Microsoft's Surface Laptop runs a student-focused version of Windows 10, but if you buy before Dec. 31, you can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free.
As outlined in the Surface Laptop's specs, those who "prefer to run non-Store apps [can] switch to Windows 10 Pro for free until Dec 31, 2017." After that, an upgrade will cost $49.
If you're a Microsoft education customer, though, you can upgrade at any time for free, Redmond confirmed.
Windows 10 S, announced alongside the Surface Laptop on Tuesday, is essentially a streamlined version of Windows 10 designed for students and teachers. Windows 10 S users can only download apps from the Windows Store and cannot change the operating system's default web browser: Microsoft Edge. Microsoft says this ensures your device will stay "fast and secure day in and day out" since the company verifies all the apps in the Windows Store for security and performance.
If you try to download something that's not in the Windows Store, you may see a suggestion for an alternative app that is available there. If you can't find a suitable alternative and absolutely must download something that's not in the Windows Store — like, say, Google's Chrome browser — you'll first need to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.
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In a blog post announcing the Surface Laptop, though, Microsoft urged people to stick with 10 S. "You shouldn't [upgrade]," Microsoft wrote. "This device, this OS, they're made for each other, and together they offer so much."
Microsoft also warns that "the switch to Pro is one-way; you will not be able to revert to Windows 10 S once you have made the change," so be sure to think it over before making the switch.
Aimed at college students, the Surface Laptop starts at $999 for a Core i5 version; it's available for pre-order right now and starts shipping June 15. It comes in four colors: platinum, graphite gold, cobalt blue, and burgundy.
The introduction of 10 S might bring to mind Windows RT, a variant of Windows 8 designed to run on ARM-based tablets using chips from the likes of Qualcomm and Nvidia. But a confusing message about which apps did and did not work on Windows RT doomed the stripped-down OS. Microsoft eventually admitted its mistake before shelving RT ahead of Windows 10, which was designed to run on all devices.
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