By continuing to use the site or forum, you agree to the use of cookies, find out more by reading our GDPR policy

The Store-only version of Windows becomes an installation option instead. With the next big update to Windows 10, version 1803, Microsoft is making some big changes to how it sells the software to OEMs. The biggest casualty? Windows 10 S—the restricted version of Windows that can only run apps from the Store—is going away. Currently, Windows 10 S is a unique edition of Windows 10. It's based on Windows 10 Pro; Windows 10 Pro has various facilities that enable system administrators to restrict which software can be run, and Windows 10 S is essentially a preconfigured version of those facilities. In addition to locking out arbitrary downloaded programs, it also prevents the use of certain built-in Windows features such as the command-line, PowerShell, and Windows Subsystem for Linux. For those who can't abide by the constraints that S imposes, you can upgrade 10 S to the full 10 Pro. This upgrade is a one-shot deal: there's no way of re-enabling the S limitations after upgrading to Pro. It's also a paid upgrade: while Microsoft offered it as a free upgrade for a limited time for its Surface Laptop, the regular price is $49. When announcing Windows 10 S, Microsoft expressed the hope that other premium devices would ship with the version. This doesn't appear to have happened; aside from Surface Laptop, the other Windows 10 S devices are all low-end, aimed at education markets.

Microsoft’s long-rumored foldable Andromeda (also referred to as Surface Phone) is launching later this year but it appears that it won’t have Polaris (CShell) version 2 or support for Win32 applications initially. A new report also claims that Microsoft’s ultimate mobile device could launch as soon as this year, and it will be powered by Windows Core OS with Andromeda Shell. While Andromeda CShell is mobile-focused, Polaris is a CShell for the desktop that would run on top of the Windows Core OS to deliver the best experience on large screen size devices. Polaris is reportedly arriving next year, while Windows Core OS with Andromeda will be unveiled later this year. Microsoft is designing Windows Core OS for desktop without the legacy Windows elements and applications, in other words, the operating system will be limited to Microsoft Store, just like Windows 10 OS but in a much better way. Polaris will compete with Chromebook as the devices powered by Polaris Shell will be lightweight, secure and faster than the traditional Windows 10 laptops. While Polaris won’t support Win32 applications natively, Microsoft is exploring new ways to emulate the legacy applications to fill the app gap. Microsoft is also working on adding support for Polaris to the foldable mobile device, and this will make the foldable device, even more, advance, lightweight and faster without Win32 legacy codes.

Maybe by next year, new consumer-focused PCs, desktops, and 2-in-1s could arrive with a lightweight version of Windows 10. No, it doesn’t have any links to the existing Windows 10 S – a spinoff of the Windows 10 Pro. According to a Windows Central report, Microsoft is working on a lightweight version of Windows 10 called ‘Polaris’. The new modular operating system will be powered by Windows Core OS and CShell. We have told you in earlier reports, Microsoft is making a similar attempt for mobile devices in the form of Andromeda 16:07:22OS. The modular operating system is being built from scratch for a rumored foldable Surface device. Polaris will only use UWP, ditching the legacy components such as Win32. Doing so would allow Redmond to reduce the size of the OS, improve performance, beef up security, and extend battery life. Stripping off the legacy stuff will leave the OS incapable of running the desktop apps natively. While even Windows 10 S can’t do so directly, it supports desktop apps on Microsoft Store, made compatible with the help of Project Centennial. For Polaris, Microsoft would try running Win32 apps via remote virtualization, similar to what is done in the case of HP Elite x3, but with containers to provide a “native” experience. When looking at the recent reports, all the enhancements Microsoft has been implementing in Windows 10 can be seen as a vision for a unified version of their OS in the upcoming future.