Microsoft recently introduced a new version of Windows 10—the Windows 10 S. It’s, essentially, the company’s official contender against the Chrome OS. While it shows a lot of promise at first glance, it does have glaring limitations. One particular drawback many users will find annoying is the fact that the newest Windows operating system doesn’t allow you to use any of the top browsers (e.g. Firefox, Chrome, etc.)
A Close Look at Windows 10 S
The Redmond-based company may have observed the steady rise of the Chrome OS and, by extension, Chromebooks within the country’s education sector. To be able to compete in such a promising market, it recently introduced a new, stripped version of Windows 10.
Windows 10 S is a simplified Windows that can run even on low-end hardware. It’s designed with schools in mind as it severely limits the kind of apps users can install on a machine running the OS. It also gives an IT administrator extensive control over the system. It doesn’t let kids install any unnecessary programs without permission from a system administrator.
These aren’t the only things limited on the operating system, though. “Everything that runs on Windows 10 S is downloaded from the Windows Store,” Windows chief, Terry Myerson, reveals. Desktop apps won’t readily run on the OS unless they’ve been specially packaged and listed in Microsoft’s exclusive app store.
OS Exclusively Endorsing Microsoft Edge?
Because Chrome (and every major Internet browser at the moment) utilizes underlying code that doesn’t use those engines, users may be stuck with Microsoft’s own Edge browser on Windows 10 S. Luckily, Windows 10 S FAQs note that you may download alternative browsers from the Windows Store. At the moment, though, the alternatives are few and far between.
To be fair, though, Microsoft Edge isn’t too shabby for a browser. It boasts of a clean UI and runs just as fast as the best Internet browsers today. Plus, it runs really well on Windows systems. Simply put, browsing on Edge in Windows 10 S saves you more battery life and guarantees better software performance/speed.
Windows 10 S Locks You Up Unnecessarily
A glaring feature on the new OS that raised quite a few eyebrows is the fact that it forces users to use Edge and Bing by default. It doesn’t only keep Edge as its default Web browser, it also won’t let you change Bing as the default search provider. Looks like Windows 10 S may be forcing users to wholly embrace Microsoft’s ecosystem.
Microsoft argues that these measures are all about keeping system process and apps under control. Doing so translates into better battery life and performance for notebooks running on the newest Windows. They probably didn’t take into account the fact that other browsers are evolving as we speak. In fact, Chrome 57 has been designed to extend your laptop battery’s life.
Alternative Browsers on Windows 10 S
Let’s say you’ve already invested in the Windows 10 S-powered Surface Laptop, but you’re still wrapping your head around the thought of working solely with Microsoft Edge.
In that case, let’s take a peek at the few alternative Web browsers available on the Windows Store.
UC BrowserHD (Free)
Among the best browsers for Windows Phone, this app surprisingly gets a lot of regular updates. Security may not be much of a problem with the UC Browser. It offers several functionalities (not to mention, browser skins) that are packed in a good interface, which makes it even more attractive.
Looking for a great, out-of-the-box browsing experience on Windows 10 S? Perhaps this user-friendly and well-performing Internet browser may be suited for you. The Maxthon browser even comes with built-in security features and high-speed browsing for a carefree Web surfing every time.
You’ll like that Opera can help you save data consumption, often translating into cheaper and faster Internet connection. Plus, it’s available across multiple platforms, too. Opera, indeed, is among the most well-known browsers in the field. Among the things that make it famous? Its built-in security and data privacy feature, which often ensures that you can browse the web anonymously and securely.
If you find yourself wishing for better browsers and app options, Microsoft emphasizes that you have the option to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. The latter offers a traditional and a more open app experience, after all. This means you can use any browser or program you like after the upgrade. This should take you back $49, but not everyone will be required to pay.
Because there are many fishy apps out there and Internet security isn’t always guaranteed, Microsoft introduced a safe, lightweight version of Windows. Windows 10, no doubt, has been streamlined with security in mind. It achieves this by limiting users to download apps only from the Windows Store.
Hopefully, more developers will collaborate with Microsoft to populate the Windows Store soon.