Windows 10 S is tied to Edge and Bing

We wrote yesterday about Windows 10 S, the new version of Windows 10 that limits users to installing applications from the Windows Store. As it turns out, Microsoft's published a Windows 10 S FAQ that revealed the new OS will have a couple more relevant restrictions. Users will not be able to select a default web browser other than Microsoft Edge, and they can't change the default search provider away from Bing. Windows 10 S was ostensibly developed for use on PCs used in the education sector, but it's also the default operating system on Microsoft's MacBook-fighting Surface Laptop.

Windows 10 S isn't Microsoft's first aggressive push towards having users embrace its browser and search provider. Windows 8.1 with Bing offered vendors of low-cost PCs a reduced-price copy of the operating system in exchange for pushing its search service. In that OS, users could still change their search provider. More recently, Windows 10 uses Edge and Bing as the defaults, often resetting users' customized settings after major OS updates like the recent Creators Update. Edge is a major step up from Microsoft's previous web browser efforts, though, and many users won't have a problem with it. Still, users who like browser extensions probably don't pick Edge as their first choice, given the grand total of 31 extant Edge extensions.

Not letting users customize their search preferences is likely more concerning. In my personal experience, Bing's results for technical and troubleshooting information are markedly inferior to those provided by industry leader Google. Microsoft's strong-arm tactics in the browser and search arenas aren't unique, though. Users are stuck with Google as the default search provider on the company's Android and Chrome OS operating systems. Apple limits iOS users default browser choice to its own Safari, too.

Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are just two examples of popular PC applications that aren't available at the Windows Store, so it's not a surprise that the pair of popular browsers can't be used on Windows 10 S. An app called "Get Opera browser" is available there, but it's little more than a link to download the normal Win32 version from Opera's website. However, denying users the ability to select a non-Microsoft browser as the default seems unlikely to encourage third-party developers to fill some of the large holes in the Windows Store's offerings.

The good news is that end-users bothered by these limitations can upgrade from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro for a reasonable $50—half of the sum needed to upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Pro. Educational users can do it for free, too, and professional Surface Laptop owners also get a free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro until the end of the year. Gerbils looking to know more can look to the Windows 10 S FAQ for more details.

Comments closed
    • jokinin
    • 3 years ago

    No, thank you. I hope the EU doesn’t let this happen in Europe.

    • JalaleenRumi
    • 3 years ago

    Once at work, our Network admin locked the background wallpaper on all the systems and we couldn’t change it no matter what we did. Though I liked the background wallpaper he had set, but the fact that I couldn’t change it caused me such frustration that I couldn’t focus.

    After searching the internet for a couple of hours and trying multiple hacks to get rid of the wallpaper, I told my boss and he just shrugged and said, “What about it?” Nah, he was no help.

    So finally, I wrote a huge email to the Network Admin demanding that he show me in the contract or the company policy where it was written that we couldn’t change the background wallpaper on our systems. I also described how it was affecting my work and that I couldn’t focus knowing that I have no control our my own damn background wallpaper. I put all my frustration into that email.

    So I half an hour later, I get a simple replay, “Now check” or something similar. And Voila, I could once more change it. Once again I was back to being me as that lock-down made me think I had lost my identity.

    I am just saying that this locking to Edge and then Bing is a big NO NO for me.

    • BorgOvermind
    • 3 years ago

    Many updates were resetting default browser to edge.

    • Coran Fixx
    • 3 years ago

    All your options are belong to us

    • NovusBogus
    • 3 years ago

    …they really didn’t learn much from Windows 8, did they?

      • One Sick Puppy
      • 3 years ago

      Seems to me they didn’t learn much from Windows 7 Starter. I’ll be surprised if this doesn’t turn out as big a flop as Windows RT and Windows 7 Starter. Junk. Microsoft is so hit or miss. They’re always swinging but it seems they have no idea who they’re aiming at.

    • Laykun
    • 3 years ago

    EU, they are doing it again, can you do something about it?

    • albundy
    • 3 years ago

    thats fine. they can push customers away all they want. i’m just hoping game devs read this as a reason to push away from directx. its time for a better OS and a better api.

    • EndlessWaves
    • 3 years ago

    These seem fairly minor changes for an sponsored edition to me. Sure, a macbook with education discount doesn’t impose any extra limits, but Mac OS/iOS already requires you to use Apple services or hardware for certain things.

    It does seem a bit odd to offer it as standard on a £980 laptop though, it’d be interesting to hear Microsoft’s reasoning there.

      • Ninjitsu
      • 3 years ago

      reasoning is $$$

    • psuedonymous
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are just two examples of popular PC applications that aren't available at the Windows Store, so it's not a surprise that the pair of popular browsers can't be used on Windows 10 S. An app called "Get Opera browser" is available there, but it's little more than a link to download the normal Win32 version from Opera's website. However, denying users the ability to select a non-Microsoft browser as the default seems unlikely to encourage third-party developers to fill some of the large holes in the Windows Store's offerings..[/quote<] Is there anything to actually point the finger at Microsoft for actively blocking other browser vendors, or have Google and Mozilla simply not bothered to make a build using Desktop Bridge? It's not as if Microsoft can force them to do so. ::EDIT:: Herp, brain skipped over the word 'default'.

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    Ignoring the blatant land-grab that is legally-dubious for anti-competitive reasons, I occasionally use Bing just to see if it’s improved enough to be actually useful.

    Still disappoints, every single time. I don’t think I can put up with it for more than two or three searches before I realise that it’s just not giving me decent results.

    • NTMBK
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]The good news is that end-users bothered by these limitations can upgrade from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro for a reasonable $50[/quote<] Sure, it will start reasonable, like how Office 365 was not going to replace traditional Office. But that price difference keeps creeping up, and you get less and less for your money. Office 2010 used to allow installs on up to 3 machines simultaneously, now you only get 1... Unless you get a 365 subscription. This is the thin end of the wedge.

      • curtisb
      • 3 years ago

      Using Office is a bad comparison. An Office 365 subscription is [b<]MUCH[/b<] less than purchasing Office every few years was. And you can still install the full desktop versions. $99/year to install on five devices is very reasonable.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 3 years ago

        I can’t visualize in what circumstance I would want office on 5 devices.

          • curtisb
          • 3 years ago

          I can. I have a family of five. You can share the subscription with up to four other people, or use them all yourself. I mean, one person could have a desktop, smartphone, tablet, and laptop. We actually have more than five devices so we have to pick which ones to enable the full Office experience on.

        • NTMBK
        • 3 years ago

        I tend to keep my systems around for a long time, as do most people. My last desktop was purchased back in 2009/2010, and lasted until January of this year. I would have spent £480 on Office 365 subscriptions in that time.

        When I got my new PC, I went and bought a boxed copy of Office 2010 off Amazon for £95, and I installed it on both my new desktop and my parents’ new laptop. For slightly over the price of [b<]one year's[/b<] subscription, we've got Office for the entire lifetime of those machines... and I still have one install left, in case I need it on any other system.

          • curtisb
          • 3 years ago

          The version you purchased only included some of the Office applications. The full Professional version cost at least three times that. The subscription you get with Office 365 includes the same apps as Professional Plus, which has Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, Publisher, OneNote, and Outlook. There have been two major releases since Office 2010…an Office 365 subscription includes all upgrades. Not to mention 1TB of OneDrive space, 60 Skype minutes/month, Docs.com, access to Office Online, and a whole list of other services. There is value in the subscription over and above just purchasing the desktop version, which, again, is included with the subscription with free upgrades.

    • PrincipalSkinner
    • 3 years ago

    Windows S – where S stands for Stinker.

    • slowriot
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]The good news is that end-users bothered by these limitations can upgrade from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro for a reasonable $50—half of the sum needed to upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Pro. [/quote<] That's the good news? Were $50 of savings passed on to consumers in the Surface Laptop price? Just seems to me Microsoft found a "clever" way to tack on $50 to the SL's price because now it's shipped with such a severely limited version of Windows most buyers will find it mandatory to pay that $50 fee.

      • LostCat
      • 3 years ago

      Surface Laptop has the Pro upgrade free until the end of the year.

    • tsk
    • 3 years ago

    Okay I can maybe kinda see their reasoning for locking it to Edge even though it’s a stretch to the sun and back, but locking the default search engine to bing, I’d like to see their reasoning for that.

      • willmore
      • 3 years ago

      Cash.

      • jihadjoe
      • 3 years ago

      Because the internet is for porn.

    • Yan
    • 3 years ago

    Microsoft is making it really easy for me to decide to stay with Windows 7.

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    Apparently nuking Windows S from orbit (just to be sure) and installing Linux is also a no-cost option.

      • Firestarter
      • 3 years ago

      that’s what I did with my Chromebox from the get-go, it’s a nice way to get cheap hardware

      • whm1974
      • 3 years ago

      The only reason I would buy a Windows 10 notebook is cheap hardware to install Linux on.

    • TwistedKestrel
    • 3 years ago

    I honestly can’t see how this is supposed to appeal to any kind of normal consumer. A blind description of the OS would lead me to expect that it would be [i<]free,[/i<] and Windows 10 has already outsourced hardware validation to you on top of that. I can already see the irate/confused buyers of Surface Laptops being surprised with these limitations. And just, ugh. Locking people into Bing? If I ever have to touch one of these I expect it to be enraging

      • Anovoca
      • 3 years ago

      I don’t think these are being marketed towards normal consumer markets though. It is more likely that these will be purchased by educational systems and leased to students who aren’t going to have really any expectations outside of a unit to do homework on. It is not all together unexplainable why they would lock people to Bing. If they are looking to introduce these into a market dominated by chromebooks, (in their minds) they don’t want to offer up a cheaper device just to have people use their competitors software.

      The nice advantage of these over chromebooks, however, is that at the end of a students 4 year term, he/she can pay they $50 to unlock it and have an entry level laptop to take to college that they can then install chrome or whatever they want on. As someone who has spent time working in an educational system with a laptop leasing program, I can say that while a chromebook leasing program is nice on the surface, most of those students find the chromebooks lacking pretty quickly at the college level and end up buy a laptop anyways.

        • NTMBK
        • 3 years ago

        Their flagship product for this is a $1000 laptop aimed squarely at the Macbook Air, and the normal consumer markets. I don’t buy that this is going to remain an “education only” OS.

          • curtisb
          • 3 years ago

          You should walk around a college campus and see how many MacBooks there are. It’s free for students to unlock Windows 10 Pro. They know what they’re targeting.

          And to be fair, I do see a growing number of Surface Pro devices.

          • Anovoca
          • 3 years ago

          Not really sure where you read “education only” from anyone’s statement on this product. I merely stated that educational systems would be the primary target for these products and likely will end up being the primary consumers. As to the Surface book, I have no idea what MS is trying to do there. There are so many questionable decisions being made around that product I don’t know where to begin. But I would hesitate to call that device the flagship of anything and wouldn’t marry the fate Windows S to the surfacebook lineup. You are more than likely going to find windows 10 s being a big seller on 7″-10″ tablets and 13″ netbooks, similar to where they tried to let Windows 8 RT make a foothold.

    • Redocbew
    • 3 years ago

    Obligatory:

    [url<]https://xkcd.com/1118/[/url<]

      • Laykun
      • 3 years ago

      Windows 10 $

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