Microsoft is turning Windows 10 S into a mode that runs on other Windows editions
Windows 10 S as a standalone edition of Windows is no more. Instead, Microsoft is turning that idea into a mode that runs on top of other editions of Windows 10.
Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it was changing how Windows 10 S was delivered to users. When Windows 10 S was originally unveiled, it was a specific Windows SKU (edition) that was available alongside other SKUs such as Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, and Windows 10 Enterprise. Now, however, Microsoft is killing that specific Windows 10 S SKU and is turning it into a mode that runs on top of existing Windows 10 SKUs instead.
A report from Thurrott confirms these plans, and revealed that over 60% of users who are running Windows 10 S on low-end devices do not upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. That's more than a lot of us were expecting, especially with apps like Google Chrome not being available on Windows 10 S. Now, that 60% number doesn't mean much on its own considering we don't know the exact usage scenarios or the amount of people running Windows 10 S, but 60% is 60%, and it's definitely more than what a lot of us assumed it would be.
Microsoft turning Windows 10 S into a mode that runs on top of Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro and likely other editions of Windows is an interesting change. It allows for Microsoft to get Windows 10 S out into the hands of more people, and gives OEMs the flexibility of choosing a SKU with S mode or not. Thurrott claims that devices that come with S mode enabled will be able to turn S mode off, and depending on the edition of Windows that device comes with, will be a free or paid switch.
Windows 10 Home users, for example, will be able to switch off S mode for free. If your device comes with Windows 10 Pro with S mode, however, you will be required to pay $49 to switch it off. The idea of Windows 10 S hasn't change here, but rather Microsoft is making Windows 10 S more accessible to a wider audience. OEMs won't have to choose between Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, or Windows 10 S now, they just have to pick Windows 10 Home or Pro, and choose if they want it to have S mode on by default. This does not mean Microsoft is requiring S mode to be on by default when an OEM pre-loads Windows 10 onto their device. It is still optional.
For gamers, this isn't a change you have to worry about. Most PC gamers build their own PCs, which means they also buy their own Windows license for installing on that custom build. You will still be able to buy Windows 10 Pro without the S limitation, and as such that crowd will be fine. Microsoft also won't be springing S mode onto existing Windows 10 devices that aren't already running Windows 10 S, so your existing Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro devices will continue to operate as normal.
This change only really affects new devices that ship with Windows 10 in the future. Starting with Redstone 4, OEMs will be able to choose if S mode is enabled for their devices. Not every OEM will, and it will very likely depend on the specifications of the OEM device you're buying. Most low-end devices likely will have S mode enabled, as it's cheaper for OEMs and also helps with performance. And while I imagine there will be some higher-end devices with S mode enabled, most OEMs will likely want to stick with Windows 10 Pro without S mode enabled by default, at least for now.
Microsoft turning Windows 10 S into a mode is most certainly not the end of Windows 10 S as an idea. Microsoft see's Windows 10 S as the future of Windows; a streamlined, secure OS with good performance and battery life. I do wonder, however, if this change is in preparation for the upcoming Windows Core OS modern version of Windows 10. Perhaps Microsoft is making room for a true Windows 10 S SKU that runs on top of Windows Core OS and streamlines the OS even further? Only time will tell.
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Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.
By Jez Corden
* I use XPA on my Alienware and SP.
Let's dump windows mobile because there aren't enough apps. Let's take a very similar OS that restricts you to buying nonexistent apps from the store we just killed mobile over and have it run as a mode on your desktop PC that you have to pay to get rid of. Facepalm.
Can it run Unreal, Reason, Komplete, work tools we run on Windows with 0 issues? At home... why Linux... do you like to spend time troubleshooting? Why not spend your time experimenting / create new game programming concepts or techs? Xbox Instant-On can take you right back where you left your game session (even during a boss fight) days ago in mere second. Less time consuming.
It makes sense to build exe if you use 3rd party game engine but if you are building your own? Do you know how people choose min/max API?
If you do apps... you'd actually prefer to fight your own battle? Provide your own installer, updater and uninstaller? Do your own crack-proof, mess with user's registry, run a service in the background constantly checking for updates? Do you prefer to do your own advertisement or hoping someone might bump into your no-name-app in the internet of sea? Is this thing even safe? Windows last longer than phone. The transition might be slow but software / API update don't down-version. HW that supports older Windows will only go lesser and lesser YoY. OEM's not gonna put older Windows in their new pre-builds.
Web & UWP is more than enough. ps: Most of us prob on the internet for a very long time and have read many articles or funny stories from custom supports, etc, I think we all know how *beep* user can be at times. S-mode is def better for most consumers.
This means for OEM, it's a no brainer to choose Windows 10 home with S mode so that they save some bucks. They can even help their customer unlock for free whenever they want. Win-win.
Programmer, game programmer, planner, designer, music composers still use things like Adobe, 3dsMax, Unreal, VisualStudio, SVN, Git, Office, Reason, Komplete, Local Server typpa applications. But our ticket system, project manager, chatroom, etc are all web based.
Except Office (uwp available), people in business department (e.g. CS, Cooperate, International Business, etc) work on the web too.
And my GF is a US IT firm APAC manager, works on the web with her virtual teams @ home or in the coffee store.
You don't need Facebook or Messenger win32, it's dangerous.
You don't need Netflix win32, just web or UWP.
Windows last longer than phone for many reasons. Transition might be slow but it doesn't run backwards, with or without you.
e.g. I used to store and backup things locally, from DVD era, raid HDD, blabla, but now I store nearly nothing. Everything is in the cloud with cross platform access, and I can always get a clean Windows and start working (SVN). One thing I really hate, is messy registry and rubbish in the system. I will get rid of win32 (e.g Photoshop, Illustrator, Visual Studio, Unreal) if there's a UWP alternative. Clean install, clean uninstall, no independent background service no checking updates in different interval, etc, etc.
And if there's nothing in the store, I build one or hack one myself. * I do the same to my Nexus. I need to know what your are doing else I'll turn off everything in the background.
Can you do OneNote + pen with Ubuntu? I'm a main programmer working in a major game dev & publisher (we have 4k employees in my building, more internationally). As for now, we creators need Win32 (but if there's UWP alternative, said Win32 application becomes unnecessary). Nowadays, ticket system and project manager typpa tools are all web-based, there's no room for Win32 or UWP. People in business department work mostly on the web but they still need a Windows. iPad or Ubuntu for office work? How about communication / compatibility with outside business or our creator department? Everyone's using Windows. I received a Win PC with various settings done by ITS and you expect me to overwrite it with an Ubuntu? That's crazy talk. Can I run Unreal, Unity Visual Studio + Dx + Havok, Adobe stuff, SVN, 3dsMax, etc issue-free? How's the compatibility / integration with other Win PCs? If I encounter some weird problems with Unreal, how can people share their know-how with me? If one of the planner on my team install a Ubuntu on his machine... I'm not goona help with his issues or workflows. How can I share the tools I build for Ubuntu with my team and other teams? Can I inject scripts into Android or iPad's webview? Even if I can, compatibility with Windows? Why would I want to waste my time to code the same thing twice? How can I keep the functionality consistent?
What's 60% of 3 users... I mean really.