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China's government is running a custom version of Windows 10

During the rollout of Windows 10 Microsoft released many different versions of the operating system, including Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 Pro.

In order for the company's software to be used in China, which often places very specific requirements on both software and hardware companies, it had to create a special version of Windows 10 for use by the government.

The version of Windows 10 created for the Chinese government is called Windows 10 Zhuangongban and the name roughly translates to “specially-provided Edition.” In an interview with the Chinese magazine Caixin, Ralph Haupter - the CEO of Microsoft China - said that the specialised version of the operating system was created as a joint venture with China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC).

The main difference between Windows 10 Zhuangongban and the versions released elsewhere globally is that Microsoft has included fewer apps and services while adding more security features and management controls. By adding these features and controls, the company has ensured that its operating system falls under the strict requirements imposed by the Chinese government.

To an end user however, Windows 10 Zhuangongban will appear almost identical to the way it does on other systems worldwide. Even though the OS has been slightly altered, Haupter has reassured users of this specialised version of Windows 10 that any program compatible with Windows will run on systems using the Zhuangongban edition.

This is likely the only country specific version of Windows 10 that Microsoft will release. Companies that wish to do business in China will often have to make changes to their products in order for them to be approved by the government.

Photo credit: XiXinXing / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.