Microsoft's Windows 10 S is Windows RT done right

Windows 10 Cloud Wallpaper
Windows 10 Cloud Wallpaper (Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 10 S being locked to the Windows Store is an interesting concept. However, Microsoft has done the very same thing before with another version of Windows that went by the name Windows RT. Nobody liked Windows RT, and the entire idea was abandoned just two years later.

So why is Microsoft doing the same thing again with Windows 10 S? It isn't ... at least not exactly.

Windows 10 S vs. Windows RT

I've noticed lots of people refer to Windows 10 S as the new Windows RT, and while I understand why that connection is being made, calling Windows 10 S the new Windows RT is entirely wrong. Sure, both Windows RT and Windows 10 S are locked to the Store, but the similarities end there. That's like saying planes and cars are the same things because they can both get you from a point A to a point B.

Windows 10 S is so much more than just another go at Windows RT — it's Windows RT done right.

Windows RT was bad, but only because it was locked to the Windows Store with no other options. Windows 10 S has options, including the ability to not be Windows 10 S anymore. If you buy a Windows 10 S machine, you will never be "locked" to Windows 10 S forever. Users have the option to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for a discounted price.

Windows RT never offered this way out. Once you purchased a Windows RT device, that was it, you were locked into Windows RT for the remainder of that device's lifecycle. What's more, Microsoft did an incredibly poor job at explaining to users the difference between Windows RT, causing confusion. Above all, developers simply didn't take advantage of the Windows Store in Windows RT, which ultimately led to its failure.

Windows 10 S is a better OS

Windows 10 S avoids all these problems by simply being upgradable to Windows 10 Pro. But even in a scenario in which the upgrade to Windows 10 Pro isn't possible, Windows 10 S is still so much more than what Windows RT was. For starters, the Windows Store can now house more than just modern apps, it can house Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps, and even Win32 programs, too. This means you can get iTunes, Spotify, and more directly from the Windows Store.

Plus, Windows 10 S runs on a much larger selection of device types, including those with x86 processors. Windows RT was very much locked to ARM32 based devices, which meant, for the most part, Windows RT was experienced on very underpowered hardware. With Windows 10 S, you can find it on anything from low-end devices to high-end devices with the Surface Laptop, so users should never notice any slowdowns.

In short, Windows 10 S has plenty of benefits over Windows RT In fact, Windows 10 S and Windows RT share only one similar aspect: they're locked to the Windows Store.

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