Microsoft declares war on Chromebooks with education-focused Windows 10 S

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Windows 10 is a great operating system. Despite some vocal detractors, many people enjoy it every day for home, school and work. It is for this reason that Microsoft's overall Windows marketshare is the majority by far -- macOS and Linux-based operating systems are largely insignificant.

In the education segment, however, Google has been having some success with its Linux-based Chromebooks. Microsoft seems unhappy with the search giant taking some of its share of the pie. Today, in response to Google's Chrome OS, Microsoft launches a new operating system -- Windows 10 S. The mantra for this OS, as per Microsoft, is "simplify to magnify."

Now, the OS isn't entirely new -- it is a tweaked version of the traditional Windows 10 that offers a faster first-time login experience. What makes it special is what it doesn't do by default -- run traditional Windows programs. Instead, it is designed to only run apps from the Windows Store. This is for security reasons, as it prevents students from installing malicious software. If a traditional program is needed, however, a teacher or other administrator can enable it.

The really exciting aspect of the operating system is not what it can do for students, but for teachers and administrators. You see, they can create a flash drive to customize the Windows 10 S experience for their students. Then, by inserting the stick for about 30 seconds, the operating system will be set up as designed -- with specific apps. This will make setting up computers in a school district a much faster affair.

While there will be computers sold with Windows 10 S pre-loaded (starting at $189), the operating system can run on any Windows 10 compatible PC. In fact, if a school district already has computers running Windows 10 Pro, they can convert to Windows 10 S for free. If you are concerned about hardware compatibility, don't -- all of your peripherals that work with Windows 10 will also work with the "S" variant of the OS.

"Free" is a big part of Windows 10 S. The operating system will enable schools to get Minecraft Education Edition at no cost for the first year. They also get Office 365 for free -- an insane value that makes Chromebooks a questionable investment in comparison.

Do you think Windows 10 S will give Chromebooks competition? Tell me in the comments.

Photo Credit: Syda Productions /Shutterstock

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