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Windows 10 S revealed, with Chromebook-like laptops to match

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Update: The first Windows 10 S laptops are now visible on Microsoft's website. The laptops are from manufacturers such as HP, Dell, Acer, Asus and Samsung. You can see the full list here (opens in new tab) (and start shopping for some if you like). Going by the new Windows 10 S laptops with announced prices, these should prove affordable PC options for students, educators and families.

Original story below...

At the #MicrosoftEDU event today, Microsoft announced a brand-new version of Windows 10, Windows 10 S, which is aimed at students and is a competitor to Chrome OS – Google’s lightweight operating system for Chromebooks.

Offering a lightweight version of Windows 10 for which users can only download verified apps from the Windows Store means teachers and parents can ensure that students are protected from online threats.

Windows 10 S will be made available to schools for free, as long as the school’s devices are already running Windows 10 Pro. Microsoft confirmed at the event that IT administrators in the school can switch from Windows 10 S back to Windows 10 Pro if devices need to access more advanced features.

Setting up devices running Windows 10 S will also be made much easier thanks to a tool that will allow admins to configure the devices from a USB stick. This should be music to the ears of IT departments in schools that feature lots of PCs.

Microsoft also confirmed that Windows 10 S will be released this summer, ahead of the next school year.

$189 devices

Microsoft also announced that it has worked with a number of device manufacturers, including HP, Asus and Acer, to create a new range of affordable laptops running Windows 10 S, with prices starting at $189 (around £145, AU$250).

These devices should make buying laptops for students much more affordable, and the price point is Microsoft’s answer to cheap Chromebooks, which are already popular in schools.

These new PCs will come with a year's free subscription to Minecraft: Education Edition, as well as Office 365 for Education.

Acer was one of the first manufacturers to show off a Windows 10 S device, the Acer TravelMate Spin B1. This convertible has a 360-degree hinge,  a touchscreen 11.6-inch display and offers 13 hours of battery life.

It's priced at $299.99 (around £230, AU$400) and is available now.

At today’s event Microsoft presented an ambitious vision of a world where all students have access to powerful educational software via Windows 10 S. Making Windows devices more accessible to students around the world is a worthy endeavour (while also getting people locked into the Windows ecosystem earlier than ever), but will it make students abandon their Chromebooks? Time will tell…

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Computing and Entertainment

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Computing and Entertainment, looking after two of the best, and most exciting, channels on the site. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made. He's also a huge film and TV fan and Marvel geek, and his favorite recent film is Dune.