Microsoft Is Killing Windows 10 S, But Not Really: What You Need To Know About ‘S Mode’


It seems Windows 10 S, Microsoft's odd and restrictive experiment based off the Windows 10 operating system, is coming to a close after being introduced alongside the Surface Laptop.

Well, kind of.

Microsoft is indeed killing off the standalone OS, but it's turning it into a feature called "S Mode" on standard Windows 10 variants.

Windows 10 S

Microsoft released Windows 10 S last May, to the skepticism of many tech critics. It was exactly like Windows 10 Pro, with the only major difference being that it's only able to run apps from the Windows Store and not anywhere else — a crucial deal-breaker for Pro users.

But Windows 10 S wasn't really geared for Pro users, so that didn't matter. In fact, it was a direct rival to Google's Chrome OS, which powers Chromebooks, a line of budget entry-level laptops that's become hugely popular in the education sector. Microsoft basically wanted Windows 10 S to be its own Chrome OS.

On its own, Windows 10 S wasn't really a bad concept. But as ZDNet points out, Microsoft didn't quite pull it off. So, nine months later, Microsoft is about to shut it down and convert it into a feature on Windows 10 Home, Pro, and Enterprise, according to Paul Thurrott.

Windows 10 To Get S Mode?

S Mode basically transforms a copy of a proper Windows 10 version into Windows 10 S. With it enabled, the users will only be able to run Windows Store apps, as mentioned. This is both good and bad. Good because there's less risk of inexperienced users downloading malicious apps from the web. Bad because that severely diminishes its functions and capabilities.

Another report claims that Microsoft might allow Windows 10 Home users to disable S Mode for free, but Windows 10 Pro with S Mode enabled might have to pay $49 to access the full version of the OS, which is the same price of a Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro upgrade. It's worth mentioning, however, that Microsoft is offering Surface Laptop users a free Windows 10 Pro upgrade until March.

It'll most likely depend on manufacturers whether they'll ship Windows 10 laptops with S Mode enabled right off the bat. It's hard to make guesses this early, and Microsoft has yet to comment on this rumored approach.

What do you think about Microsoft reportedly converting Windows 10 S into S Mode? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!

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