Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

At first glance, Windows 11 SE is very similar to Windows 11.

At first glance, Windows 11 SE is very similar to Windows 11.
Picture: Microsoft

Windows 11 has been available to install since last October, and its first major update is already on its way. But Microsoft also released another OS, Windows 11 SE, which is similar to Windows 11 and shares some common features, but there are also a number of differences that differentiate Windows 11 SE laptops from their full Windows 11 counterparts.

Your first question is probably: What exactly does SE stand for? Microsoft has not been specific, although it can stand for Special Edition, Second version, Student Edition or Simple Edition. What we do know is thats officially described as a “cloud-first” operating system optimized for use in classrooms, Class K-8.

If you think it sounds a lot like Chrome OS, make no mistake. One recently decline in sales apart from that, Chromebooks have proven hugely popular for education with their cheap prices, straightforward operation and built-in, always-on security. Chromebooks are also easy to manage for administrators, which helps in schools.

Windows 11 SE follows this plan and you can not actually buy it or install it yourself – it has to be pre-installed on a laptop and it is only available through training channels. It was announced first on $ 250 Surface Laptop SE in November 2021, and other hardware partners are now release their own Windows 11 SE devices, also.

The Surface Laptop SE was the first device to be announced with Windows 11 SE.

The Surface Laptop SE was the first device to be announced with Windows 11 SE.
Picture: Microsoft

Basically, you can think of it as a sticky version of Windows 11 that transfers more work to the cloud and a remote administrator. The optimizations that Microsoft has put in place mean that the operating system can run on less powerful hardware, which in turn means cheaper hardware.

You get Microsoft Office bundled with Windows 11 SE, plus Minecraft Education Edition, OneNote, Teams and all standard Windows 11 tools (file management and synchronization are handled via OneDrive). Whether you can install additional software or not is not up to you, it is up to the administrator who is in charge of your device.

Microsoft specifies six types of applications that can be installed on Windows 11 SE: ccontent filtering apps, test apps, accessibility apps, classroom communication apps, “essential” diagnostics and administration apps, and (perhaps surprisingly) alternative web browsers in addition to Microsoft Edge. For now, though, Chrome is the only alternative browser to make the approved list.

If your educational institution needs access to an app on Windows 11 SE that is not already available, there is an option to submit a request for Microsoft to add it. However, programs will not be approved if they are available as a web app or if they do not fall into the application categories we have mentioned above.

Windows 11 SE has its own set of settings and its own wallpaper.

Windows 11 SE has its own set of settings and its own wallpaper.
Picture: Microsoft

There is also access to web apps, with documents stored and synchronized to the cloud by default. However, Office apps still work offline, with changes uploaded when an Internet connection is restored. Microsoft Edge will have Google Chrome extension support enabled by default, which is not the case with standard Windows 11 – maybe a nod to those who want to move from Chrome OS.

There are a few tweaks to the layout and operation of Windows 11 in SE version. Snap layouts are simplified, widgets are removed, and applications open in maximized mode by default. As you would expect, the settings panel is also trimmed down. The idea is to minimize the number of potential distractions and the number of things that can go wrong.

Microsoft highlights the accessibility features preserved from Windows 11, which should allow even more students to use Windows 11 SE, while promoting benefits for educators: topportunity to monitor learning progress, plan activities and workloads, assess students, and more.

“We have heard from educators that they need options that are simpler, safer, and that work on more affordable devices,” wrote Microsoft Paige Johnson, Vice President of eeducation marketing.

Windows 11 SE is designed for students and educators

Windows 11 SE is designed for students and educators
Picture: Microsoft

Windows 11 SE was designed and built during the pandemic to address the most fundamental challenges that schools will face in the mixed learning world. It brings performance improvements that optimize resources on low-cost devices to deliver more comprehensive learning experiences and are simple to implement and manage, “Johnson said.

Windows 11 SE works with some of Microsoft’s various management tools, including Wiprovides autopilot and the cloud-based management tool Microsoft Intune, so higher up can keep up program and site access, and run controlled environments for scenarios such as exams and assessments. Multiple users and devices can be configured together, ie useful for classrooms.

It may all sound the same Microsoft Windows 10 S, and it really is – but it feels like it’s been better thought through and represents an even more comprehensive commitment from Microsoft to a scaled-down operating system for education. Whether that can make a dent in Chromebook sales remains to be seen.

That Surface Laptop SE gives you an idea of ​​the low-specific hardware required to run Windows 11 SE: It comes with an 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 screen resolution, 4 GB RAM, and 64 GB of built-in storage. These are specifications that Windows 11 may struggle with, but the lighter, cloud-focused SE version runs fine.

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