Last May, Microsoft both disappointed power users but also pleased the education sector with its announcement of Windows 10 S. This version of Windows 10 has been locked down for school use and designed to run even on low-powered notebooks. Three months later, Microsoft is finally making such devices available for both academic institutions and consumers to buy. But if you’re just curious to see if Windows 10 S is even worth its salt, you can do install it on your existing Windows 10 Pro system as well.
Initially thought of as a “cloud” version, Windows 10 S does resemble that other “cloud” OS that was also intended for more restricted use, Google’s Chrome OS. Windows 10 S offers system administrators more control over what does and does not work on devices running it, at the cost of not being able to install any software outside of the Windows Store.
This locked down and streamlined configuration is what makes Windows 10 S potentially appealing in educational scenarios. And even if the Surface Laptop, its poster boy device, is anything but affordable, the rest of the Windows 10 S fleet now available for purchase could perhaps be described as the new breed of “netbooks”, most of them powered by Intel Celeron processors and carrying price tags of less than $300, with some exception of course.
If you do have existing Windows 10 computers lying around that you want to “upgrade” to Windows 10 S, you can actually do so. Provided they have valid Windows licenses, of course.. Microsoft has just released a tool that would let you test Windows 10 S to see if it will even be compatible with your hardware or if it will satisfy the needs of the school.
That said, this Windows 10 S “trial” has a list of caveats and warnings that will make you think twice, like:
• Not all hardware, especially accessories, are guaranteed to work
• Win32 (regular Windows) apps will not work and you might lose data associated with those apps.
• You have only 10 days to go back to the full Windows 10 version, provided you made a recovery drive.
If you’re really intent on taking Windows 10 S out for a spin, you can simply download the Windows 10 S installer and follow the step by step process. You can skip creating the recovery drive, but you’ll have to start from scratch if you do decide to go back to Windows 10. Not all Windows 10 editions are supported though, and the Windows 10 S installer only works with Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Pro Education, Windows 10 Education, and Windows 10 Enterprise.