After a long period of silence, Microsoft finally unveiled Windows 10 S – an OS that’s specifically designed for the classroom environment. Windows 10 S is the toned down version of the Redmond giant’s flagship Windows 10 OS. The new OS, according to Microsoft, has been streamlined for simplicity, is secure and runs with superior performance. To go with the new OS, Microsoft also unveiled Surface Laptop. The Surface Laptop can only run apps downloaded from the Windows Store and is fully compatible with Windows 10 S. Looks like there’s more bad news when it comes to Windows 10 S. Read on!

Windows 10 S cannot run Linux Distros available on Windows Store

Microsoft recently announced that some Linux distros will be available on the Windows Store very soon. But after the announcement, it wasn’t very clear if users would be able to install them alongside Windows 10 S. Several users began to ask if they will be able to run Linux distros on Windows 10 S. In a recent blog post, Microsoft’s Rich Turner has cleared the confusion and provided a definitive answer. And the answer is – NO!

The blog post goes on to mention that just because an “app” comes from the Windows Store does NOT automatically mean it’s safe and suitable for running in Windows 10 S. Some apps are explicitly forbidden from running on Windows 10 S, including all command-line apps, shells, and Consoles.

“Windows 10 S is primarily aimed at non-technical users – teachers & grade-school children, non-technical students, content creators, artists, etc. – people who don’t typically want to spend time & effort futzing with their PC – people who just expect their computer to work safely, quickly, reliably and efficiently.”

Microsoft claims that to deliver the secure experience, Windows 10 S users can only install apps from the Windows Store. The post also makes it clear that Windows 10 S is not well-suited for many app developers/hackers, admins and IT pro’s! App developers will often need to use tools that have access to low-level features of the local machine and admins & IT Pro’s need to write and run scripts and tools that deploy apps, configure users’ accounts, modify security settings etc. These needs, according to Microsoft, aren’t met by Windows 10 S – an OS that has been deliberately constrained to prevent these types of apps and tasks from running.

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However, in spite of these limitations, Windows 10 S can be used to build code that runs elsewhere – on the web, on IoT devices, on a remote VM via ssh etc. Specifically, Windows 10 S does not run command-line applications, nor the Windows Console, Cmd / PowerShell, or Linux/Bash/WSL instances since command-line apps run outside of the safe environment that protects Windows 10 S from malicious/misbehaving software.

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