at Pawned 2017 was penetrated over and over again.   Basically hacked at will.  AT Pawned 2017 only one browser was NOT hackable in the time allotted which was Chrome. MS lack of interest in security MUST change.   People just are not going to accept it any longer.   Think of all the ransomeware on Windows and how none of that would happen with ChromeOS.    It is a big deal. Then they need to make Windows more efficient.   Their own kernel engineer explained in an excellent blog post why the same hardware ChromeOS (Linux) will be much more peppy than Windows. http://blog.zorinaq.com/i-contribute-to-the-windows-kernel-we-are-slower...  
  • There's no conference called "Pawned 2017." Get your facts straight before you come at me.
  • Well actually there is.   Here is a link.   "Microsoft Edge gets pwned, Google Chrome is “unhackable”" https://mybroadband.co.za/news/security/203804-microsoft-edge-gets-pwned... or Microsoft Edge: Most Hacked Browser At Pwn2Own 2017 http://www.tomshardware.com/news/pwn2own-2017-microsoft-edge-hacked,3394...   Do a simple search.      
  • No, how about you learn to spell "Pwned" and stop linking to nearly 5 year old blog posts as evidence for the current state of Windows.
  • A light WIndows 10 would be nice for older lower end laptops... Why not bring them back. If WIndows 10S was more of a stripped down version, it would be usefull but, as it's full blown Windows with just a limitor, it does nothing to help performance.
  • I think Surface Mobile like device can do everything a chrome book can. We can replace lite computing with Laptop like dock with continuum Windows Mobile.
  • Why do you want a less capable software with a good hardware ? Why don't you want a powerful software with a good hardware ?
  • The biggest issue is Windows S is NOT secure. On the first try hackers were easily able to hack into it. Edge was easily the most hacked browser at Pawned 2017. It was penetrated over and over again. Only browser unhackable in time allotted at Pawned 2017 was Chrome. So if security is at all important to you Windows S should be avoided.
  • we get your point...
  • Didn't they try that with Windows RT and it failed miserably. You may want one, but it seems that the majority don't.
  • We have 10 home, 10 pro, 10 S, 10 mobile, and now you will confuse people with 10 Lite?.  - sorry, but  I don't agree.
  • win10 home or pro runs uwp.pc SKU, win10s also runs uwp.pc SKU
    winPhone (out before win10) is deprecated, runs uwp.phone SKU.
    win10.arm (same as standard win10) runs uwp.pc SKU.
  • Absolutely agree. S is not good enough.  My brother bought a Windows 8 tablet and worked like a charm until it got upgraded to Wndows 10. And it was sufferable until the Aniversary Update came out, and since, it is simpy a horrible experience. S is not good enough because it is locked to the store only.
    As for Edge... don't get me started. Worst browser ever. How did they manage to turn a very promising browser into a POS I will never figure it out. 
  • I installed windows 10in my laptop and it just work fine..
  • Might be your system, driver, etc that's causing the problem?
  • Microsoft doesn't need yet another version of Windows 10. It needs Windows 10 to get lighter and faster. Apple started the decade with a similar problem, and I'll explain how they fixed it. I had a Mac Mini and upgraded from Leopard to Snow Leopard. The result of that upgrade resulted in a FASTER performing Mac and it took 12 GB LESS space on my HDD.  I've since switchd back to Windows/Android, (it's part and parcel of my career), but you know, Apple really gets the user experience. I'm afraid that there still is noone at Microsft that cares about the end user and that's increadibly sad. There has been some amazing Microsoft products obviously, but the competion is getting really good a "frictionless" computing.    
  • Windows 10 is lighter and faster than Vista was in 2006, and outside of XP is the lightest version of Windows in the modern NT era. Unlike OS X or Linux or ChromeOS or Android, Windows is a full OS that still runs well on low end Atom and ARM based processors and with 2GB of RAM.    Just because the rest of the OS industries have went insane with system requirements, people assume Windows also has followed the trend, and in fact it has gotten faster and more lean over the past 10 years, even while adding in a lot of new features.    (There are technologies in Windows 10 that make it able to run on low end hardware and this is stuff you can research.)
  • Wow!   You not only drank the kool-aide but poured it all over yourself.   It is UNTRUE that the Windows is lighter and really wish you would quit being untruthful.   Here is a post directly from Microsoft that explains why Windows is so much slower than ChromeOS.   This is from MS!!    " ""I Contribute to the Windows Kernel. We Are Slower Than Other Operating Systems. Here Is Why.""   http://blog.zorinaq.com/i-contribute-to-the-windows-kernel-we-are-slower...   But Windows S is NOT secure is the bigger deal.   So yes WIndows S on same hardware will be laggy compared to ChromeOS but the bigger issue is that Windows S is NOT secure!!
  • tbh...
    Mac finally get its resize-window-from-any-corver in 2012...
    No meny key, it's still keyboard-user-unfriendly, UI/UX inconsistent (if you know where to look)...
    People around me (programmers) thinks Mac should just go away...
    I'm a main programmer in a major game studio (4k+ employees). About iOS and Android...
    iOS is simple, some people like it simple and I'm fine with that. Your choice, but... * How do you close your Notification panel in iOS? You'd have to move you finger all the way down, from the topmost to the bottom most, then swipe up? Time consuming not? * Swipe up to bring out "Quick Settings".
    You can toggle your wifi and bluetooth on or off, but can you add bluetooth devices or routers? How do you jump to advance setting from here? * No common share api. Sharing an image from Google Photo and Apple Photo... why the different apps in the "Activity" list? * how do you perform ctrl+a/x/c/v from your virtual keyboard? * Can you directly scroll your textfield / inputfield if the text is too long? "Address Bar" for instance, in iOS, you'd have to use "Input Caret" to scroll... * Most back-to-previous-page-button in a iOS app is located at the top left corner... * Launching another app from current app, how fast can you get back to previous app?
    How fast can you switch between 2 apps? double tap home to appB then double tap home to appA? etc, etc. And pages and pages of icons... Forced to arrange'em from top left to bottom right...
    How can you coop with your wallpapers?
  • With Windows 10 being able to run on lower-end hardware and do so with more fluidity than ChromeOS, there is no reason Microsoft needs ANOTHER version of Windows. The current build of Windows 10, works really well on a 2GB Atom Tablet with 32GB of storage - yes even the 64bit version of Windows and yes even running software like Photoshop and CorelDraw. I agree they could up the game with the S version, and hide more things from users, but with S already, people complain because it doesn't have everything.  This would just make users scream even more. If people want 'simple' or you are building systems for people you want to have limited access, there are custom Shells and Kiosk solutions that will do what you are asking for already. Or you could even slap together your own.  Then users would only see the Apps and features you want them to see, and everything else is completely hidden.  Windows Embedded has provided this for years as well, and still does, and a lot of things are running Windows that look nothing like Windows because of this inherent flexibility of both the consumer SKUs and the Embedded SKU. People forget that Windows allows for custom shells and a lot of customization out of the box.  They think that what Microsoft gives them is all there is, and this has never been true, and probably won't ever be true.  Ironically, Windows has more access to customization than most Linux distributions, but people don't think that a non-OSS operating system can or does offer these levels of flexibility and customization, yet Windows still does. In the Win95 era, people complained that it was 'too much' and 'too complex' and articles were written how to replace Explorer.exe with Progman.exe and use Win9x like Windows 3.x.   I'm sure it made sense to some people then, but in retrospect, seems REALLY STUPID NOW, and all it did was hurt people as we still have a set of users 20 years later that don't even grasp the 'old' docu-centric model that Win95 introduced, and also will never make the jump to the information-centric model that Windows has been trying to get users to move to, as it is the future, and yet only a stepping stone to the full realization of the info-centric models. Just because Google and Apple have created a generation of people that WANT LIMITED FEATURES because their 'mobile' OS technologies can ONLY PROVIDE LIMITED FEATURES, does not mean that is the way of the future for a general OS.  Yes the iPad is simple to use, and it also can't run Crysis or Photoshop for the same reasons. (Sadly this effect is even starting to limit new software and what features appear in new software. If Adobe was just now build its Creative Suite of software and was targeting today's iOS/ChromeOS users, it would have 1/100th the features and functionality that is available.) With Windows, users are already isolated from 'complexity', in that they don't have to touch anything outside the browser or their Email App, and never have to worry about anything else on the OS.  However, if they do decide they want or need to do more, it is there for them.  Assuming that novice users get confused, is silly, as they tend not to touch what they don't know, or they are curious and do touch other things, and learn how to use them.   (Again, if you need to restrict access for 'crazy' users, there are 'policies' that you can flip on and off and control everything they can touch and see and do. COMPLETELY.) Windows' abstraction of complexity for users is right now the most complete and adaptable UI/Usability OS out there, yes even in comparison to ChromeOS or OS X, which both require insane low level tweaking skills to adjust rather normal things in the OS.  Requiring users to open 'Terminal' to fix security settings and make adjustments to OS settings is not 'removing complexity', it just hides it. (Which again, Windows does better with this, as the complexity that is hidden are at least GUI based interfaces to the complex settings, and don't require users to drop back to a 1960s UI construct to fix things.) /disagreecompletelywithauthor
  • With Windows 10 being able to run on lower-end hardware and do so with more fluidity than ChromeOS, there is no reason Microsoft needs ANOTHER version of Windows. The current build of Windows 10, works really well on a 2GB Atom Tablet with 32GB of storage - yes even the 64bit version of Windows and yes even running software like Photoshop and CorelDraw. I agree they could up the game with the S version, and hide more things from users, but with S already, people complain because it doesn't have everything. This would just make users scream even more. If people want 'simple' or you are building systems for people you want to have limited access, there are custom Shells and Kiosk solutions that will do what you are asking for already. Or you could even slap together your own. Then users would only see the Apps and features you want them to see, and everything else is completely hidden. Windows Embedded has provided this for years as well, and still does, and a lot of things are running Windows that look nothing like Windows because of this inherent flexibility of both the consumer SKUs and the Embedded SKU. People forget that Windows allows for custom shells and a lot of customization out of the box. They think that what Microsoft gives them is all there is, and this has never been true, and probably won't ever be true. Ironically, Windows has more access to customization than most Linux distributions, but people don't think that a non-OSS operating system can or does offer these levels of flexibility and customization, yet Windows still does. In the Win95 era, people complained that it was 'too much' and 'too complex' and articles were written how to replace Explorer.exe with Progman.exe and use Win9x like Windows 3.x. I'm sure it made sense to some people then, but in retrospect, seems REALLY STUPID NOW, and all it did was hurt people as we still have a set of users 20 years later that don't even grasp the 'old' docu-centric model that Win95 introduced, and also will never make the jump to the information-centric model that Windows has been trying to get users to move to, as it is the future, and yet only a stepping stone to the full realization of the info-centric models. Just because Google and Apple have created a generation of people that WANT LIMITED FEATURES because their 'mobile' OS technologies can ONLY PROVIDE LIMITED FEATURES, does not mean that is the way of the future for a general OS. Yes the iPad is simple to use, and it also can't run Crysis or Photoshop for the same reasons. (Sadly this effect is even starting to limit new software and what features appear in new software. If Adobe was just now build its Creative Suite of software and was targeting today's iOS/ChromeOS users, it would have 1/100th the features and functionality that is available.) With Windows, users are already isolated from 'complexity', in that they don't have to touch anything outside the browser or their Email App, and never have to worry about anything else on the OS. However, if they do decide they want or need to do more, it is there for them. Assuming that novice users get confused, is silly, as they tend not to touch what they don't know, or they are curious and do touch other things, and learn how to use them. (Again, if you need to restrict access for 'crazy' users, there are 'policies' that you can flip on and off and control everything they can touch and see and do. COMPLETELY.) Windows' abstraction of complexity for users is right now the most complete and adaptable UI/Usability OS out there, yes even in comparison to ChromeOS or OS X, which both require insane low level tweaking skills to adjust rather normal things in the OS. Requiring users to open 'Terminal' to fix security settings and make adjustments to OS settings is not 'removing complexity', it just hides it. (Which again, Windows does better with this, as the complexity that is hidden are at least GUI based interfaces to the complex settings, and don't require users to drop back to a 1960s UI construct to fix things.)
  • This is NOT true.   You can hear it directly from one of the current Microsoft engineers that develop the Windows kernel.   "I Contribute to the Windows Kernel. We Are Slower Than Other Operating Systems. Here Is Why." http://blog.zorinaq.com/i-contribute-to-the-windows-kernel-we-are-slower...   As you can see Windows will ALWAYS be way slower than ChromeOS on the same hardware.    Which is consistent with my experience. But the BIGGER issue is security.   Or lack of it with Windows S.   On the first try it was easily hacked and completely taken over.   I am not aware of ChromeOS being hacked to this point.   Windows S should be avoided as incredible insecure.
  • This is NOT true.   You can hear it directly from one of the current Microsoft engineers that develop the Windows kernel.   "I Contribute to the Windows Kernel. We Are Slower Than Other Operating Systems. Here Is Why." http://blog.zorinaq.com/i-contribute-to-the-windows-kernel-we-are-slower...   As you can see Windows will ALWAYS be way slower than ChromeOS on the same hardware.    Which is consistent with my experience. But the BIGGER issue is security.   Or lack of it with Windows S.   On the first try it was easily hacked and completely taken over.   I am not aware of ChromeOS being hacked to this point.   Windows S should be avoided as incredible insecure.
  • The blog post you keep linking to is nearly 5 years old.
  • Ha!    First not 5 years old but what you do NOT realize is kernels change very little over time.    It is just more and more adding to the problem which was the entire point of the article.   Did you even read the article? This is from an actual Windows kernel developer that works for MS and HIS point is that it keeps getting worse.   So would be even worse today.   But also experience it yourself.  Use a Chromebook and Windows machine with similar hardware and it is night and day.
  • I don't believe in UWP and Windows Store. There must be an easier way to create and deploy the apps. Microsoft needs a better coding concept for their new modular OS. Something like an open-source graphic layer or a set of nuget packages interacting with DirectX core components. Windows apps can be deployed and updated with XCOPY from some trusted web sites.
  • I don't think it needs a lite version of windows. I think what it needs is the ability to set it to a simplfied interface with the rest hidden away from ordinary users but available to administrators. This interface could be based on a (much improved) Edge. Using it would be very similar to using a smartphone.