We need to talk about Windows 10 S

In the past week, since the Surface Laptop got released, I keep seeing reviews directly and indirectly about Windows 10 S, and it is just painful to see how clueless these so called tech bloggers are about the topic they are writing about, so let me try to clean this mess up.

The S in Windows 10 S stands for Secure and Streamlined… among many other things

People in reviews are surprised and upset that they can’t

  • use cmd / power shell / bash
  • sideload apps
  • install 3rd part anti virus software
  • join to AD

Well, it might sound shocking, but Windows 10 S is not some kind of “intentionally inferior” system that you have to pay to upgrade to a usable version, those limitations are not there to get more money out of the customers, but to protect them.

It wouldn’t make too much sense to only allow users to download apps from the Store, but in the meanwhile give them unlimited access to the system through some command line utility. Would be pretty counterproductive.
… the same goes for sideloading apps.

The reason you can’t install 3rd party anti virus software is because you don’t need one. And it’s not because of some bullshit PR that praises the built-in Defender, but because you can’t get a virus on these computers. Applications on this OS just simply don’t have the permission to do anything harmful. Can you see AV software on Windows Mobile, iOS or Android? No, because they don’t need one, actually, they can’t have one, by design, because no application (including a potential AV app) can have the kind of rights and permissions that a traditional AV software would usually need.

And the last one: can’t join to AD… People in these articles keep talking about professionals and enterprise users and give a bad rating to Windows 10 S because of its inability to serve these scenarios. Windows 10 S is designed for students and home users, people who don’t want to care about all this crap. People who just want to use their laptop without the constant fear of getting a virus or slowing down over time or leaving something running that will drain the battery, or some thought-to-be-uninstalled applications eating up the space on the storage. These people just want something simple, secure and reliable. Something that just works without any additional effort. If you are not one of these people and you MUST have access to regrdit on a daily basis, then upgrade to Pro or Enterprise and stop whining about why you can’t have it on S.

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