We quite like the idea of Windows 10 S, being a lighter weight variant of Windows 10 that pretty much strips things back for the sake of performance.
There’s the ability to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro, for one, as well as fast bootups. But otherwise, Windows 10 S does have more than its fair share of downsides so far.
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No legacy apps
This is a big one, as many people use Windows for the legacy apps, obviously. So we’re a little disappointed to see this option missing here.
Does that mean it’s Windows RT then? Not quite. Because Windows 10 S users can still upgrade to Windows 10 Pro and get legacy programs. So don’t buy a Windows 10 S device and expect Media Player Classic, GIMP and other apps to run out of the box.
You can only use Microsoft Edge
A bigger issue might be the fact that Microsoft Edge is the default browser on Windows 10 S. Or rather, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and other desktop browsers don’t run on Windows 10 S.
Microsoft says any web browser in the Windows Store can run on Windows 10 S, but it remains to be seen whether Google and Mozilla will create Windows universal apps for this purpose.
Bing is the only search provider in your browser
In a rather anti-competitive move, at the very least, Microsoft also confirmed on its website that Bing will be the only search provider in Edge and Internet Explorer.
In other words, those who would prefer to use Google or even DuckDuckGo in their browser are out of luck. You’d think that Microsoft would at least acquiesce in this department…
Got accessories? They might not work
Windows 10 S is essentially Windows with the legacy guts ripped out. So Microsoft has explained that “some accessories and apps compatible with Windows 10 may not work”.
In other words, if you’ve got special hardware or other gadgets that work with Windows 10, well, you might be out of luck. In fact, it seems like your iPhone won’t work as well either, as you can’t download iTunes to Windows 10 S.
Want gaming? This isn’t for you
Microsoft has slowly been making progress in bringing its first-party titles to the Windows Store. But again, it’s not nearly enough, as there are tons of games not available on the Windows Store and only available via Steam, GoG and other services.
Heck, even when compared to Android and iOS, Microsoft’s Windows Store is badly lagging behind. Generally speaking, you’ll find big games come to those two stores first (or only, in most cases). Could we see Android app emulation come to Windows 10 S? Well, if it’s anything like the Windows 10 Mobile debacle, expect Microsoft to want to appease the few Windows-only developers.