Owners of Microsoft’s Surface Laptop, released in June, have a little more time to upgrade from the included Windows 10 S to the full-featured Windows 10 Pro operating system.
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In a blog post this week, Microsoft announced a three-month extension to its Windows 10 S upgrade program, initially slated to finish at the end of 2017. The new upgrade deadline, 31 March 2018, gives owners of the surprisingly staid laptop a little more time to decide which version of Windows 10 they’d like to run, be it the educator-friendly Windows 10 S or the more powerful Windows 10 Pro.
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If your current indecisiveness ends with you missing the extended deadline, you can always shell out $79 for an upgrade licence, but you should probably make a decision before then. Upgrading is easy enough, and you can downgrade back to Windows 10 S if you don’t find the Pro version to your liking.
Windows 10 S is essentially a stripped down version of the traditional Windows 10 Pro operating system, designed for low-end devices. It’s built with efficiency in mind, and features increased security for use in schools and offices. It also allows other manufacturers (such as HP with its ProBook x360) to make cheaper Windows 10 devices to compete with the growing number of Chromebooks used in schools. Unfortunately, even with its access to Microsoft’s App Store, it’s pretty restrictive.
Windows 10 S forces you to use Microsoft’s Edge browser and Bing search engine, and neither can be changed (of course, you can just make Google your homepage if you’re desperate enough). Since it can’t run traditional Windows applications, only apps found in the Windows Store, your app selection is seriously limited. Full-featured programs such as Adobe’s Creative Suite apps and third-party web browsers such as Google Chrome are basically a no-go.
Upgrading to Windows 10 Pro grants users the ability to run traditional Windows apps, just like a normal computer, but you’ll miss out on the increased protection from malware and other viruses thanks to the app sandboxing feature in Windows 10 S.
Windows 10 Pro also uses more power than the more streamlined Windows 10 S. You do get access to Microsoft’s BitLocker file encryption feature, as well as the ability to use the Remote Desktop Connection feature, letting you control your Windows 10 Pro computer from another location. In short, upgrading grants you a slew of benefits at the expense of battery life and somewhat slower boot times.
Microsoft’s Surface Laptop, at $1499, is on the high-end in terms of Windows 10 S laptops, akin to Google’s Chromebook Pixel, priced at $US1299 ($1625). If you spent a grand on a laptop, you should probably do yourself a favour and upgrade your operating system so you don’t find yourself up a creek without a paddle, so to speak.