Windows 11 SE is apparently a pared-down version of the next incarnation of Windows 10, according to fresh findings in the leaked build of what will purportedly be Microsoft’s successor OS (which was spilled earlier this week).
The Windows 11 SE build was discovered by Sigma who shared a screen grab on Twitter, while imparting the theory that this could be the successor to Windows 10 Cloud Edition.
This is Windows 11 SE, seems to be a successor of Windows 10 Cloud Edition, with it restricting quite a few settings and seemingly requiring a online account (as offline account creation is broken in OOBE). pic.twitter.com/QMaz3vWRD2June 16, 2021
The idea that Microsoft might have some kind of Cloud PC version of its desktop OS in the works has been around for some time, and as MS Poweruser (which spotted the above tweet) points out, Windows 11 Cloud PC could be some kind of enterprise-focused way of deploying and managing Windows installations via the cloud.
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Before we get carried away with that idea, though, what seems a more likely prospect has been raised by renowned Microsoft tipster Mary Jo Foley, who tweeted in reply to the tech site that “Windows 10 Cloud was the codename for Windows 10 in S Mode”.
Meaning that Windows 11 SE simply refers to the S Mode version of the incoming operating system. So, it would appear that Microsoft is going to run with the lightweight S Mode option with the new OS – but obviously this is still just so much spinning from the rumor mill (as is the leaked version of Windows 11, we should remember, at this point).
Foley clarifies that she hasn’t heard anything about the possibility of Microsoft getting rid of S Mode with Windows 11. She believes that SE might stand for ‘S Mode Edition’.
Currently, it seems the Windows 11 SE version is a bit odd in that it locks out installations from the Microsoft Store, and some other bits seem to be broken – but you can install standard (Win32) apps. It also disables a number of settings (and requires you to be online with your Microsoft account for setup).
The app situation is a direct reversal of what’s implemented with S Mode, of course, but this could just be a reflection of the fact that this is still early work on Windows 11 SE.
We should soon know more about exactly how Windows 11 will work – and possibly the nature of this SE version too – at Microsoft’s big press event in just a week’s time on June 24.
Meanwhile, we also recently looked at how it’s possible to switch back to the classic Start menu (and left-side taskbar alignment rather than centered) with the leaked Windows 11 build.
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).