One of the major differences between Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro is the ability to change a greater deal of the operating system’s core functionality. One of the ways this can be done is through the Group Policy Editor. The Group Policy Editor allows for network administrators to change core OS functionality for network users at the click of a button. While its primarily used in larger networks it can also be used to alter the functionality of a single machine. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update will effectively remove some of the ability to tinker with your OS in Windows 10 Pro.
One of the biggest features will be the removal of the ability to turn off the Microsoft Consumer Experience. This feature is explained in detail on Ghack. In short, this is the part of Windows responsible for third-party apps such as Candy Crush Soda being included with a fresh retail install of Windows 10. You can unpin the tiles and uninstall the third-party apps but they have a habit of re-appearing after updates. Turning off the Microsoft Consumer Experience via policies was the best workaround to permanently remove this included software.
It’s possible to disable the Windows Store and any apps from the Windows Store in Windows 10 Pro. This is useful if you have no intention of ever using the Windows Store and want to avoid having to deal with any of the apps that may have come pre-installed with your system. This can no longer be done after the change to policies.
There’s a couple of smaller issues that have cropped up relating to the lock screen and tips. Windows 10 features a lock screen that shows an image and some other information such as the time and date. If you lock your computer you have to click once to get to the login screen. The option to disable this extraneous screen and go directly to password entry is also no longer available as a result of this change. As for the Tips, it’s possible to shut these off entirely by altering a setting for Telemetry. This setting can also no longer be changed.
The changes that affect policies in Windows 10 Pro will be taking effect when the Windows 10 Anniversary Update launches on August 2.
I’m an IT guy and have been tinkering with computers for going on 20 years. One of the reasons I prefer the Pro Editions of Windows is because of the greater degree of control afforded to me. These changes being made by Microsoft are worrying, and it might be the first time that I can recall Microsoft actually removing functionality in an update like this. I’m sure third-party applications will crop up that will serve as workarounds. However, one of the many reasons I spent the extra money for the Pro edition was so I could customize my system to my satisfaction. I think Microsoft is going to face a good deal of backlash and possibly a lawsuit if they continue down this path.
What do you think of Microsoft removing the ability to disable certain features in Windows 10 Professional? Will this affect how you’ve configured your system? Let us know in the comments below!