Category Archives: windows 10 s

Windows 10 S‘ security brought down by, of course, Word macros

Enlarge / The Windows 10 S default wallpaper is a rather attractive simplified version of the Windows 10 default wallpaper. (credit: Microsoft)

The major premise justifying Windows 10 S, the new variant of Windows 10 that can only install and run applications from the Windows Store, is that by enforcing such a restriction, Windows 10 S can—like iOS and Chrome OS—offer greater robustness and consistency than regular Windows. For example, as Microsoft has recently written, apps from the Windows Store can't include unwanted malicious software within their installers, eliminating the bundled spyware that has been a regular part of the Windows software ecosystem.

If Windows 10 S can indeed provide much stronger protection against bad actors—both external ones trying to hack and compromise PCs and internal ones, such as schoolkids—then its restrictions represent a reasonable trade-off. The downside is that you can't run arbitrary Windows software; the upside is that you can't run arbitrary Windows malware. That might not be the right trade-off for every Windows user, but it's almost surely the right one for some.

But if that protection is flawed—if the bad guys can somehow circumvent it—then the value of Windows 10 S is substantially undermined. The downside for typical users will remain, as there still won't be any easy and straightforward way to install and run arbitrary Windows software. But the upside, the protection against malware, will evaporate.

Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Windows 10 and 10 S options are coming for the Surface Laptop and Surface Pro

 Three weeks to the day after launching the Surface Laptop, Microsoft is back with the latest version of its laptop replacement, the Surface Pro. The company says it eliminated the numbering scheme to streamline things — but sometimes simplification has the exact opposite effect. Things are kind of confusing here, for a number of reasons. Read More

Windows 10 S: no command line apps, free Pro upgrades for assistive tech users

Enlarge / The Windows 10 S default wallpaper is a rather attractive simplified version of the Windows 10 default wallpaper. (credit: Microsoft)

While still not out yet, we're learning a little more about what Windows 10 S, the imminent version of Windows 10 that'll run Store apps but nothing more, will and won't be able to do.

First, a thing 10 S won't do: run command-line applications. CMD and PowerShell, the two built-in Windows command-line interfaces, won't be supported. Neither will the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) that allows the use of Linux software on Windows. The rationale is that the built-in command-line applications include dangerous tools (for example, the diskpart partitioning program) that can break things, and the Store has no third-party command-line tools at all. To keep Windows 10 S protected against user error, they're all prohibited.

Oddly, at Microsoft's Windows 10 S launch event, I was successfully able to run both CMD and PowerShell on a number of the Windows 10 S machines that were on display. Although the obvious ways of launching these things were removed (no entry in the Start menu or the Win-X menu, for example), the programs themselves did run. Leaked builds of Windows 10 S do appear to properly prevent their execution.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Windows 10 S forces you to use Edge and Bing

Enlarge (credit: Tim Sweeney)

Windows 10 S, Microsoft's new locked-down operating system that comes bundled with the Surface Laptop, won't allow you to change the default Web browser away from Microsoft's own Edge. Furthermore, Edge's default search provider can't be altered: Bing is all you get.

Curiously you can download other browsers from the Windows Store, such as Opera Mini, but Windows 10 S won't let you set it as the default browser: if you try to open an HTML file, or click a link in another app, it will always open in Edge, according to Microsoft's official FAQ on the topic.

The FAQ uses very direct language: "Microsoft Edge is the default web browser on Microsoft 10 S. The default search provider in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer cannot be changed." It isn't clear if OEMs will be able to override this feature of Windows 10 S.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Microsoft needs to open up Windows 10 S if it wants to find success outside the classroom

 At first glance, Windows 10 S makes perfect sense. It’s a lightweight, stripped-down version of Microsoft’s operating system designed to avoid taxing low-cost hardware. That makes it a good fit for schools, with laptops running the software priced as low as $189. But the most remarkable thing about the operating system in its current form may be its reliance on the Windows Store. Read More

You’ll be able to upgrade any Windows 10 S device to Windows 10 Pro

 Microsoft just unveiled a new operating system — Windows 10 S. This secured and streamlined operating system is perfect for the education market. But Microsoft is also going to ship Windows 10 S on its perfectly capable Surface Laptop. During the press conference, the company has compared the new $999 laptop with various MacBooks, making it even more puzzling that it opted for a… Read More

Microsoft’s new education push plays to its strengths, the cheap and familiar

 Microsoft never mentioned Chromebook by name, but it’s clear that Google’s browser-based hardware offering was at the front of everyone’s mind at today’s education event in New York City. The company has managed to control much of the market internally, but the Chromebook has swiftly eroded marketshare here in the States. Microsoft’s solution is playing into… Read More

Microsoft’s killer feature for its Chromebook competitor is Office

 Microsoft just unveiled a new operating system at a press event this morning. Windows 10 S is a streamlined and more secure version of Windows 10. But it still looks and feels like a normal PC. And it runs essential apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint. While I haven’t used Office apps for years, I spent most of my days using them back when I was in a student. I used Word to write… Read More

Windows 10 S laptops will start at $189 and ship this summer

 Microsoft’s answer to Chrome OS is called Windows 10 S. This new operating system is a streamlined and secured version of Windows 10. It runs sandboxed apps and doesn’t require expensive hardware. And this is where Microsoft shines as it can talk with all major PC OEMs to convince them to build Windows 10 S devices. The company announced that Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Samsung… Read More

Windows 10 S will fuel Microsoft’s Chromebook competitors

 At an event today in New York, Microsoft unveiled its plan to recapture the classroom market share the company has steadily lost to Google’s Chromebook here in the States. Windows 10 S is a streamlined version of the software, designed to cut out some of the fat of the company’s popular ecosystem, in order to offer a more focused computing experience in the classroom. The… Read More