Windows 11 SE is a stripped-down, tightly-locked version of Windows 11

Windows 11 SE leak

Microsoft appears to be working on a successor to Windows 10 in
S Mode, called “Windows 11 SE”.

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 98 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.

Because of the Windows 10 S mode success in education, it looks
like Microsoft hasn’t given up on the idea of lightweight
operating systems. The leaked build contains the following
references to the new SKU of Windows:

  • 392, “SE%1”
  • 393, “SE%1”
  • 394, “SE N%1”
  • 395, “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 is Microsoft’s new restricted OS for special use
cases

The SE edition of Windows 11 could 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. However,
it appears to be a more restrictive and lightweight version of
Windows for lower-powered devices or enterprise environments.

Windows 11 SE

It’s possible that the leaked SE edition of Windows seems to be
aimed at enterprise customers. 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.

There’s another interesting change: Win32 apps are no longer
blocked on this restricted SKU of Windows. On the other hand,
Windows 10 S didn’t support Win32 apps and users were forced to
download programs from the Store.

The offline account support doesn’t work properly due to the
unfinished/broken state of the leaked update, which means we
need 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.

Even as a restricted version of Windows, SE still benefits from
the regular Windows 11 features. It includes rounded corners,
Start Menu, Windows Search, updated File Explorer, and more.

Is SE SKU for you?

It really depends on what your needs are and how Microsoft
differentiates it from the existing Windows 10 in S Mode. For
now, it looks like a new enterprise SKU designed to limited
access to certain features like Microsoft Store.

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.

Keep in mind that Microsoft may or may not ever ship additional
SKU for Windows 11, and our interpretation of what they are may
be imperfect.

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