Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled two brand new products, including a new operating system and a brand new computer to go along with it. Windows 10 S targets students and teachers, and the Surface Laptop is Microsoft’s alternative to Apple’s MacBook Air and Google’s cheap Chromebooks, which will run the new Windows 10 fork out of the box.
Microsoft explained the main features of Windows 10 S during its keynote but left out several details that users should know about before buying their first Windows 10 S computers.
First of all, owning a Windows 10 S license doesn’t mean you also get a full Windows 10 Pro license — there is one exception for that, and we’ll address it below. So if you want to be able to switch between Windows 10 S and Windows 10 Pro, you’ll need to pay $50. It’s not a bad deal, but it’s something you need to know before your buy your next Windows machine.
The exception covers Surface Laptop owners. If you buy a Surface Laptop for $999, you’ll be able to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free this year.
But why would you possibly want Windows 10 Pro on your Windows 10 S machine? Well, you see, Microsoft decided that Windows 10 S will only run Windows Store-certified apps. That means you won’t be able to install any third-party apps on your Windows 10 S desktop that do not have Windows Store versions. Microsoft made that perfectly clear during the presentation.
What Microsoft didn’t explain that clearly is that Microsoft Edge will be the default browser on Windows 10 S, and you won’t be able to install Google’s Chrome browser, which just happens to be the most popular Windows browser out there. Even if Google brings the Chrome browser to the Windows Store, Edge will still remain the default choice. That means all links will open in Edge, regardless of what other browsers you may have installed.
Similarly, you won’t be able to change the default search engine on Windows 10 S. That means you’ll be Googling with Bing while you’re inside Windows 10 S, rather than, well, Google. Google, meanwhile, has Chrome as the default browser on Chromebooks, but you can change the search engine to whatever you want.
If you do upgrade to Windows 10 Pro, then you’ll be able to do whatever you want to your computer. The entire Windows experience, however, might not be as stellar as Microsoft made it look during the presentation if you want the many benefits of Windows 10 S, but also need to run specific apps on your machine.