Windows 11 SE, a New Chrome OS Competitor by Microsoft

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Windows is the most popular operating system. However, over the past few years, the operating system has seen quite a bit of competition from iPad OS and Chrome OS in the form of affordable computers and devices designed for educational purposes and light usage.

As a result, there is a huge demand for iPads and Chromebooks in the market today as they are not only affordable, but they also have user-friendly interfaces optimized for mobile users and children who are not familiar with how a computer works.

To compete with these devices, Microsoft has been trying to make a serious effort. The company recently released its very first Chrome OS and iPad OS competitor, Windows 11 SE. Windows 11 SE is a lightweight and user-friendly version of the original Windows 11 that is developed for educational use.

In this article, we will discuss everything that you should know about the new Windows 11 SE, how it works, what its features are, and more.

What Is Windows 11 SE?

Windows 11 SE is the latest operating system released by Microsoft for use in educational institutes, especially for students in K-8 classes. The company is calling it a cloud-first operating system that is a direct competitor of Chrome OS by Google, another operating system that is widely used in education. According to Microsoft, Windows 11 SE is designed to offer a cheaper and easier solution to make education accessible to all.

Although the company has not yet said anything about what “SE’ means in Windows 11 SE, the most likely case is that it stands for “Student Education”. However, that’s something that we don’t know for sure.

Do not confuse Windows 11 SE with the S Mode in Windows. It is way different, and both have different features.

Windows 11 SE Features

Windows 11 SE comes with its own features that are way different from the traditional Windows 11. These features are really more of a set of restrictions designed to make sure that education is free from distraction for students and that their usage is controlled by an adult.

Here are some of the best features of Windows 11 SE:

1. Full Screen App Launch

Thanks to this feature, all of the apps in Windows 11 SE are launched in full screen so that there are no other distractions on the screen and users can fully immerse into the contents of the screen. This is a default feature in Windows 11 SE.

2. Controlled App Installation

The controlled app installation feature is designed to add a level of administrator-level control for students in Windows 11 SE. This feature not only helps you deploy apps for all the students at bulk, but also helps you restrict some apps. This can be done by the school administration to choose which apps they should allow and which ones they should block. It is carried out by the IT professionals of educational institutes through a backend console known as Microsoft Intune.

3. Cloud-First Storage

As Windows 11 SE is a competitor of Chrome OS, it also comes with cloud storage of 1TB on OneDrive. So all the files by default are backed up to OneDrive in Windows 11 SE.

4. Simple User Interface.

Windows 11 SE also features some changes in its user-interface, such as the Snap Layouts feature that allows you to stack multiple windows together, side by side. Moreover, the operating system has removed some of the other Windows features such as Widgets.

5. Improved Battery Life

Better battery life is Microsoft’s most coveted feature in Windows 11 SE. Since Windows 11 SE is a lightweight version of Windows 11, it will last you longer and consume less battery as compared to Windows 11.

6. Optimized to Be Used with Microsoft Services

As you can expect from it, the SE version of Windows 11 is optimized for Microsoft services. The operating system comes preinstalled with Microsoft 365.

7. Third-Party App Compatibility

Unlike the S Mode in Windows, Windows 11 SE lets you install all the third-party apps apart from within the Microsoft Store.

One thing you should know about Windows 11 SE is that it is not sold separately. Moreover, once Windows 11 SE has been removed from your device, it cannot be reinstalled as there are certain restrictions related to its reinstallation.

Chrome OS vs. Windows 11 SE

Chrome OS and Windows 11 SE have direct competition. Therefore, Microsoft is targeting the education industry with its Windows 11 SE while focusing on administrative control over this operating system. The operating system is already on its way to a great start as it is being rolled out to the mass market.

Theoretically, Windows 11 SE seems to be all ready to take on Chrome OS. However, since it is the students who will be actually using this new operating system, the changes in the user interface have to be on par, if not better than Chrome OS.

The app selection in Chrome OS is amazing. It supports both Linux and Android apps. Whereas Windows 11 SE also has a huge collection of Windows apps with support for third-party apps, which makes it better than Chrome OS.

Moreover, Microsoft may allow administrators to install Linux and Android subsystems, which will give it access to all the apps that Chrome OS does, and even more.

What’s more, the company is also trying to make Windows 11 SE available in devices that are much lower priced. Whereas ChromeOS devices come at wider price ranges. Most of the sales for any company would come through affordable devices, therefore, Microsoft is on the right track in that sense.

However, how Windows 11 SE performs in comparison to Chrome OS is something that will be apparent after some time. It all comes down to how Microsoft will help in facilitating educational institutes with the adoption of this new operating system and how simple it would be to use it for educational purposes.

In terms of user interface, Chrome OS stands out in comparison to Windows 11 SE. That’s because Chromebooks are the OG cloud computers that are popular for having a simplified user interface. Moreover, users of Chrome OS who switched from Windows swear by its optimization and speed. It boots up within 10 seconds, which is amazingly fast.

On the other hand, Windows 11 SE is after all very similar to Windows, except for a few features. If you look at it from the perspective of a student, they will need to understand all the complexities of the new changes and the Windows ecosystem, as they would have been using Chrome OS devices all so far. Although Windows has massively improved its interface in the last couple of years, it still does not compare to that of Chrome OS.

Therefore, in terms of user interface, Chrome OS is clearly a winner.

Which Laptops Have Windows 11 SE?

Windows 11 SE comes installed in the Surface Laptop SE, which has all the specifications you can expect from a Windows 11 SE device. The Surface Laptop SE features an 11.6-inch display, 4GB of RAM, an Intel Celeron processor, and 64GB storage.

In addition to Microsoft, Windows 11 SE also comes installed in devices from other manufacturers, including Asus, Acer, Dell, HP, Dynabook, Lenovo, Fujitsu, JP-IK, and Positivo. So far, there are a total of 11 laptops in the market today that come installed with Windows 11 SE. All of them are listed on Microsoft’s official website.

These include:

  1. Lenovo 100w Gen3
  2. Lenovo 14w Gen2
  3. Lenovo 300w Gen3
  4. Dell Latitude 3120
  5. Dell Latitude 3120 two-in-one
  6. Asus BR1100C
  7. Asus BR1100F
  8. Acer TravelMate B3
  9. Acer TravelMate Spin B3
  10. JP-IK Leap T304
  11. JP-IK Turn T303

All of these computers start from as low as $249 and are all under $500. Moreover, the Dynabook E10-S was originally launched with Windows 10 Pro Education. Although it is not listed on the official Microsoft website, this computer will also come installed with Windows 11 SE, priced at $290.

All of these computers have displays ranging of up to 14 inches and come with various features such as LTE compatibility, rugged build, touchscreens, integrated pen slot, digital pen support, long battery lives, spill-proofing, security features, HD video, noise-canceling mics, and more. They come equipped with RAMs of up to 8GB and eMMc storage of up to 128GB.

Although Windows 11 SE laptops are not directly available for customers, educational institutes can get these devices by contacting Microsoft directly.


So that’s all about the new Windows 11 SE and how it stands in comparison to Chrome OS. If you are a single user, you cannot get your hands on a Windows 11 SE laptop yet. These devices are currently exclusively available only to education institutes. However, it is safe to assume that Windows 11 SE laptops will soon be available for the masses.

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