6 things you need to know about 'Windows 10 S'

Windows 10 Wallpaper

Windows 10 Wallpaper (Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 10 S is a new edition of Windows 10 built with one specific purpose: to take on Google Chromebooks and the education market. Education is an important area for Microsoft, and with Windows 10 S, the Redmond giant plans to take back the education industry by storm.

This is everything we know about Windows 10 S so far.

It's locked to the Windows Store

The biggest difference between this edition of Windows 10 and the other editions is that Windows 10 S is locked to the Windows Store for all apps and games. That means downloading programs from the web won't work on this edition of Windows, because Windows 10 will simply refuse to install software unless it's from the Windows Store.

There's no way to turn this function off on Windows 10 S, because it is designed specifically for the added security. You could upgrade to Windows 10 Pro, which subsequently would enable the ability to install programs from outside the Windows Store, but that would no longer be Windows 10 S.

Hands on with Windows 10 S

It looks and feels just like any normal Windows 10

Myerson Windows 10

Myerson Windows 10 (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

On the surface, it isn't immediately clear that Windows 10 S is different than any other version of Windows 10. It looks just like any other edition of Windows 10 available on the market today, apart from the fact that it has a slightly different default wallpaper when setting up for the first time.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, because it means users will be familiar with the Windows experience no matter what version of Windows 10 they're using. This is especially beneficial for students, who Windows 10 S is mostly aimed at.

It's a little more secure

Because app installers can't execute from outside the Windows Store, you're technically more secure. You won't get any rogue installers installing malware behind your back, because they simply don't run on this edition of Windows 10. Everything in the Windows Store is (for the most part) safe, being screened by Microsoft's own app approval system before being available in the Store for download.

It's not a 'lite' version of Windows

There's a common misconception that because Windows 10 S is locked to the Windows Store, it's technically a "lite" version of Windows 10. That's not true, because it still has the ability to run full Win32 programs much like any other edition of Windows 10. As long as the software is available in the Windows Store, it'll run on Windows 10 S.

That means if Google decides to put Chrome in the Windows Store, Windows 10 S users will be able to use Chrome. If Adobe puts Premiere Pro in the Windows Store, it'll work on Windows 10 S, too. This is a full version of Windows, the only difference is the fact that it's bound to the Windows Store for all your apps and games.

Office is a big part of Windows 10 S

Microsoft will likely push the full version of Microsoft Office 2016 on Windows 10 S, if the fact that Word 2016, PowerPoint 2016, Excel 2016 and OneNote being pinned to the Start menu by default is anything to go by. The apps aren't installed by default, but clicking the pinned tiles will take you to the Store to download them.

Considering Windows 10 S can't run programs from outside the Store, this means Microsoft will be bringing the full version of Office to the Windows Store as Centennial apps, which is super exciting. This also means you won't be limited to the "Office Mobile" version of the apps.

It can be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro

If you're not a fan of the limitations of being locked to the Windows Store, you can upgrade it to Windows 10 Pro for a small fee. In some cases, your Windows 10 S device might come with a free Windows 10 Pro upgrade too! So keep a look out for that..

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 and Threads