Windows 10 S will not run Linux, even though it's a downloadable Windows app

Windows 10 S is for people who don't want to futz with computers, a senior Microsoft exec says.

If Windows 10 S will only allow apps that can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store, it can run the new downloadable Linux apps, right? Wrong!

Here's why: Microsoft is actively blocking "command-line" apps that run outside the safe environment of Windows 10 S, Microsoft senior program manager Rich Turner wrote in a blog post on Thursday.

Microsoft said it created Windows 10 S as a way for students and even mainstream users to add a bit more security to their Windows 10 experience. Windows 10 S only runs apps that have been vetted by Microsoft and appear in the Store. Though Microsoft didn't explicitly say so at the time, those apps don't run at a low level on a user's PC, like debuggers or those applications that explicitly write to hardware or modify the system registry.

Linux does, however. And in Turner's words, those apps won't run on an operating system "that has been deliberately constrained to prevent just these types of apps and tasks from running!" Though they install just like a traditional Windows 10 UWP app, they behave like command-line tools that run outside the UWP sandbox and the secure runtime infrastructure, Turner wrote.

And it's not just Linux. Examples of other low-level apps that won't run under Windows 10 S include the Windows Console, Cmd/PowerShell, or Linux/Bash/WSL instances.

Fortunately, there is a solution: Windows 10 S contains a built-in upgrade path to Windows 10 Pro, and here's how to do it. If you've preordered the new Surface Laptop, the device will ship with Windows 10 S, but you'll be able to upgrade for free for a limited time.

Why this matters: Many Windows users look askance Windows 10 S and its built-in constraints, and this restriction on certain Windows Stores apps may deepen their skepticism. As anyone who's done tech support for a family member knows, keeping some people away from the registry or other low-level functions is sometimes a good idea. The question becomes a bit thornier, though, if Windows 10 S does in fact take off in the classroom. It could be hard to encourage kids to code, and then hack, without giving them access to low-level functions.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags MicrosoftWindows 10

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?