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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 is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • Thanks for this! It seems like there have been all of these debates around this, and this is a great way to clear that up.
  • Hey Zac,
    How many times you are going to re-cycle the same article about Windows 10 S?
  • Only one hundred times!
  • Until there are no more dummies not getting what Windows 10 S actually is. So, it'll be a long time even by judging comments here.
  • 1 Up for daniel....Awesome come back buddy!
  • Sounds like Microsoft's failure. Must get tiring trying to explain their poor messaging and branding.
  • And then there are those that simply can not grasp the concept no matter how you try to explain it.
  • Mostly it is people who pretend that they don't understand so that they can use it as a way of genertating FUD. For example, Microsoft has Home, Pro, Enterprise editions of Windows. People hit web sites such as this one feigning confusion to make it sound as if Microsoft is not messaging nor branding properly. Meanwhile other companies have multiple editions of their products, many options, many configurations, and that is just fine. For example, do you want an iPhone 7, 6s, C, or SE? Can anyone here name the differences off the top of their head? How much RAM does each model have, cpu, gpu? But tell people that Windows is a store only device that you can upgrade for free for the first 6 months, and suddenly it is confusing that only shows that Microsoft is "failing."
  • The iPhone had been around for a decade. People know what it is and how it works. If they bought an iPhone and took it home to find out you can only use web apps because the normal app store was blocked, they would be upset. Windows had been around for a couple decades. People know the Windows paradigm and are going to be confused when they suddenly can't use their new machine the same way. It is really going to be annoying when it attempts to shake you down. That is going to do nothing but piss people off.
  • Can this be loaded onto a surface rt?
  • Windows 10 S has nothing to do with ARM specifically. But it will be interesting what people do with Windows 10 on ARM. I'm sure someone will get it running on the Surface RT or Surface 2. While unofficial, for those brave enough to try it may breathe life into a device that has been pretty well shafted in terms of upgrades. Imagine finally being able to do on the RT what most discovered they couldn't do after they bought it.
  • Those RT devices aren't going to be powerful enough. Even if you get 10S on them, they will be uselessly​ slow.
  • Even though I am a Microsoft fan, I cannot let pass, this poor attempt by your site to aggrandise Windows 10S on flawed logic. Most of the people reading Windows news sites are not dumb, yet you try to fool them with inane arguments like Windows 10S allows you to upgrade while Windows RT didn't. That is not the difference between the two software, you silly, but the difference between the hardware (x86 vs ARM) that they ran on. At the time when Windows RT was shipped, the full Windows OS was not capable of running on ARM processors. And now that they have found a way to run Windows on ARM, they have (quite regressively) locked down even the x86 hardware to the Windows Store. And that is the main difference between Windows RT and Windows 10S, that the lockdown in the former was due to lack of technology (i.e., necessity) while in the latter case it is not out of necessity but out of choice. The necessity for this lockdown is for Microsoft, to somehow popularise Windows Store among Win32 developers. Their previous attempts for the same have not yielded sufficient results, hence this is their latest effort. It is not a consumer feature that you are trying to pitch. The consumer advantages of being locked to Windows Store are protection from malaware, apps running in a sandbox, automatic updates, notifications, clean uninstalling etc, but these advantages were available for Windows Store in Windows RT also. The major change in the two stores is that UWP apps are not supported in Windows RT while its available for Windows 10S, but even that is not by necessity but because Microsoft abandoned Windows RT. This article is written by Zac Bowden but I am responding to a comment by Mr Daniel Rubino because he is supposedly responsible for all editorial content and tenor of the articles. We all love Windows and Microsoft products here. We believe in their vision for the future and wish they succeed in it, but half baked and false defence of the indefensible will not take us anywhere.
  • For the general consumer, the difference is not the availability of new hardware.  For the general consumer the difference is that you can upgrade 10 S, whereas you could not upgrade RT.  They don't know why, and they don't care why, so the article is correct.
  • Windows RT would have been Store-only even if it ran on x86/AMD64. That was the conceptual reason for it. Also, nobody has "locked down" any hardware. You're at liberty to purchase a machine that doesn't run Windows 10 S.
  • Meh, conceptually W10S might as well be W10RT! Popularizing the UWP (previously the WinRT API) and simplifying the OS for consumers by disallowing the installation of non-store software is the WHOLE POINT of both W8RT and W10S. That is why they exist(ed)! When dummies stop getting lost in technical details and consider the far more relevant strategic goals and implications, we might get a reasonable discussion 😉. Both views have merit. One focuses on strategy (as I do), while the other on technical differences. Neither is necessarily wrong.
  • Yeah but at least provide well written article to explain it. A good article would provide a lot of specific, concrete details about why 10S is different and better. All this has its a few poorly organized bullet points.
  • Here's something I've learned about journalism I'll share with you ia. When there is nothing new to write about, you don't write about it. Look at how many articles Windows Central has written about Windows 8 lately (or previous versions for that matter), not a lot right? Why? Maybe because there is nothing new going on with them, and everything there is to say about them has been said. What about Windows 10 S? Something new with that? Yes, so why not write about it? This has been my Jounalism Tips for Dummies for today.
  • I think it wouldbe fair if you are calling Zac out by offering links to his prior WINDOWS 10S that shows and or demonstrate he is recycling. en you explore a topic like this from different angle and clear miscoceptions based on prior feedback or responses, that is not recycling rather rather more indepth investigation and clarification. I have read articles on on this forum where the autor will embed a link of prior article(s) as dated as 2014 that gives side note insight into what is been written about or the new article's progression from the past, they have never been shy about about referencing similar articles in past. So, be fair, share links.
  • Windows RT is sure done right, this may even help the app gap when MS does something with mobile
  • I think you have that backwards.  First the app gap needs to shrink, then we will see mobile again.
  • Good luck 🍀 with windows 10 s. Hope the best .
  • nice PR article, but S is RT the option to upgrade to PRO is a clear sign of it. Dont like it? Dont hate on us, just be so kind and pay us 49USD and you will have a full working W10PRO another thing, users are not stupid. They didnt buy RT because the Windows Store had near to 0 useful app and that didnt change too much in 2017 so instead of blaming users, blame Microsoft
  • I'll just blame you.
  • The only similarity between RT and 10S is the initial lockdown to the Store.  The hardware is different; the upgrade path is different. "users are not stupid."  Let's not go there. ;)
  • Once again, you fail at what you're talking about.
  • There are opinions, and then there is a-holery. Your comments belong to the latter.
  • And yet another person who comes here to purposely create FUD to try to scare people away. Just like with every other version of Windows, the trolls are out to try to scare people away. And yet, version after version, Microsoft sells more and more copies.
  • Well, the letter S is between letters RT
  • It must be so embarrassing to be you
  • You're a clueless idiot.
  • Then just don't buy a Windows 10 S device. Consumers should inform them self's before buying stuff. There are plenty of (low cost) devices out there that run Windows 10 Home, buy that instead!
  • Blame also salesmen.  I remember in Windows RT days some salesmen at Bestbuy didn't even know RT wouldn't run normal Windows programs.
  • And we're going to have the same problem here.  People will buy it because it's cheap, not realizing the limitation, and the clueless salesmen won't be any help.
  • Windows 10 S has options, including the ability to not be Windows 10 S anymore.
    That logic makes my soul hurt. Since when is a benefit of a thing not to be that thing? The rest of it is mostly fanboy backend stuff that the average user most likely won't care about or even know. Win10S is WinRT 2.0. No matter how you spin it.
  • That's like saying Windows 10 Home is flawed because you can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro in the Store. Same logic, no?
    "Win10S is WinRT 2.0. No matter how you spin it."
    Stating things like "this runs on x86 and not ARM" and "it can run Win32 apps from the Store" is not spin, those are factual differences between RT and S that make a big difference. Spin is not "I disagree with stated facts". If you're on this site, you're a "pro" user and not the demographic for S. Go spend time with "normies" and look at how the real world of computing works for consumers.
  • Not the same logic at all. It's simply an upgrade trying to be sold as a benefit. Similar logic would be something along the lines of "Toyotas are good because you can take them to the dealer and upgrade them to Jaguars". How exactly is that a selling point of Toyotas?
    If you're on this site, you're a "pro" user and not the demographic for S.
    Not necesarily. MobNat (mostly AC, but WC to a smaller extent) runs a bajillion bordeline clickbaity articles like "Which SD card is best for you?" that are solely designed to attract "normies".
    Stating things like "this runs on x86 and not ARM" and "it can run Win32 apps from the Store" is not spin, those are factual differences between RT and S that make a big difference.
    How many "normies" would even know what that means? Joe User standing at Wal-Mart or Best Buy is going to ask the blueshirt what the difference between Win10 andWin10S is. The blueshirt will invariably say "Win10S can only run apps from the Store".
  • But you're putting a user-based, biased judgment on S because YOU don't like it. I don't see it as a "Toyota upgrade to a Jaguar" that's your analogy and I don't agree with it. Windows 10 S is about (1) battery life (2) security (3) reduced PC rot from pre-installed applications. It's a "pure" Windows experience one that is, no matter how much you don't like it, the future of mobile computing. .Exe apps are notice and dying. End of story. If you can't see this future approaching you need to go re-read everything we've been talking about for the last 2 years. This is happening whether anyone here thinks it's the right time or not, it's not an if but the direction of Windows and general computing period. The faster Win32 dies the better. It's old tech, not built for the MR and mobile world we're moving to.
  • Daniel, I have a hard time imagining what you're talking about.  It sounds similar to comparing iOS to MacOS.  Both are locked down, although iOS is much more so.  One is a consuption-based platform.  The other is a creation-based platform. I'm curiously excited, yet concerned, about what the future holds.  There's a lot of power available in Win32 apps, that I haven't seen available in Store apps.  Perhaps this will change, but it isn't ready yet.
  • You do know Win32 apps are available in the Store, right? That's kind of the whole ******* point of 10S. But aside from that, Daniel is correct when he says Win32 is going bye-bye. MSFT has clearly stated UWP is the future development platform. They continually add API sets to the framework and over time it will catch and surpass Win32 in its capability.
  • I came to the comments section to say this. Also will add, for the RT comparison sake, that with Win32 applications available in Store, a W10S can install and run those while RT couldn't. If let's say W8S would have come out instead of WinRT, Surface RT would have seen better days.
  • But you're putting a user-based, biased judgment on S because YOU don't like it.
    I don't have any bias for or against it. I'm mostly on Chromebooks now, I don't have a dog in this race.
    Windows 10 S is about (1) battery life (2) security (3) reduced PC rot from pre-installed applications. It's a "pure" Windows experience one that is, no matter how much you don't like it, the future of mobile computing.
    ...until you do the (beneficial!) upgrade, and most of those either go away or are sorely diminished.
    .Exe apps are notice and dying. End of story. If you can't see this future approaching you need to go re-read everything we've been talking about for the last 2 years.
    I do't dount it, but not any time soon. And more likely than not, i'll be a slow rollout rather than a massive overnight paradigm shift. I love WC, and I love Zac (we used to chat back on WinBeta IRC), but my bottom line is this; all these mostly transparent QoL improvements don't mean squat to most people. Trying to say Win10s is better than WinRT because 1) you can upgrade it, and 2) it's 'teh future!' are mostly meaningless to the public at large.
  • I think that everyone needs to take a good look at what they're saying. Windows RT wasn't all that bad, it had some flaws, but, nothing serious. I still use my Surface RT for some things, and I upped the storage to 64 gig's by adding a 32 gig flash card, to do backups on. From what I've read about the Surface Laptop it looks like a sure bet. So what if you're locked to the Windows store, at least you're 99.99% sure that the apps are safe. I'd rather be locked to a sure thing than take a chance of picking up a virus from a 3rd party product.
  • You must be very patient to use a Surface RT today.
  • The faster Win32 dies the better.
    But the irony of Windows 10 S and Centennial is that Win32 is now guaranteed to live even longer. Before, anyone who wanted to have a presence in the Windows 10 Store needed to create an UWP app. Now, they can just take their unaltered age old Win32 app and put in the store and just let it sit there unaltered. Maybe, just maybe, developers will add some live tile and notifications stuff to it. But turning into a modern UWP app requires a full rewrite. And I have yet to see Microsoft to make a compelling case why any developer or company should invest a lot of money in that rewrite when they have just been given the option to getting their app in the store "for free".
  • Project Centennial is a transitional step towards UWP. Starting there goes a long way already, because although being Win32 application, it runs in sandboxed environment that, technically, guarantees that it cannot wreak havoc on the PC the way a normal .exe can. This puts an end to the ability for users to screw up their system and then blame Microsoft for it, while practically having all the same benefits of yore. So you see, repackaged Win32 apps are are not the same as traditional .exe.
  • You are correct: there definately are benefits to having your Win32 apps downloaded and installed via the store. And while I also agree that this is intended as a way to lure developers into the store to ultimately have them embrace UWP as well, I fear that the step from Win32 to UWP is still too big and developers will simply leave their Win32 apps as-is in the store.
  • I think that once they get a taste for what a real UWP app can do for their business, they will eventually transition. Because, we already know that Centennial-converted apps can tap into some of the UWP resources to offer additional functionality not available to .exe. If a business cannot utilise these because of legacy functions, it's fine to leave as-if, but if not, I see no reason why a growing, profitable company wouldn't leverage UWP once it has shown is potential.
  • Developers who don't wish to continue developing their apps and grow, yeah - they can do that. And that's fine. In the meantime, the competition won't sit still.
  • Nope. The competition will be creating apps for Android and iOS since that is where the users are. The Windows store does not offer many users just gimmicks.
  • I think security is the most important aspect of 10s and given the ongoing malware attacks MS should market security heavily. It's no small benefit
  • So ... Their marketing message should be, "Buy Win 10 S!  Unlike our normal Win 10 operating system, this one is actually secure!" Don't quit your day-job. 😁
  • Maybe's eventually they'll gradually change the store requirements to prod developers gently in the right direction. Didn't they "unlist" a load of apps not long back because they didn't comply with a new ratings policy??
  • Won't this 'death's take forever? I was setting up new laptop for my wife last night and was thinking how S might be a better option for her as a 'normal' user. Then I started installing the drivers and software for all the peripherals she uses, all .exe software.... I'm not getting a new wireless laser printer or whatever just because the vendor/manufacturer doesn't create a store app. If in order to install devices you're instantly forced to upgrade to home/pro, doesn't that defeat the purpose of S...?
  • I really think W10S is a calling from Microsoft to its partners in crime peripherals to step up their game. For example, HP has been doing a great job for years already. I don't own an AIO printer, but everytime I visit my parents, the printer automatically prompts an installation of the software on my PC as soon as I enter the network. In the beginning it was a bit weird, but now it's quite convenient.
  • Will said, Daniel!
  • That is a realy dumb analogy.  For one Toyotas and Jaguars are two different brands.  If you are going to use cars for a comparison then it would be more like upgrading a Toyota Corolla for a Toyota Camry.  A lot of dealerships will actually let you do that if the car you bought doesn't fit your needs.  So again, your analogy is dumb.
  • But even that is not a good analogy to what's happening with Windows 10 S.  It is more like taking a turbo powered Lancer Evo and shutting off the turbos.  The upgrade is to pay a little more to turn the turbos on.  But here's the thing... If I buy this car for my parents, do they really need it?  Will the increased maintenance, risk of failure and drop in fuel economy be worth it for them? 
  • If you father always had an Evo and was expecting it to act like an Evo, he is going to be upset when the turbos don't spool and a message on the info center asks for more money to enable them. Microsoft better do a really good job of explaining W10S to everyone buying one. They cannot let people take them home not fully understanding what they are buying.
  • But if he's paying less for this particular Evo, he should clue in that maybe he's getting less.
  • They are both cars that will get you from point A to point B. Heck, he could of used Toyota and Lexus. A Lexus is just a fancy Toyota, made by the same company. Either way, his analogy is on point as to some, a Jaguar is an upgrade to a Toyota.
  • @zhris, perhaps this will help: the ability to upgrade is itself a compelling benefit. For many, when making a purchase decision, the ability to upgrade, to be more future proof, is an important consideration. It was largely lack of this important benefit that caused Windows RT failed (bad messaging from MS and reports that RT was a dead end that couldn't run all the Windows applications sealed its doom). The ability to upgrade doesn't mean that all (or even many) users will upgrade. Many (I'd wager most, except perhaps in cases where it's part of a specific sales promotion to push hardware) will just stick with 10 S, which in turn will increase traffic to the Store, which further provides a compelling reason for developers to make Store apps.
  • @zhris
    What a knob jockey.
    RT was a dead duck from day 1.
    10S has a bright future which I would happily embrace, security with 2 teenagers trawling the internet is paramount now but an upgrade path is there if and when required down the track.
    That's the difference right there and why I will happily buy in.
  • Here's the thing: You have six months to upgrade for free. If, at any point in the first six months you get a popup saying that you are unable to install that critical piece of software, you can just upgrade. That's a long time to figure out if you're going to have to pay for the upgrade. The benefit of a thing to not be a thing is fairly common in the market, as well as nature. Bought a one bedroom house for you and your spouse but now you want a family? Better add on (upgrade). In nature there are several species that have different phases of life. Don't want to be a tadpole anymore? Become a frog. At a core level, the DNA is the same but only an idiot would say that frogs are identical to tadpoles. Calling it RT 2.0 is also ridiculous for another reason as well. The hardware they can run on is very different. That probably won't matter to the masses, but it will matter to OEMs. It will matter to developers. And one last thing about this is that the Windows store is already much better than it was when RT launched. It's not RT 2.0. It's what RT should have been. It's RT done right. It's an option for people that spend most of their time in the browser. It's for people concerned with security. It's for people that only need the basics. It's not for everyone, and Microsoft and their OEM partners know this.
  • Absolutely agree. This article makes not much sense at all. It is also missing the fact, that Windows RT could be "upgraded" to run Win32 apps even when they are not in the store. Sure this "update" was not provided by Microsoft, but the article does not even mention this option.
  • It's just a low cost option.  No different than buying a base model vehicle.  If all you need is store apps, then there's this low cost option for you.  If you want more, you pay more.  That's the way it's always been.  No different than 10 Home vs 10 Pro.  I don't know why this is suddenly a problem for people.
  • I disagree. Windows 10S is basically Windows 10 made to emulate RT. That's not a bad thing if you're targeting less sophisticated users who want a secure, reliable machine. There was nothing wrong with the Windows RT in the first place. Nothing is perfect, of course, but when it comes to Microsoft these days, the imperfect is the enemy of the good. So it seems to me that Microsoft is just reintroducing the same idea with the expectation that they nay-sayers will have grown tired of complaining about it and it will enjoy a certain amount of success. There's a model for this: Vista being reintroduced as Windows 10. Windows 10 had the same "bad" things Vista did (new UI, UAC, etc.) but without the "Vista" name, those "bad" things suddenly became "good" things. Technology is a tough business to be in these days. The key to success seems to be figuring out how to steer ignorant sheep in the right direction before they start following a few sheep braying incoherently but loudly.
  • "Less sophisticated users" are the ones who aren't going to understand the difference just like they didn't understand RT. They will just be disappointed when their new PC prompts them to pay $50 to use it the same way they have for decades. Shaking down your users isn't a good idea. It is going to create nothing but bad feelings and bad PR. They really need to remove the $50 fee. An informative warning is sufficient if they really believe in Windows 10S.
  • It seems to me that Microsoft hired some of the marketing geniuses from BMW and Mercedes. "You just paid $70,000 for this car, yes I know there's no floor mats, but those are ONLY $79 extra." This still strikes me as nickel and diming the customer, much like selling the Surface 3, advertising it as a tablet you can write on, and making you pay $49 for the pen to do so.
  • That's BS.
    The uneducated have been educated by the walled gardens supplied via apple in particular and android for a decade now. Anyone knowing and wanting the benefits of x86 knows the difference and will purchase accordingly.
    10S is the same as the very secure and successful apple model with a bonus upgrade included.
  • But PC users have been schooled for 20 years on desktops. It is going to be though to change such old habits. Phones are not the same thing and aren't used in the same ways.
  • 99% of desktop users, mums and dads, need a browser for reading the news and an email program. Corporate and the rest will happily upgrade if needed, especially if the unit is cheaper in the first place as they will be on WOA and lower S licencing
  • There's a six month period of time where you can upgrade for free so...not really a shakedown. If you don't know that you need to upgrade in six months you probably won't need to upgrade.
  • One of the biggest benefits to Windows 10 S that i see is the ability to lock children down to a safe environment.  Then when they start highschool, you can unlock it to give them more options.
  • THIS ^^
  • We forget I think as power users that the shift to Windows 8 and the full screen start screen was not well received either. Had RT had a better interface aka iconic instead of tile based the story could have been different. So MS didn't​ do themselves any favors with the RT interface
  • Personally, I think the interface on touch 8.1 was/is awesome but on the desktop, yes very cumbersome
  • RT was launched too early. Not only were there no apps, but RT was also launched with Win 10, which confused the hell out of people.
  • "but RT was also launched with Win 10"
    RT pretty much died out with 8.1. There was some hokey update for RT users, but no new devices were marketed when 10 came along.
  • To me this seems like Microsoft is just waffling and not sure what people will want. Nice that there is an "out" for Win S but that isn't exactly going to convince developers and partners to fully support the platform. My feeling is they should have gone all in with S.
  • Not sure as waffling vs. breaking in a new paradigm to users. Also, they can't force OEMs into this without destroying the current Pro PC market. OEMs will only use S for non-EDU devices if Microsoft goes first and demonstrates it's viable. They need to prove that first.
  • @DarrenHumphries, while often going all-in makes is necessary for compelling marketing (people don't want to buy something, if they question the company's commitment), Windows 10 S is the right strategy. The "out," as you call it, is a compelling benefit to pitch to customers. RT largely failed because it had no such out. While we can't know how large an impact this will have, we can say with certainty that more people will buy Windows 10 S systems because they can upgrade to Pro than would if MS didn't provide this option. We can also say with certainty that not everyone who buys a Windows 10 S system will upgrade to Pro and that even some of those who do upgrade will at least try out the Store first. So there were no education tie-in, then the gamble that MS is taking is that the increased sales of Windows 10 S and resulting traffic to the Store by allowing the upgrade will excceed what they would get if the didn't offer an upgrade path at all and tried to force it on users. However, because they are also targeting this system to schools and to low-priced systems (where the reduced cost of the OS vs. Windows 10 Home helps lower the price point on low-end Windows tablet systems) basically eliminates this being a gamble. From a pure strategic perspective, it's quite clever.
  • As I already stated above, the metro interface was also part of the adoption issue.
  • @Monte Constable1, not sure if you were intending to respond to me. I was just partly agreeing with Darren that going all-in can be an important marketing approach, but pointing out that in this case the ability to upgrade is a key added benefit that was missing from RT, removing one of the primary objections to RT (access to all Windows apps). The other major objection was hardware performance -- it was good on battery use, but poor for speed. From the data, I think we can determine with confidence that it was not the metro interface. That was the same as the interface for the full (non-RT) version of Windows, which dominated over RT in sales. While I resented being ripped away from my desktop everytime I opened the Start menu, many users to this day prefer the Windows 8 UI for tablet use to Windows 10's. 
  • No windows 10s isn't like windows rt. Go back an edition of windows its more like windows 7 basic that came on netbooks. Super nerfed but completely upgradeable. RT wasnt upgradeable it was 1. On arm architecture so it could run win 32 apps even if it wanted too. 2. It was very confusing to consumers.
  • The best thing about w7 basic is that it upgraded to full w10 home ffor FREE!!
  • Suprised so many people still don't see the benefits of Win 10S. Just because you don't want it doesn't make it garbage. Just like Android isn't garbage no matter how much you like Windows 10 Mobile 
  • People commenting here are the one percenters. Those who read and comment on a site dedicated to Microsoft technologies. By commenting here you're automatically in the class of users who want a "pro" machine. That's totally fine, too, but people here need to go into the real world where mom's and dad's just use PCs and don't give a damn about "builds" or "rings" or even the intricacies of software architecture.
  • Not all of us Daniel.  I see the benifits of an S machine.  I would own them for sure.  My son would greatly benifit from one.  I am probably going that route for him for next september.   He has autism and touchscreen apps etc have made huge strides in his personal development.  It has been Amazing to watch actually...It started with IOS apps for everything from flash cards to communication apps.   WOW!  
  • I'm using pro with "Allow apps from the Store only" option enabled and I can still run stand alone/portable .exe like hjsplit, emulator etc
    It only prevent you from installing programs and all of my installed programs prior from enabling "Allow apps from the Store only" option still run fine
    Is 10S also behave like this and can execute stand alone .exe??
  • How would a 10S user install those stand alone .exe?
  • the clarification in the public mindshare about these products is going to be the difficult thing
  • For the majority of home users Windows 10S will run on their PC and they'll go to the store to get apps. Only when they need to install something that's not in the store will the discussion start. 'But I've got Windows - why can't I install this <name of pokey win32 app' Then you have options. Pay $50 to unlock Win 10 Pro (sledge to crack a nut just to run one app?), get something similar that is available in the store, or do nothing and not use the product (pretend you own a Mac?) The question will be - will developers of these pokey apps now start to publish them in the store (does Microsoft charge developers for free apps in the store?)
  • AutoCAD, Photoshop,  Paintshop pro etc are not "pokey win32 apps.  Just sayin!
  • I really don't think Windows 10 S is aiming for users of those advanced pieces of software...
  • I would like to know the pokey win32 apps that are mentioned?  I think you are correct..but you never know.
  • I'm sure, like it was with WP8 & W10M there will be articles listing third party alternatives and some of the pokey free apps will also charge a tiny fee probably $0.99 (69p in UK)
  • 10S is not RT 2.0.  10S is full Win 10, with the limitation that you can install apps from the store only.  But the OS is the same.  That was not the case with RT.  RT was a different OS from Win 8, with its own store. That's why there was no upgrade path from RT to Win 8.
  • Time will tell. The hard thing will be explaining to the end user why they should get 10s. As communication is not MS its forte, that's where the challenge is. And of course convincing developers to build apps so 10s users will actually be able to use their pc.
  • Windows 10 S is Windows RT done differently. The only thing that will tell us if it's done right is real world data.
  • Windows 10 S will definitely only be as good as the Store. So let's see what happens, I have all my Windows 10 Pro devices, so I'm good for now. Now if only something could be done with that Windows 10 M device...
  • As someone who actually liked Windows RT, I can tell you it's biggest flaw was the app store and the lack of developers. The same fate will happen to 10 S if the app store fails to populate good apps. At least with 10 S though, Microsoft has an escape hatch for the user where they can upgrade out and not be left with a dead platform as they did with RT.
  • Any developer that has Win32 application that wants to participate in the Education market will need to create a store App. That is the trojan horse of this strategy, a way to get more Win32 apps converted to store apps. There's a reason why Apple and Spotify have decided to support it. Slack already has a Win32 store app, I think they see the benefits. Just a small amount of effort to support both a Win32 and a Store App with the same code base.
  • You're assuming that the whole education market will adopt Windows 10 S right away. Remember that even with the help of the unstoppable iPhone, Apple's App Store took 1 year to take off, and from that point, it took several years to gain full developers engagement.
  • I'm also assuming that in order for Microsoft to close the sale with educators, they will need to ensure that the required apps are in the store. This will push them to support in some way or another the conversion of apps into the store. I'm also assuming that 10S will become the main install at retail due to lower licensing costs for the OEM's. Because there is an easy upgrade path to PRO there is no reason for OEM's to foot the bill of the Pro license up front.
  • Yes, that's correct
  • If and when the App Store gets fully populated, no one will look at being 'locked' to the store as a bad thing.  It'll turn 180 degrees and become a huge positive.  You'll be able to say (just like Apple/Android users can today) "just get it from the store".   That's the vision of Windows 10 S, and we all need to hope, for the sake of Windows 'mobile' future, it becomes a reality.
  • Thank you for explanation.
  • I think Microsoft didn't hold a gun and force you to use Windows 10 s.. There are lot of laptops and desktop to chose from stop complaining and go with one that you want.. #windows 10 or if you want Microsoft still give you windows 10s for security reasons... And you guys have to try windows 10s for few days.. Then you can say something about it...
  • "Nobody liked Windows RT..." Except for this guy: "While the Surface is impressive from the design aspect, Windows RT is equally as impressive...". Actually, Windows RT was bad because Windows 8.x was bad.
    Windows 10 is slightly better than 8.x, so 10 S is better than RT as well. But MS needs to convince developers that they will make money by creating (or re-packing) apps for the Store. So far, since the introduction of the Store itself, it has not happening. Nevertheless, 2 or 3 years from now everybody here will say "Windows XX QWERTY is Windows 10 S done right" I know this site is all about Microsoft, but a little bit of objectivity is good for health.
  • I wouldn't say Windows RT was bad.  It just wasn't supported in the store.  I still have a cousin that uses his RT for school.
  • The hardware was terribly slow, especially the original Surface RT. Microsoft certainly didn't put their best foot forward. I have one and it is completely useless today. Just getting it to boot is a chore.
  • I think windows 10s is a realy good option if it was free for all. Let me explain. It would have been huge huge deal if at build Microsoft had declared that windows 10s is free for everyone including ones who has pirated windows copies. That way they would have brought so many people on windows 10 and made them use windows apps. While I understand the argument that would loose the revenue on copies sold to pirated versions, but they were anyway not going to pay. I believe it would have added more revenue to winodws since, number of people upgrading to win10 pro version would have increased as well. 
  • The falacy with your argument is that people that pirate won't "downgrade" their machine so they can be locked down to a store. I do believe that they are going to reduce the licensing fees to OEM's for 10S which in turn will reduce out the door costs of new machines. For users that need a "Pro" version, they will spend the extra $50 to upgrade from there. But this is way cheaper than an OEM that pays $80 for license which they then markup to pass on to the customer. This should reduce the retail price of new machines by $100 or more just by loading 10S.
  • Hmm,, Windows 10s, is a good os, and i like the whole concept, it bring apps to the windows store, more secure and less malware, it is a master piece,
    what's more, you can upgrade to windows 10 pro at any time, it's brilliant
  • Will schools and businesses be able to lockdown 10 S so their users can't upgrade to full 10? If so then there may be a lot of people that in fact can't upgrade. I challenge the notion that there will be no slowdowns on Windows10 S machines. A lot of 10 S machines are pretty low end.
  • Yes they can lockdown the system, that is the point of attracting Educators to the platform. That would only apply to school issued devices though. For students that purchase their own device, they can do whatever they want.
  • Observation 1: Most commenters never used RT
    Observation 2: RT development was stunted by a rapid (but ultimately short-lived) improvement in the Atom processor.
    I used RT extensively for 3+ years (Surface RT launch till finally breaking down and getting a Surface 3), and never found it to be an issue in day to day productivity. For the average road warrior of corporate America it was a good system. Now MS is doing the right move (completely commit the system to UWP and provide upgrade if needed) to advance the idea.
  • agree.  I still use my RT device to this day.  It's great for basic use.   I watch netflix, access onedrive, browse the net, I have kvad pro on it,  and edited all my photos from a few of our trips.  So there is still alot that RT can do.  
  • Customers and developers need to get behind Windows 10 S so we can get the benefit of all these new ultra mobile devices that are coming.
    We need to show our support and help it succeed. It has great potential to give us as consumers the best of both worlds.
    Windows RT was a good forward thinking idea but it was too ahead of it's time.
    We will not need to imagine for much longer the holy grail of being able to carry a single device that will do everything that a mobile can do and what a full desktop can do.
    We have been waiting for this for 36 years. Have we not learnt the lesson from the recent malware breakout. We want modern hardware and UWP apps and the ability to run our Win32 programs in a safe and secure environment. The downsides of only being able to run store apps are out weighed by the benefits.
  • poorly written article. probably rushed or is a comment than an article
  • Poorly written comment, probably rushed and is less than useful. 
  • That's the silliest thing I have read today. Windows S is not RT because you can ugrade to Pro and it isn't locked to the store anymore. Then it's not Windows S anymore, either!  I will gladly acknowledge that RT not having that option was detrimental. If the thing that makes S so much better is the fact that you can make it not be S, then what is the point? I personally had no issue with RT, except it was kinda slow on the origial RT, though it got better on my Lumia 2520. It had pretty much all the apps I needed, though again that wasn't true for everyone. The store has a lot more now than it did then. I bet a large percentage of normal users could be comfortable with just store apps, especially if some of the more popular ones are 'ported' via centennial.  
  • It would be a great idea if this Windows S would be free to OEMs. It would be a nice way to discourage them to go the Chromebook route and would serve as a point of entry to the full Windows experience through an update to Home or Pro at a fair price. But the way it is, i'm sorry, no matter how defensive you get, there's no way to justify this OS as a paid product, even worse when installed on a $1000 hardware like the Surface Laptop. Doing a simple analogy, this Windows S is like a Monthly Bus Pass, but a pass that allows you to ride a bus only on suburban routes, not downtown. And to make things worse, this "Suburban Bus Pass" can cost more than the Monthly Pass that allows you to ride a bus everywhere in the city, including the suburbs.
  • Windows Pro cost around $140 on Amazon. I think S could be charged for, but not as much as Pro. For some S would be worth more than Pro where control/security are the main drivers.
  • I really want to lock down my current windows 10 laptop to store only, but I often need Autodesk and Adobe software for work which I doubt will see counterparts or replacements in the store just yet... Autocad, illustrator and Photoshop are literally the only 3 win32 apps I use.
    I used to feel the same about Excel, but office is coming to the store so no worries.
    On an unrelated note, does anyone know if the Office on windows store will be available with current non-store purchase options? Like Office suite without 365 (meaning a permanent purchase, not a period bound subscription, and way cheaper)? I'd be mighty interested in that. I understand 365 will always give me the latest version, but that's a lot of investment to bear for me at the moment
  • Biggest hurdle is if developers except users to buy the same software from the store if they already have the Win32 versions - no-one is gonna pay twice for something that already works
  • I'd say RT was a tablet OS first of all. And it shined as a tablet OS. I'm sorry it didn't take off. Someome will sort of resurrect it in the future, maybe Jolla. Windows S10 is just gimped windows 10, but with the benefit of safety, battery life, etc. Perfect for the average home user who doesn't need "real work" type apps, but wants more than a tablet to do general work on. Hook a printer up, have a big screen, nice speakers, etc. Or an office where you just need Word, Exhchange, the internet, etc. and don't want to have to depend on an on-call IT guy to fix things. I do think stuffing win 32 apps into the store will help the store. My guess is that apps will modernize over time and the profitable win32 apps will eventually come around and convert into something more modern (UWP) jsut so they work better and don't look so old fashioned and primitive.  
  • I could see this being used in enterprise where they want everything locked down. Put all the corp Win32 apps in the store and you have a great platform. You then have the choice of ARM or x64 devices depending on your needs. Bitlocker encryption out of the box as well.
  • I think, if back when RT launched, MS would've allowed Windows Phone apps to be launched (similar to how iPad can run iPhone apps), the RT wouldn't be such a failure.
  • I still own the Windows RT PC along with a Surface 3 PC, it would be nice if I could upgrade the RT PC to Windows 10S. Wouldn't mind recycling the RT with the new OS as long as it works... I would use it more. Right now it has been used as a paper weight...
  • Windows 10 S isn't bad because you're not locked into being stuck with Windows 10 S. Yeah, I'm sorry... I don't buy that logic. Being able to escape from having to use an OS is not an argument FOR that OS.
  • That's nonsense.
    Years ago, when you purchased a new car you could have an AC fitted after the fact, often options like those weren't available at the time new.
    Doesn't mean I've escaped from the original purchase, It's the same car, its just been upgraded !
    It's called value adding.
  • Hey there guys
  • SCHOOLS WHO BUY THEM FOR STUDENTS WILL LIKE THE CHEAP DEVICES THAT USE  WINDOWS 10S THEIR STUDENTS WHO USE THE WILL HAVE LESS A CHANCE OF GETTING BUGS BECAUSE ONLY VIRUS FREE APS WILL BE IN THE WINDOWS 10 STORE AND MORE AND MORE GOOD APPS WILL COME TO THE WINDOWS 10 STORE AS TIME GOES ON because Windows 10 ss onover a half Million computers of various  kinds and 90% of most new Desktop computers and Laptops sold will be running Windows 10. smart developers will not miss an oportunity to present their apps to such a large group of People. as for the Microsoft Surface laptop computer is comcerned I predict 85 to 90 percent of them will be upgraded to full Windowsv 10
  • Can Windows Central mobile app developer fix the leaking of profile photos once and for all?!
  • Both share one fatal flaw...which is exactly the only thing that they have in common: they're locked to the pile of crap that currently is the Windows Store. The only advantage for end users is that they can salvage their devices from Windows 10 S(hit) by upgrading to Pro and they couldn't salvage their RT devices. In that sense, yes, it's RT done right.
  • Is not the main point of S to improve the store over time?
  • Main point here, if Win32 programs are converted to Windows Store apps, it will work on Windows 10 S too. This was impossible for Windows RT..
  • I liked Windows RT.
  • Me too.
  • Daniel and Zac as well as the whole WC readers "A product success depends on how you market the product to end users" in this particular area MS is bad when it comes to third party stores selling W10S devices. For instance let me tell you what happens in real life Buyer: I like that laptop what's the price?
    Seller: It is $450.
    Buyer: Hmmm. What is the price of that other laptop?
    Seller: It is $550.
    Buyer: What? Specs are same even brand is same then what is the difference?
    Seller: Sir, the earlier is running W10S and latter is running W10Home.
    Buyer: What is this new W10S? What's the difference between this and normal W10 editions?
    Seller: W10S can only run store apps. W10Home can run your normal programs like photoshop, itunes, etc.
    Buyer: Okay then W10S is ****** for me. I'll buy the $550 laptop. Did you notice something? Of course you did. 1.
    Now notice the last statement of seller.
    He did not bothered to tell the buyer that it can run your normal windows 10 apps if you upgrade this to W10Pro for $49. That's where MS lags behind and apple excels. They do not monitor the efforts of the seller who are selling their products. This problem can be tackled by putting a sticker to the laptop saying"Installed with W10S. Store Certified apps. Can be upgraded to W10Pro". I know this may sound harsh against the W10S marketing but they have to do that in oder to sell those devices. Otherwise seller won't bother to tell the whole story. 2.
    Why didn't sellers tell the whole story? There are mainly 2 reasons.
    1. He don't know either about W10S. This problem can be solved if you put the sticker explaining the same. Sometimes, store hire salespersons they would also not have the problem of "not knowing" the things.
    2. He is obviously getting more revenue by making $100 more. Did you notice something else? If the buyer have known that W10S can be upgraded to W10Pro for only $49 then he would have bought the $450 laptop definitely. Because he know the maths. He could have the same device for $450+$49= $499 with Window 10 Pro instead of getting inferior windows 10 home plus saving $50.
    3. For seller windows 10 home user is a potential customer them. He/she may come to buy the windows 10 pro in future. I know probablity is low but still seller won't let go that 1 out of 100. I think now you all get the fair idea what really happens in the market. It is a shame that any of the WC writers are not writing these above factors that I've written or failed to notice the real reason for not selling more W10S devices in the future. I request to all WC writers that please research a bit in the open market. I know you guys are techie who only buys the devices from their respective brand stores. Instead of writing the same article praising W10S again and again. Write the reasons why it won't sell and why it will sell. You only addressing the latter in your articles. Write this! May be someone in MS get to know about this indirectly☺. Please don't be offended. I'm just criticising a little bit. And criticisism is necessary for improvement. I still love this site and all the writers work. Have a good day.☺
  • One fatal flaw.  You CAN run photoshop and itunes on the 10S device.  Adobe elements and itunes are windows store apps!  OMG!  Full blown photoshop is not......YET.   But elements is there so ....try agian.
  • I just gave the example. Keep in mind Adobe has the same arogancy as google and apple. They don't care about windows platform as long as it has very less no of users. MS has said you can developers can submit their win32 app in the .appxbundle wrapper without changing a single line of code, can be done with few days of hard work but still dev are not interested despite the fact that 50% don't purchase their products they just head to torrent and download the programs. Windows store gives them that money protection because you just can't hack or crack those apps because you can't even download without paying. If those developers get on board doesn't matter if they just post their win32 apps in the store without doing anything. Windows10 S will be a success. But if dev are still not interested then it would hurt MS money because if they are not successful in telling the difference between windows 10S and other versions then it would be totall loss. Because people are just gonna buy Windows 10 Home or Pro. As you can notice in the above buyer and seller instance. He had a saving of $50 and still getting a W10Pro. If this could become 1 of the reasons to buy windows 10S then this reason is the most effective reason to sell W10S devices to the masses; because of this reason even tech savvy users(moderate users if not high end) will purchase a windows 10S device then upgrade to win10pro. Eventually, OEM will only make devices that come with windows 10 S. This can really streamline this version of windows. If someone just says it has windows 10 then it should be understood that ut is W10S installed.
  • I think Windows S was a good move for MS. Maybe because I understand what it is... /shrug  
  • Or, to put it more clearly, Windows 10 S *is* Windows 10 Pro. The upgrade does little more than alter done registry settings to unlock it from the Store. But getting your software from the Store has real advantages and today, no one should be looking to get their software from random web sites. Windows 10 S is a powerful, pro-level OS with all the benefits of getting its software only through the Store. There is no legitimate comparison to RT.
  • I don't know what confused people with RT did what it said on the tin and was great as a tablet and with the detachable keyboard on my Dell xps10, running office was much more useful than an ipad
  • I still have a Windows RT device at home, so.. really, I tried to love Windows RT. And I bought it in 2012 knowing very well that it could not run win 32 apps, but believing that the Windows Store would grow. It did not. The developers could not see much added value in developing apps for the windows 8 store, let alone for Windows RT. This thing is different because it runs on standard PCs, and it can be "unlocked", but this message about unlocking it is wrong. It makes you feel you are buying an inferior product. Same for the message that you can "only" run Windows Store apps. You cannot sell a product promoting what it CANNOT do! What Microsoft can and hopefully will do is sell Windows 10 S to schools, children, elders, public organizations, marketing it as "THE SAFEST" Windows. In these times of "wannacry" attacks this message is good, because it says that Windows 10 S has something MORE than Windows 10, and that is "S" for SAFETY. This is for me the only marketing strategy to make this successful.
  • People who don't need Windows 10 S can purchase different devices with different SKU's. The future of Windows 10 S and developers moving everything to the Store benefits everyone. I won't miss the frustration millions of people had after scratching CD's for software that they paid hundreds or even thousands for or because they've lost the product licenses. Apple held off as long as they could from putting iTunes in the Store but even they're scrambling after seeing the writing on the wall.
    For those that complain where this is headed, get rid of your iPhone or Android devices and ditch the chrome browser out of protest if you can't purchase physical media... The only people being threatened by the future of Windows, is the competition.
    As for not liking the article, the more articles & topics WC publishes, the more new visitors they'll attract seeking information when making new purchases and they just might stick around too.
  • Developers won't move to uwp, 30% royalties, near 0 people buying stuff from the store, and Nadella s false promises are quite a valid reason to stay MILES away.
  • Apple takes the same cut, Google store charges a little more, and what about box store markups for conventional distribution? The developer knows the Store is open 24/7, they won't have to pay to develop their own online store, they won't have wait or pay for CD/DVD's, media defects, boxing & printed materials, shipping either to or from the customer, in-store promotions, significantly reduced chance of piracy, fewer support calls for installation, and after all those potential savings, they can always bump the price if need be.
  • Is Windows 10 S available for separate download anywhere? If it's OEM only, then is it available for download on MSDN perhaps?
  • And will fail the same way. No apps, no party.
  • Is fair way of doing. Options is the way. Hw is already with the punch for help the way. Growth space after a time in HW & SW is more Kudos But never forget #worldwide #availability is a devil detail who punch in the face Microsoft often. Education is the right place to start.
  • I'm actually curious about truly free-ware applications like Foobar2000 and Calibre ebook management Im sure there are many, many others.   Is Microsoft going to charge these developers a tariff to be in the Windows store as well? Many questions....
  • Are they also going to lock this down after someone finds a way to put Linux on it when they discontinue it?  Like what Microsoft did with their RT tablets?  They said "We're not supporting the hardware with updates" so people figured out how to install Linux to use the hardware they paid for, and Microsoft then locks it down.  They could've easily allowed for someone to opt to install another OS from inside Windows if they were concerned about bootloader bypasses on encrypted drives.
  • Why do the anti-Microsoft people jump in to every Windows Central article? If you hate Microsoft, stay away - we don't need your snarky and worthless comments.
  • I'm going to get a Windows 10S device (in the mid- high- range) this coming fall.
    And it's going to be the main family computer. [ I'm a developer, and I have Win 10 Pro devices, as well as Mac Laptops ]
  • Once again Microsoft forgot to port all of its apps into store before it launched W10S. That's the same exact mistake they did with RT. How many apps does Microsoft has in it's own store? It's impossible to count cause MS Store doesn't allow you to list apps by Developer for some reason (reason being designer are sniffign their own farts so much that they forgot to check out common sense or God forbid see what other have been doing for over two decades now, like Amazon). Anyway in iTunes App store Microsoft has over 96 apps, in MS Store I've manually counted tad bit over 60 and that's with Windows 10 default preinstalled apps and useless apps like TryLumia, TryW10, Arch Mouse and Remote Desktop Preview to name some although there are some good ones like Sway and Project Siena. Developer apps are all over the place instead of being integrated within fewer packages as possible. It's like Photoshop having all of the Blur filters in separate app.
  • If Windows S is Windows RT done right, why do we need articles like this trying and failing to sell excuses to commenters? Windows S cannot survive alone, how can I create Windows S apps on Windows S? Surface devices has peaked. Microsoft has been thrown out of the US schools in no time. Official support for Android development is coming to Chrome OS, Android is going to isolate OEMs in the hardware support layer, new Google OSes are under development, new iPad killed all hopes for profit in the tablet wannabe space, Macs are growing in the falling market despite insane prices and gimmicky features. Microsoft has to act before Windows S is ready for action.