The Fi­nal Straw

This is­sue Ken Rigsby is be­ing swamped by…

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Ken Rigsby can’t move for ver­sions of Win­dows

Did you hear that there’s a new ver­sion of Win­dows 10 on the way? It’s called Win­dows 10 S. Mi­crosoft hasn’t re­vealed if the ‘S’ stands for any­thing in par­tic­u­lar but the com­pany boasts that it’s “stream­lined for se­cu­rity and su­pe­rior per­for­mance”. Much of the mar­ket­ing is aimed at stu­dents, and it will also come pre-in­stalled on the new Mi­crosoft Sur­face lap­top.

So, stream­lined, se­cure, su­pe­rior, stu­dents, Sur­face. With all that al­lit­er­a­tion I imag­ine Mi­crosoft’s mar­ket­ing folks looked at each other, shrugged, and quickly agreed just to stick an ‘S’ on the end.

A key sell­ing point is that if you use Win­dows 10 S then your only source for new apps will be the Win­dows Store. You won’t be able to buy or in­stall any­thing from any­where else. You’ll also have to use Mi­crosoft’s Edge browser, as that’s the de­fault – no change will be coun­te­nanced. If you want to ‘Google the web’ then you’ll have to, er, use Bing.

Don’t like it? Well, you could al­ways up­grade to Win­dows 10 Pro for a few quid, be­cause Mi­crosoft is of­fer­ing that as an op­tion to dis­grun­tled Win­dows 10 S buy­ers. The Pro edi­tion has a few fea­tures that you’ll prob­a­bly never use, but at least you can in­stall what­ever pro­grams you want, such as Chrome. And ac­tu­ally Google the web us­ing Google.

Al­ter­na­tively, for­get S and Pro and just go for Win­dows 10 Home. It’s bet­ter than S, but a bit worse than Pro. But, if you’re buy­ing pre-in­stalled, make sure your PC man­u­fac­turer hasn’t in­stalled Win­dows 10 Home N, be­cause that’s a bit worse than Win­dows 10 Home (but still a bit bet­ter than Win­dows 10 S). Or Win­dows 10 Pro N for that mat­ter, which is a bit worse than Win­dows 10 Pro but a bit bet­ter than Win­dows 10 Home and Home N. You can’t buy an N edi­tion sep­a­rately but there’s a chance you’ll end up with it when you buy a new PC. What’s the N stand for? I imag­ine Mi­crosoft’s mis­er­able mar­ket­ing folks also had no idea, hence…n.

Clear so far? Great! Of course if you’re an en­ter­pris­ing sort and set­ting up in busi­ness then per­haps Win­dows 10 En­ter­prise has caught your eye. Sadly, that’s prob­a­bly not for you, be­cause it’s aimed at com­pa­nies that want to man­age their own IT af­fairs. For the same rea­sons, you can also write off Win­dows 10 Mo­bile En­ter­prise and Win­dows 10 LTSB. That’s short for Long Term Ser­vic­ing Branch, in case you were won­der­ing.

Oh, did I men­tion Win­dows 10 Mo­bile (with­out the En­ter­prise)? It’s the Win­dows ver­sion you need if you want to use Win­dows on a tablet or smart­phone, if you can ac­tu­ally find such a de­vice. Ex­cept in en­ter­prise, where you need Win­dows 10 Mo­bile En­ter­prise.

We’re not done yet. There’s also Win­dows 10 IOT for the In­ter­net of Things, which means a ver­sion for any de­vice that might con­ceiv­ably con­nect to the in­ter­net. But make sure you get the right ver­sion of Win­dows 10 IOT be­cause there’s Win­dows 10 IOT Core, Win­dows 10 IOT En­ter­prise and Win­dows 10 IOT Mo­bile En­ter­prise. Oh, there’s also Win­dows 10 IOT Core Pro, which is like Win­dows 10 IOT Core but pre­sum­ably more pro­fes­sional.

Don’t worry, we’re nearly at the end. But I must also men­tion Win­dows 10 Ed­u­ca­tion! That ver­sion ob­vi­ously has echoes of Win­dows 10 S but, for some rea­son, no Cor­tana. So that’s a bonus.

Henry Ford once fa­mously said that cus­tomers could have any colour car they wanted, as long as it was black. Mi­crosoft could take in­spi­ra­tion from that, scrap the count­less ver­sions and con­sol­i­date them into a sin­gle ver­sion for ev­ery­one – Win­dows 10 Black. Mind you, con­sid­er­ing Mi­crosoft’s track record, it’d prob­a­bly turn out be­ing the Blue Screen edi­tion.

Henry Ford said car buy­ers could have any colour, as long as it’s black – Mi­crosoft could take in­spi­ra­tion from that

Do Win­dows ver­sions con­fuse you? Let us know at let­ters@com­put­er­ac­

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