Sunday, August 1, 2021
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Windows 11 SE is a stripped-down, tightly-locked version of Windows 11


Ahead of Microsoft’s June 24 event, an early build of Windows 11 recently appeared online and it has been confirmed by several reputable sources that it is indeed a legitimate build. Thanks to the leaked build, we know that most Windows Sun Valley rumours and speculations were accurate.

In addition to a brand-new Start Menu, Microsoft may be working on a new SKU for Windows 11, as references to “Cloud Edition” and “SE” have been spotted in the leaked build.

Dubbed Windows 11 SE (a branding Microsoft previously used for Windows 95 Special Edition (SE), this new SKU is supposed to be the new version of Windows S Mode. The SE edition uses the “Cloud Edition” codename, which was previously used for Windows 10 in S Mode.

The leaked build contains the following references to the new SKU of Windows:

  • 392, “Windows 11 SE%1”
  • 393, “Windows 11 SE%1”
  • 394, “Windows 11 SE N%1”
  • 395, “Windows 11 SE N%1”

Like Windows 10 in S Mode, Windows 11 SE could be a tightly-locked version of Windows that limits the capabilities of the operating system.

For those unaware, Windows 10 in S Mode was first announced in 2017 and it deliberately limited users to Microsoft Store apps. In addition to Store restriction, Windows in S Mode imposes certain other restrictions too. For example, users are only allowed to use Microsoft Edge as the installation of desktop apps is blocked on Windows S Mode.

Windows 11 SE

Windows 11 SE appears to be the successor to Windows 10 in S Mode. It features the same interface and primary capabilities as Windows 11 Home, Pro, Enterprise and Education.

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However, it appears to be a more restrictive and lightweight version of Windows for lower-powered devices or enterprise environments.

Windows 11 SE

The SE edition of Windows seems to be aimed at enterprise customers, at least according to the leaked build. For example, Microsoft has removed consumer-centric features like “Your Phone” integration from the Settings app. Likewise, there are no Microsoft Edge or Bing ads in the Settings app.

Windows Store on Windows 11 SE

For some reasons, Microsoft Store doesn’t work out in SE by default, as shown in the above screenshot. To run the Store, we need to configure Group Policies and remove the restriction.

The offline account support is also broken and we have to set up the operating system with a Microsoft account.

Based on the leaked build, here’s what we know so far about this tightly-locked edition of Windows:

  • Disables News and Interests (Windows Widgets).
  • Unlike Windows in S Mode, Win32 apps work on SE.
  • Microsoft Store doesn’t work by default.
  • Settings app adverts for Edge/Bing removed and Your Phone integration no longer works, which could be due to the unfinished state of the leaked update.

It’s worth pointing out that Microsoft has still not decided on a final branding for this new edition of Windows 11 and it could be subject to change at a future date.



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