Editor's Note: Microsoft will make 10 S a mode you can select in regular windows going forward, instead of having a fully separate operating system.
If the release of Windows 10 S and the beautifully elegant Microsoft Surface Laptop has you thinking about replacing your current Chromebook with a Windows machine, you're not alone. But before you do, it's important to understand the differences between the operating systems and how making the change could affect your day-to-day business.
The first thing you should know is that Windows 10 S was designed with the classroom in mind. Since Windows 10 S is a lightweight OS made for an educational setting, there are some limitations that are great for teachers and educational administrators, but not ideal for entrepreneurs.
If you purchase a laptop that runs Windows 10 S, you'll only be able to download apps through the Windows Store. There are far more apps available in Google's Play Store (including Android apps), which will be available on all Chromebooks soon, than there are in the Windows Store (which doesn't even carry Spotify yet, but reportedly will by this summer).
For schools, only being able to download a limited selection of apps from the Windows Store is a bonus because it adds an extra level of control and security. This may be true at some businesses as well. It stops students or employees from downloading unapproved games, malware and other inappropriate content.
In fact, on Windows 10 S laptops, you can only download certain types of apps, so if you buy a laptop that runs 10 S, you won't even have access to the entire library normally offered in the Windows Store. Since Chromebooks are built for the general consumer, there aren't any limitations on the types of apps you can view or download.
During the release of the new $999 Surface Laptop, which runs on Windows 10 S, Microsoft was careful to point out that consumers can still access and download Windows 10 Pro from the Windows Store, and that if they do that, the laptop will function without limits. In other words, you'll have unrestricted access to download whatever you want. Even better, upgrading to Windows 10 Pro is free through March 31, 2018. Note: Originally, Microsoft had said it would only leave the free upgrade option available until the end of 2017. Now, after March, it will cost $49 to upgrade.
Microsoft also announced that other computer makers, including Acer, ASUS, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Samsung and Toshiba, would be making Windows 10 S systems too. Those models will start as low as $189.
The new Windows 10 S looks like a fantastic option for college students and schools, but it's likely too restrictive for most entrepreneurs. If you decide to buy the new Surface laptop, you should opt for the Windows 10 Pro upgrade while it’s still free.