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Brian Lawler
196 followers -
Dad, Former Marine, Engineer
Dad, Former Marine, Engineer

196 followers
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The not-so-good and good news about Windows 10S and device drivers.

I've been using Windows 10 S on a daily home laptop for several weeks and one of the distinctive things I have noticed is how it deals with device drivers.

Depending on your needs, this could be a bad thing or a good thing.

In my tests, I have used external USB disk drives that when using Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro, those drives fall into 3 categories. First, they work in windows as "raw" hardware connected to the circuitry and operating system but with no drivers added. Second, drives that need a driver to function well but Windows 10 Home or Pro is able to auto-install the driver that works - invisible to the user. Finally, a drive that Windows doesn't recognize and I have to install a driver myself - i.e., download and install from the manufacturer's website.

What is important relative to Windows 10 S is that, for most Home and Pro users, the 2nd scenario seems no different from the first (i.e., no action required by the user) but with 10 S that 2nd scenario is a problem.

In Windows 10 S, the first scenario works just fine. And, as advertised, you can't pursue the 3rd scenario since downloading and installing your own software is a well advertised no-no for Windows 10 S.

But I find myself left with a number of external USB drives that worked just fine for me in Windows 10 Home or Pro but do not work correctly in Windows 10 S because they require the 2nd scenario... and 10 S seems to not allow that.

So, far this is a pretty big "con" for most folks - i.e., the USB drives I used with my 10 Home or Pro machines either don't work (bad) or work unreliably (worse) with my 10 S machine.

But, on reflection, this is what I signed up for with a 10 S laptop and I see the wisdom of this approach and some benefits for me. Drivers are notorious for not following Windows API rules and resulting in an accessory that works but a PC that is buggy, unreliable, or increasingly slow.

So, if I want a machine that stays more secure, reliable, etc. then the "price" for that is not being able to use some accessories that would compromise that.

Lucky for me, my USB drives that don't work with 10 S can find use with other machines. Similarly, I have found some USB drives that work just great with 10 S so I am good to go and happy on that front.

But this phenomena (feature or bug depends on your perspective) may or may not make 10 S a good option for you. FYI. 

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