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Windows 10 S

Switching from Windows 10 S to regular Windows will be free for everyone

The new approach makes rather more sense than having a separate special version.

Last month, leaked documents revealed that Microsoft would be making Windows 10 S, the restricted version of Windows 10 that can only run applications installed from the Microsoft Store, a mode of Windows rather than a separate version. That change is now official, and Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president for Windows, has provided further details on how S Mode will work in the future. It will be available to all desktop versions of Windows, and removing the 10 S restrictions will be free for all.

Currently, Windows 10 S is treated as a distinct Windows variant. Functionally, it's a specially pre-configured version of Windows 10 Pro, using existing Windows features to restrict it to only being able to use Store apps and to block certain built-in programs such as the command-line and PowerShell. Because of this close similarity to Windows 10 Pro, Microsoft has offered an upgrade from 10 S to 10 Pro for those who want to lift the restrictions. On some systems this upgrade has been offered for free (albeit only for a promotional period); on others, it's a $50 upgrade.

With the next major Windows Update, this is changing. Instead of a distinct Windows 10 S version, there will instead be an S Mode for Windows. This mode will apply all the same restrictions as 10 S, but it'll now be an option for all the Windows versions: not just Pro, but now also Home and Enterprise. Moreover, as a mode, removing the S restrictions will now be free, regardless of which version of Windows it's applied to.

Microsoft anticipates that companies will still offer systems preconfigured to use S Mode, but with this change, anyone who thinks that S makes sense for their usage will be able to use it, even if it didn't come with their hardware.

Posted in News on March 08 at 04:11 PM

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