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Microsoft is turning Windows 10 S into a mode that runs on other Windows editions

Windows 10 Cloud Wallpaper
Windows 10 Cloud Wallpaper (Image credit: Microsoft)

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.

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

138 Comments
  • Awesome!!
  • It's Windows RT all over again Another epic fail.
  • You should rename yourself to "amclueless"... Fits the profile better...
  • You think they are making this change because it didn't fail? Read the source article. "In the three quarters since this product was first announced, it was adopted up by exactly zero PC makers. In my discussions with those PC makers, both private and public, I’ve been told the same thing repeatedly: There just isn’t any demand for Windows 10 S."
  • Why would anyone adopt it? It is windows RT all over again worst of all is that it looks like windows with ARM will only use S mode now also..
  • I'm glad at least some of you are smart enough to NOT fall for Windows RT: Part Deux. Nobody's gonna want to intentionally limit themselves to Microsoft Store apps. People are gonna want to install Win32 applications. That's literally the only advantage of Windows. Watch, W10S is gonna bomb, and the only morons who don't think so are the same morons who thought W10m was going to be awesome.
  • Did you miss the part where 60% of people with Windows 10S devices don't upgrade? That's the opposite of failure.
  • You don't know that without seeing the total sales. Since 10S was targeted towards schools, they bought them planning to use 10S. I don't even think there are any consumer devices with 10S other than the Surface Laptop, so they are probably the 40% that upgraded.
  • Exactly. 6 people from 10 is 60%. It's notable that they didn't release sales figures, just percentages on products which haven't sold terribly well. 
  • It was only ever target it at schools and in enterprise. never at consumers devices, but this will be first time   
  • It's nothing like Windows RT, but it IS another example of Microsoft quickly changing directions after announcing and initiating a different variation of the plan. S should have always been just a mode to begin with, though, not a SKU. That said, this is another example of want people don't trust Microsoft to be stable in their vision. They clearly didn't think Windows 10 S through to begin with.
  • It is exactly RT. A cut down Windows that can only install apps from the store. Almost identical.
  • I fail to see what's the real point for this Windows 10S, to be honest. I know it's slightly safer than other Windows' versions, I just don't think this 'safety' is worthy compared to the lost features. Win32 apps are Windows' biggest asset, if not the only asset for many people, and suddenly MS and some users starts to treat this like a burden, deliberately capping one of the most capable OS to be as useless as a macOS or any of those hipster Linux distros and Chrome OS. If I wanted an OS without apps, I'd stick to Ubuntu, at least Ubuntu is free...
  • I fail to see the point even more now it's to be a 'mode'. W10 already has an option to restrict it to store apps only. Isn't that all S mode does? So this is just rebranding a current feature, right? The only difference being it can be installed with the feature defaulting to On and for pro they charge you to turn it off again? Seems like the only real change is another fee.
  • Got it in one. It's all about getting people to pay twice, first for a PC (which will likely not be any cheaper running in crippled "S" mode) then again to remove the artificial restrictions. Sneaky.
  • Not really the feature you're talking about is a reg key that can be flipped back and forth (so it can be circumvented potentially) Windows 10 S removes the components that make Win32 apps run therefore making it safer since the components aren't there.
  • You are naive and need to do some research its not 'slightly safer' its extremely safe you can run Windows without the risk of malware since it reduces the potential of malware running a lot since normal executables aren't able to run. Now as for use cases there are many people that use a PC for only social media, web browsing, MS office, and media consumption this what Windows 10 S was targeted to. It allows an end user to do everything they need to without worrying about accidentally messing up their PC.
  • I'm a fan of Window and, like some people here, I used to defend every move they made. The truth is, they have made a lot of dumb ones over the last 8 years. They tip their toe into the water of a new product, convince their fans to bite (spending a lot of money), then they only partially commit themselves and back out completely. Then, a few years later, they rinse and repeat. This is all done while not correcting the actual issues which are dated about their OS. Things like having 5 or 6 OS versions. The general public will never be able to keep up with that. Or things like putting out excellent apps (into their own store) to fill voids until 3rd part devs get on board. With a version of the OS geared toward creativity, a Garage Band alternative that can function flawlessly on an entry level Surface would go a long way.    In the end, the issue is that they never fully commit to anything. 
  • Exactly. I have been trying to say this for years. If Microsoft wants this stuff to work, they have to make it good, they have to make it compelling. Throwing this pointless garbage out helps no one.
  • Microsoft's problem is that the desktop is yesterday's news. OSes are no longer the important thing, form factor is. Most of us now do the majority of our computing on a device that does not run one piece of Microsoft software. And this happened in less than ten years. iOS and Android are now the two OSes that are used to mediate our access to computers. Microsoft is COMPLETELY absent from the mobile world and this is much healthier than when Windows held 90% of the market and Apple less than 10%. While Apple may dominate the developed world with iOS it by no means is the 90% gorilla like Microsoft was when Bill Gates and company abused their monopoly to harm consumers and competitors alike. We have Android as a choice, if necessary (I'm now on Android and even though it's definitely not up to the quality control of iOS it's good enough... Of course I run pure Android so I'm in much better shape than most Android users who are stuck with their OEM's vision of Android). So back to Windows 10S and its failure. Microsoft is trying to iOSify Windows through 10s  but it doesn't get that that is not what its users need or want. We're on Windows because we need A DESKTOP operating system, not a mobile one. Plus, while Apple may require Safari as the default browser on iOS what Apple does not do is prevent users from changing the default search engine. That one little detail about Windows 10S tells me that Microsoft is still the same monopolistic abuser that it was when Bill Gates was at the helm. In Apple's case I can buy the argument that Safari offers a consistent, good browsing experience and that there's value in a predictable default browser. I could have accepted the same for Edge (however flawed it was and is) as the future vision for Windows, however, the moment Microsoft mandated the use of Bing is when it became obvious that Edge was not about the USER, but about MICROSOFT.
  • I guess that's the key difference between Apple and Microsoft's Windows.  Apple sells hardware and the user's experience is what sells the hardware. If Applle forgets that then they don't sell hardware and they lose out on sales. Microsoft is different. Windows piggy backs on the hardware. It doesn't really matter if the user experience is less than stellar or Microsoft puts itself ahead of the user because the user is forced to accept it since all the other computer manufacturers also provide Windows.  Ps the Windows Central auto correct is wreaking havoc on my GBoard typed comment here. It's super annoying to constantly have to correct the WC auto corrections.
  • Yeah... While it's true that some people can't really be trusted with full access to their computer, it is THEIR computer and they should be able to use it how they want to. And the big problem is that there just isn't enough stuff in the windows store to use it exclusively. Even a total non enthusiast "normal" user probably has an application or two they use that isn't available.
  • I'm curious, what Win32 software is necessary these days for a home user? I am a professional, I tinker, install insider builds, and use AutoDesk and Adobe professional software. I also recognize that I am not in the majority. I think that most people would be just fine on S mode. You get full file explorer, Office, desktop web browser (Edge), and the store apps, which have come a long way. If and when ITunes gets released, I see no real gaps. Hell..... It's the entire argument for a Chromebook. I think W10SMode would be even better than a Chromebook. The only argument, and what could push a Chromebook over would be the integration of Google Play and Android apps...... But then again, you could always turn off S mode. MS needs to just get off their high horse, and build an Android runtime into W10. Then when this Andromeda device ever happens, there will be no argument about app gap.
  • People that don't need win32 apps use smartphones and ipads. They don't need a Windows PC.
  • Yeah because an iPad is really great for laptop things. There is a reason why tablets never fully replaced laptops, both can't do the job of the other good enough. Plain and simple!!
  • Show me a laptop that is locked to an anemic store for apps, that has succeeded? Hint, there's non. The strength of windows is win32. Until there's a viable replacement for win32 on Windows, any version of Windows that tries to remove this feature is catering to an unsustainable market. This is why RT failed, and where I see 10s heading. People that use laptops, including MacBooks do more than just browse the web, run office, and watch youtube, and those people can't thrive on 10S on its current form. For those that only do web browsing, media consumption, and light office work (quick doc edits), smartphones and ipads are more than adequate and a better form factor for those scenarios.
  • Chromebooks until this year. Seriously your question is myopic at best.
  • I couldn't find any stats that show chromeOS at more than 1% of laptop OS Usage worldwide. In fact, it is constantly bundled as part of the "other" category. The US is the only place where chromeOS (chromebooks) has about 3% laptop OS marketshare. I won't call that successful at this stage. The fact that it is talked about on tech blogs, doesn't make it successful just yet.
  • WTF? That's literally not a response to anything I said. You can unlock access to Win32, for free, if you want to. No one is denying you access to Win 32, if you want to. My point is, that a tablet, iPad or otherwise are not up to the task to replace a dedicated laptop for many tasks. Laptops are better suited for productivity, tablets are better suited for content consuming. Both are capable of performing the others primary task but both fall short in providing a good enough experience to do both all the time...
  • Your first comment didn't respond to my original comment. My first comment was not about tablets vs laptops. You brought that up. I was simply telling you that the majority of people go to windows right now for Win32, and the traditional productive PC experience. So 10s is by default taking this feature away. I say again by "DEFAULT". Why initially by something restricted when you're drawn to it by and expects it's traditional openness and flexibility? You might say for security, but isn't that argument void once you disable S-mode? Chromebooks were something new, and promised something new, so people didn't have strong expectations as to what and how it will operate. Thus google had more flexibility in driving the opinion of adopters. Windows is old and has an established legacy and mindshare, which limits its ability to be fully revolutionary. I loved Windows 8, 8.1, it was the future and was revolutionary, but look at the backlash Microsoft got, simply because it strayed away from what most people believe Windows is all about. I personally also liked RT and the idea behind it, but again people don't come to Windows for that. I am of the believe that Microsoft should rebrand any revolutionary OS it releases under a different name, even if it can run all Windows 10 programs. Microsoft with Windows is a victim of its established successful legacy with Windows.
  • Not at all: I replaced my laptop with a Tablet, a Convertible one, in 2002 and never looked back since.
  • It is still a laptop. It has a full keyboard and an Intel processor. It is just another laptop configuration.
  • Not at all: when the Tablet PC were launched they were available in two configurations: Convertible and Slate; nowadays Detachable have replaced the Convertible but what, and this has been the same since their inception, differentiated a Tablet PC from a laptop was the handwriting capabilities enabled by specific hardware and, at the time, OS which was XP Tablet.
  • Microsoft don't sell iPad!? They are trying to build a safe and smaller OS. W10S is the first attempt. Microsoft did it right, they give the opportunity to the user to upgrade to W10 pro and now home. What is the problem here? 
  • There's a gap between consumer expectations of Windows and Microsoft's future Windows ambitions, because of "Windows". I am not debating whether 10s is good or whether it is the right first step. I am simply saying that people come to WINDOWS for a reason, and that reason is not what 10s offers, just as 8, 8.1, and RT didn't. The vast majority of Windows users (which is also the majority of PC users) around the world use Windows for it's legacy strengths, flexibility, openness, and familiarity. All this boils down to Win32. So when this majority looks at any version of Windows released, they expect those three things. This is why the backlash on RT, 8.1 happened. I loved both, but I am also not a traditional or typical user. I like drastic revolutionary changes.
  • The real gap is in browsers.  Edge blows, and Chrome and/or Firefox are not available in the store.  That's enough to make 10 S useless for most people.   Not to mention no iTunes.  You can't expect people to run a "Windows" laptop that has none of these, plus many more. 
  • In facts, I drop Chrome for Edge already (Chrome eats more BAT on my Surface). I can sync my injection (for automation, stop vid autoplay, hide things I don't wanna see or enhancements) between my Alienware and Surface Pro and that's good enough for me. Win10ARM shouldn't be a problem and I plan to dock one on my gamepad for XPA portable gaming.
    * I use XPA on my Alienware and SP.
  • Edge is primary for me.  Firefox for everything else.  I can't stand Chrome.
  • I use Edge as my primary browser.  And iTunes, really?  You can throw a dart and hit a better media app than iTunes.  Especially one Windows, iTunes is horrible.
  • So, you 3 people think you represent the entire world?  Edge is now around 2% share, worldwide.  Its been hovering there - up and down - for the past year.  The top 5 are Chrome 56.31%, Safari 14.44%, UC Browser 8.29%,  Firefox 5.66% and Opera 3.96%.  I don't even know what "UC Browser" is, but I imagine there are lots of people who don't know what Edge is either.   As for iTunes, it is not just a "media app".  It is needed for iphones and ipads, for backups and transferring files.  Hence its popularity.   Until iTunes and Chrome - at the bare mimimum - make it to the MS Store, 10 S has no chance with consumers.  Considering that neither Apple nor Google has ANY incentive to make either available, I wouldn't hold my breath.  
  • Microsoft's logic here:
    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.
  • They dump it because it makes no sense from the beginning. Win10ARM makes more sense (as a programmer, and as a consumer), cause it's a full Win10.
  • Who wants full Windows 10 on a phone? It won't happen. Windows 10 Core or whatever won't be full Windows.
  • As a programmer you just make a UWP app and don't care if its win10m or win10arm.
  • It still is there computer, S Mode or not.  But I think Apple proves that alot of people don't care about unlocking the full  power of the device they have, they just want it to work and be safe.  Not that I think S mode is a great idea, but the whole "freedom" argument is bogus.
  • You mistake the use scenarios for iOS and Android versus Windows and macOS. A small screen needs predictability. That's what Android and iOS offer. A big screen is useful for FLEXIBILITY. Apple has been very careful to keep iOS and macOS far away from each other for GOOD REASON. Microsoft, through it s failure with W10M , is now trying to play catch up but it's not working. Desktop users like me use desktops for flexibility and mobile devices for simple computing tasks. I don't want my desktop to be restricted yet I am happy as a clam in chowder with an iPhone or an Android device on the go. It's lazy to say that users don't value flexibility when the use scenarios are completely different depending on the device in question.
  • There are plenty of apps for Ubuntu. Not only is it free, it doesn't track you and monetize the information it collects.
  • LOL! App support for Linux is **** compared to Windows, and nobody with any sense wants to put up with the pain in the ass that is Linux. You Linux fanboys need to give up the fight. It's over. You're worse than Windows Phone fanboys. Before you even start, spare me the "Android is Linux" nonsense. It's not nor has it ever been. It's simply built on a Linux kernel, but that is where the similarities end. Linux on the desktop, laptop, and tablets was dead before it started.
  • You missed the point. Windows 10S doesn't have apps. Ubuntu can then compete in available apps
  • WIndows S (store only) is still c r a p comparied to other OS's. Take a Android box that has access to the full google store and it puts the Windows store to shame....still.
  • So, lets pick out the one super successful flavor of linux (android) and just say its not linux because i said so. If having linux at its core is not enough to be considered linux, i really don't know what you define as a "system running linux." i'm super interested in hearing what that definition is though. I guess ChromeOS isn't a flavor of linux either.
  • Hubert, that was not an obnoxiou s Linux fanboi. And when you contrast Windows Store apps with what the Ubuntu ecosystem provides you get a very similar experience. I should know, I use Ubuntu but completely ignore the Windows Store because it's no better than Ubuntu (and in many ways worse since Ubuntu provides many useful tools while the Windows Store is full of trivial nonsense).
  • I'm a main programmer in a major game studio / publisher, are you saying we can totally switch to these Ubuntu machines and it'll affect no workflows? How about compatibility with business departments or outside firms?
    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.
  • How did this turn into Ubuntu vs Windows 10 S?  I tried Ubuntu about 2 years ago.  It lasted about 2 weeks.
  • I don't think people really need Win32 anymore. Win32'll become obsolete, It's a matter of time. I'm a programmer. We creators (e.g. programmer, planner, designer, music composer, etc) use 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 version is available), people in the business department (e.g. CS, Cooperate, International Business, etc) work mostly on the web too. My GF, as a APAC manager of a US IT firm, works on the web with virtual teams @ home or in the coffee store. The only non-uwp thing I have installed in my Alienware and Surface Pro are Unreal, VS, Adobe and my hacks. I don't do torrent, I buy digital games, music or video. I use cloud services (Netflix has both web and UWP version). I SVN my projects, resources. I SVN my photos and keep another copy on GDrive cause it's free + unlimited, I store my Android / Windows hacks or software setting files (e.g. VS setting) in OneDrive. I store almost no data locally. I don't need Win32. Besides... if you are a freshman or startup who owns no legacy codes. Win32? Do you code?
    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.
  • Windows dies with Win32. No reason to use Windows without it.
  • " I don't think people really need Win32 anymore. Win32'll become obsolete, It's a matter of time. " I tend to have a different view. I use the full Adobe cc suite, Corel Painter, MS Access, Dataease, Bryce, Mixcraft, Cubase, Autocad, Maya, 3ds Max, Mudbox, Maxwell Studio apart from the usual suspects and I vastly prefer to run it natively on my Workstations, not in the cloud nor as a web service. There's about 1.5 billion win32 software / programs out there, they will not die anytime soon.  
     
  • Work tools for creator isn't it? That's what I said in my post.
  • I would enable this on a device that my kids under 10 years old use.
  • Same here, instead of letting'em go exe hunting on their own... Well, my parents' no tech savvy, S-mode is better for'em (and for me).
    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.
  • Managing 4600 PC with Windows 10S I see 4600 reasons why W10S is great. Let's be honest, if we take away the "techy" people and gamers most people don't make much use of those enless assets being legacy applications.
  • Why Windows 10S and not iPad or Chromebook then? They would be even easier to handle.
  • It's called "common sense".
  • because win10 S is exactly like windows pro minus win32 capability. it works, it looks and has all the features that enterprises use like user restrictions etc. before that IT admin had to do lots of necessary restrictions like group policy modifications to control their users. Win10S can connect to their Lan network seamlessly for printing, data sharing and also had internet explorer 11 builtin if users need it. and thus admins have not to worry about viruses,malwares etc. and you also forget that win10S has Full office available in store now. same things can't be said about ipads or chromebooks.    
  • Not slightly. UWP apps are much safer. However, it's inconvenient.
  • I am a Linux user, and you telling that it is useless only makes me think that you don't know what you're talking about. Saying that it is for hipsters is even worst, that only demonstrates that you don't have a clue about what Linux is used for, and I am not referring to Server flavors which are more used than Windows.
  • I love to see all program come into the store via centennial project. It has so clean and easy installation process and way easier to update
  • I second that.
  • Good to hear, this is how it should've been from the start. Except you shouldn't have to pay to enable full dingoes on any version.
  • That would just raise the price of the laptop up front. MS will either get the licensing fee from the consumer or the OEM. It's not like they're just going to eat it and start giving it away.
  • While I understand the scope of what they are trying to do, I also see it as not working as they intended, or at least what customers will like. What average Joe blow is going to know what Windows 10S is unless they frequent these type of sites? Not many, because outside of techy blogs and sites like this, there is nothing telling consumers what W10S is. They will look for a computer, see its running the latest Windows 10 OS, then get it home only to discover they can't install the apps they have from their old computer unless they pay more to "unlock" the OS from Demo Mode. That's obviously not the reality, but that's what it will come off as to most people.... Demo mode. And there will be some PO'd people, more than when people complained about Microsoft bombarding people to upgrade to W10. Remember the backlash from people buying tablets running Windows 8 RT? There were truly a lot of people confused and angry that they didn't get a full OS. And now they're opening up the doors to do it all over again with W10S. Lastly, why the hell does MS have to keep switching gears on everything they do recently? W10S is still relatively new and their original plan was an ok plan to start off. Now they switched gears again and trying this idea rather than sticking to their original plan with the OS. Do you want to know why the XBox and Surface Products are decently popular and held in decent public regard? Because MS stuck with them rather than giving up and tossing them away when things got tough. Everything else they do just changed, and changes again, and changes once more..... Then they get frustrated when those products don't catch on (also due to lack of marketing on their part) and they then can the whole thing and start on something else without giving them a fair chance and sticking with one plan and direction to show consumers steady progressing (you know, rather than constant shifting of goal posts and lack of communication on their direction.)
  • I understand your frustration but they aren't canning this as an OS if anything they are expanding it. Before this model it was its own SKU therefore it could be the only operating system installed. Now with this model all SKUs can take advantage of this feature and it's no longer limited to one version of the OS. It is another stepping stone to what a few people on this site have been stating 'a modular OS'. I think Windows 10 S was a way to 'test the waters' after their flop with Windows RT to make sure that they did it right this time around so that they could move on to what they really want which is a modular OS.
  • They won't have to pay more on devices with Windows 10 Home, which I imagine most devices are sold with. As far as Windows 10 Pro is concerned, I would expect most devices to be sold with S Mode disabled as I don't think OEMs would purposefully handicap their devices unless that handicap is explicitly requested by a customer, e.g. a school.
  • Well, they actually don't have to pay to disable the S mode for Windows 10 home.
    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.
  • Why? Weak leadership without vision.
  • 60% doesn't mean much on it's own but 60% is 60%. Excuse me, that means exactly what?
  • It means that without context on how many devices the 60% figure refers to, it doesn't mean very much, but even if the number of devices is small, 60% is a higher number than say 20%.
  • And Windows 10 S comes with lower priced computers, cheaper computers tend to be used by more people who just use a compter to check email and browse the web. 10 S will do fine for that.
  • Exactly. Windows 10 S is targeting the correct audience here, and it appears that audience hasn't immediately hated it as many assumed they would. This is good news.
  • What audience? There aren't many 10S machines available let alone sold to consumers.
  • This is how it should have been from the start. Will I use it? No, but I could see schools and parents using it. 
  • The way it should've been from the start
  • No one is asking for this. Isnt it already an option built in? 
  • There is a difference between the option to lock to the store on regular Windows. On regular Windows if you turn on the lock to the store option you still can run currently installed Win32 apps and open a command prompt and stuff like that. On 10S you can't even open a command prompt and no Win32 apps are present unless they are centennial apps from the store.
  • The only reason to use Windows at all is it legacy app catalog. Without it, there really is no point. If Microsoft wants to change that, they need something new and innovative. Something that isn't called Windows.
  • The only people I know still use win32 are creators.
    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.
  • There are so many apps,I use that are Win32 not because there no equivalent in the store but because I'm so used to the interface and specific features of an app that I just don't want to change. I use 10 years old versions of picture viewer and MP3 players just because I like them better than newer versions from the same company or equivalent in the store. I like when apps keep working just like they did in the past, unfortunately companies see a need to change interfaces with new versions
  • I adapt.
    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.
  • Why you use Windows the? Why not Chromebook or Android or iPad or Ubuntu? Without Win32, what is the point of Windows?
  • All crappy weak stuff with no real GPU or CPU.
  • For one, I do XPA gaming on my Alienware on the plane or Surface Pro during my coffee break. And I do want to dock a ARM on my gamepad to continue my game session on the train.
    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?
  • I wouldn't call win32 software "apps" . You do not call a Bugatti "trolley"   :-)
  • The biggest feature of Windows is application compabtity. So Applications from Windows 95+ could run on Windows 10. Depending on what you do, this is/could be a very needed feature. Microsoft tried to attempt this removing this compabtity with Windows RT (due to CPU limitations) and it was a huge failure over all.  Anyway about it, the Microsoft store is still very limited compared to other marketplaces. Some people are fine with it, normally people who use a computer just to check email and browse the web.   For my needs, I can see Windows 10 S the same as Windows RT, it would not fit with what I need for a computer and will never work for anyone who needs compabtity in any form. Just Microsoft trying to lock down people to the store where they make profit off of. It's about money in the long run with S
  • Good one yet again, Microsoft. Once again, more confusion for your average consumer.
  • I read till the end of the article, no confusion...
  • Now explain it to your grandmother.
  • She perfectly understands difference between S and Full.  BTW she still uses one of my ancient WS690 Dell workstations to do Outlook, "Patience", SimCity, Encyclopedia Brittanica (DVD) watching our homevideos  diving in our huge picture database, and creating Mandelas In paint . She is 90 years old
  • "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." This move has only 1 purpose.  To make it easier (and free in most cases) to get out of the S prison.  When running "Windows", people expect to be able to install iTunes and Chrome and whatever else they need and/or already own.  Once you see what is in the store - and more importantly, what is NOT in the store - S loses whatever weak benefits it might have had.   But of course, MS can claim x amount of Windows S sold, in an attempt to convince developers to once again put apps in the store.  Which is the real purpose for S anyway.  
  • With this move, looks like Microsoft doesn't seem to want to get rid of win32 in the near future, this is bad for innovation as some programs are there since Windows 95, that is almost 23 years old. ON the other side, I wished Microsoft would help companies like Apple to migrate iTunes to UWP and Google to build Chrome as UWP so they show how is done and other companies can start to migrate to UWP but looks like there is a long road ahead for Universal Windows Platform to become popular
  • Google have no interest in putting Chrome in the Windows Store.
  • They would if 500 million PC's have a deadline for shutting down Win32 programs in say for example Q4 2019, and starting on January 1st 2020 Windows users can no longer install exe programs on their laptops or PC's this would exclude enterprises, but not consumers. I know this sounds drastic and unreal, but if no one is interested in porting their apps to UWP something like this would certainly change the landscape and consumers would benefit in the long term. This would also help to create new jobs in the software industry Just my 2 cents.
  • Ummm...isn't windows 10 pro more expensive than home? Then why is it free for home to switch s mode and paid for pro usersnl?
  • It makes more sense to have an "S mode" than a different build of W10. It always seemed like something that could be done with a settings toggle.
  • It makes sense to have it, but the implementation is quite poor. It should be more like an account permissions lock.
  • Over 60% of S users do not upgrade to pro.
    Lol.
    What's 60% of 3 users... I mean really.
  • So you think MS has only sold 3 Surface laptops?
  • I think so yeah.
  • I'd sure hope so, but people are generally pretty stupid and think a high price tag is a proof of quality.
  • Did you read the article? It was already addressed in the article that we don't know the actual numbers but that still, 60% is still higher than say 20%.
  • There are basically no Windows 10S devices available. The total number is certainly tiny.
  •   that's funny cause my company has deployed 100's of laptop with win10S. and you said no win10S devices!!
    There are basically no Windows 10S devices available
  • More confusion from our marketing department friends at Redmond. There has to be more to 'S Mode' than what is being touted. In fact, the current Win 10S, there is some confusion about what is ACTUALLY in the OS, and whether it natively has the ability to run Win32 executables. It must still be in there, because even programs that are wrapped with the Desktop Bridge and put into the store, those call the Win32 APIs. So its not like the Win32 code is actually expunged from 10S; just that access to it must be being very carefully controlled somehow. But still, it comes across as just a mode which is basically putting handcuffs on what you can do. So in the case of Home, maybe initially they will not charge to 'take the handcuffs off', but on Pro they will. From a marketing standpoint, how is that a win? This feels like some of the apps in a Store that you can get the basic/limited version for free, but can then pay to get the better one for a 'nominal fee'. Maybe they think Millenials have all fallen for this model (and they may be right) but for anyone with a brain, it makes no sense when applied to the core features of your computer. MS seem to have made some conclusions from their 'marketing experiment' that was 10S in trying to see (a) how many people come off 'S Mode' and (b) whether they are stupid enough to pay to do so. They claim 60% stay where they are. But, what was the target for 10S to begin with? The argument was it was for education (school and college kids) but those machines never even made it to market in time for that. If the artificial main people buying 10S were with Surface Laptop, the only device available, and those didn't 'upgrade', what does that prove? Probably 10S was less than 5% of the market for Windows PCs, and a very dubious one to use to draw conclusions from. So 60% of the 5% didn't switch, and now they assume that translates into the whole of the rest of the Windows market? We've got Home, which is for consumers/home users/really small businesses. And they pretty much accept, those users were the ones that (a) got their Win 10 upgrades for free and wouldn't pay and (b) project they won't wear paying again to take the shackles off. We've got Pro, and now these small business users are being prepared to see if they will effectively wear an additional $49 on top of what they already pay extra for Pro over Home so they can do things like join a domain. That's what it feels like to me. Then you have Enterprise. The play here is to see if enterprises will pay less (or the same) for a restricted version of the OS, or possibly pay even more for the non-restricted version. There's been some debate about having some small business/enterprise users, all they do is access their apps via web; and that Edge should be good enough for this purpose. But my experience of enterprises, the very first thing they do is put Chrome on their laptops/desktops; and many do so because there web apps require compatibility on the client end, and only Chrome guarantees that. The ability and unwillingness of MS to allow Google to create a UWP version of Chrome is what is killing this, in my opinion. It's not in Google's interest to put a browser out there that is riddled wiyh security holes, for either enterprises or consumers/individuals. If you are a consumer/individual, and you use a PC at home, that may be an adjunct to your work PC (but really, you should stop doing that because you are creating a huge security risk) or you are using it for media consumption or creation, gaming or other non-traditional uses. UWP currently does not have the chops for those latter use cases. The Store is completely incapable of supporting current AAA games distribution (unlike Steam), and UWP lacks the ability to use all the APIs and functions critical to good games. Having your apps in the Store as APPXs rather than having to downloaded/run EXEs makes the installation and maintenance/updates much easier, but developers won't plump for this is their main application itself can't do what they need it to do. For instance, I play racing games and those require dedicated wheel/pedal sets and numerous other hardware extensions are needed/desired. Every single one of them comes with EXEs to install device drivers and configuration/helper applications, not one of them (Logitech, Fanatec etc.) have those available via the Store. Same is true of my music; I run Cubase and a USB-MIDI device that are all Win32 apps. I can envisage many, many more of similar scenarios where its the openness of the PC that makes it possible. S Mode just doesn't work for any of these use cases. Its' not like I am just installing EXEs from any random place just to see what happens and if they will cripple my machine. Cubase is a respected company (Steinberg) who also put in all sorts of copy control; games come from Steam and reputable games publishers. I've got phone-synch apps from the likes of LG and Samsug, who again are unlikely to have stuff that break security. So all these alleged attack vectors, simply don't exist for me. And if you aren't tech savvy, you aren't about to be going out there to search for apps that are going to be such vectors in the first place (like browser extensions or utility hacks).
  • The argument was it was for education (school and college kids) but those machines never even made it to market in time for that. If the artificial main people buying 10S were with Surface Laptop, the only device available, and those didn't 'upgrade', what does that prove?
    win10S sku is available in latest media creation tool, probably that's what it proves. 
  • You guys are trying to spin this just like Thurrott did and go along with the company line of saying this is now just a mode or a part of Windows. That's not true at all. If it was just a part of Windows you could go back and forth whenever you wanted. For instance, I could use the full version of Windows and when my nephew wants to get on my PC, I could switch it into S mode for him. That would be a part of Windows. This is not that. This is more Ski's. To say it's not is blatantly trying to fool your customers. The fact that you have to upgrade from 1 thing to another means this isn't part of Windows, it's a SKU of Windows. Only now there is more of them. Not only that. But just wait until the average Windows user out there like our parents go and buy a new computer and realize how different it is, that they can only use the store. They won't care why, they won't know or care that they can upgrade. They will return it and move to Apple or Google. MS just doesn't get it and apparently neither do the people that cover MS. The average Windows user is probably 50 years old. They don't like change, they don't like apps on the PC. This is why Windows 8 failed. Young people don't use Windows, they do 6 use any MS products, techy people like us make up a very small portion of their base. That leaves the average person, our parents for instance who want to go to the store, spend 600 bucks and come home with a computer that works just like the 1 they are replacing. This is another huge mistake. MS is just lost at this point. It's embarrassing.
  • "The average Windows user is probably 50 years old. They don't like change, they don't like apps on the PC. This is why Windows 8 failed. Young people don't use Windows"   You have metrics to prove this?  Because all of the kids in my extended family except for the two youngest ones (9 & 11 yrs) use either a Windows laptop or tablet. I do agree the reason Windows 8 failed is because people do no like change...  Windows 10 was a compromise.
  • This article and Windows 10 S got me to thinking about what win32 apps do I still need and use at home.  I came up with only one.  A DSP car audio processor application.  All other apps that I use are available in the store or installed by default. (Edge, Outlook, Citrix etc.)  So if not for the one application I guess I would've fallen under the 60% that won't upgrade.
  • I did the same thing as you. I found out that I only use 2 win32 apps that I can't find in the store. One is a PDF tool that I use to combine, separate and create PDFs and the other was... I can't remember but probably only used it once. Honestly there is almost no reason I couldn't work in Windows 10 S and be happy most of the time.    These devices and it's OS has a place and I think Microsoft should stick with it. May parents, my kid, my in-laws and my wife's classroom could all use Windows 10s. Hell, it's made for all of them really. Chrome OS has grown leaps and bounds by marketing to these groups. Windows 10s could steal some of that share. 
  • I'm psyched about this as the only non-MS programs I use are on my main work computer and primary laptop, mostly accounting, adobe and a few legacy programs (WordPerfect and ACDsee Classic, which I love!). Would be great to have ability to select 10 S on other devices. I'm all good w/ this plan.
  • LOL at Zac's feeble attempt to somehow depict that 60% figure as good news and a sign of welcome market acceptance to Windows 10 S. Let's take a look at the reality of the situation:  - When it comes to low-end hardware (to which that statistic applies), I can only find such devices marketed towards education environments (i.e. schools). The number of these which have found their way into the hands of the "average consumer" are surely negligible. - A brief glance at these education-focused models shows that, in just about all instances, the customer can choose whether they want Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 S installed from the factory. This means the school (or whoever orders them) who uses S actively decided to purchase S over Pro for a given hardware configuration. Because these computers are likely being purchased by an IT department, I think it's safe to assume in most cases that the decision to purchase S is made with an understanding of its technical limitations and streamlined capabilities. - Assuming the previous statements are true, it should surprise us that the 60% stat is not higher than it is. Interpreted another way, it says that over 30% of customers who intentionally purchased 10 S and were probably well aware of its restrictions when doing so still opted to perform the upgrade to Pro.  Of course, this still doesn't even get into the question of how many customers chose S over Pro for the exact same model of computer to begin with. I guarantee Microsoft would have touted those numbers at some point if they were at all promising. It sometimes just pains me to see you, Zac, dish out these lazy MS "rah rah" statements when I know you are capable of doing so much better. Your past work is certainly proof of this.
  • Those 40% are the Surface Laptop buyers.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed reading some of the comments. Seems like you guys have a lot of free time to write.
  • That's S
  • The potential for a good idea is there, but the execution is horrible. People are going to be incredibly confused. You now leave customers to ask which TWO operating systems are on their PCs. Am I getting W10 or W10S? If I get W10S, is it free to get to W10, or do I have to pay $50 because they slapped Pro under it, not Home? It's a poor business model, IMO. It would make sense to just make it all on top of W10 Home and give the paid option, so there's no confusion on what you have to do to get out of the Applesque walled garden of W10S. Also, a reminder that Microsoft charged $50 to upgrade from W10S to W10 Pro, but charges you an extra $100 on top of the already-egregious Surface Laptop pricing if you want W10 Pro out of the box. Their business models are becoming increasingly anti-consumer.
  • I agree charging $100 extra to get W10 Pro out of the box is excessive. For MS Windows is essentially free. 
  • An advantage of S mode is security. RunnIng apps in an isolated environment like UWP apps is safer. But that's all. If you like freer and faster apps, then S mode and UWP apps are a wrong choice.
  • Well, you know what they say.   S happens.  
  • What's the point of putting S on together with the regular versions? Sounds like using up hard drive space. Microsoft, should dust off WM and get with it. What's the point of leaving HP, New York Police Depart and Consumers short of what they really want and oh leaving the OEMs with nothing to grow the consumer side of the market. Go ahead Microsoft and hire the people and get back to Mobile of which there's is a whole market waiting for your entrance.
  • It's one version.  It is not using more hard drive space.  It will just be easier to turn off S and go to full Windows, which is what most people will want.   WM is not coming back.  It is dead and buried.   BTW, consumers really want Android and iOS.  They couldn't care less about Windows Phones.  No one is waiting for Microsoft's "entrance" into mobile.  MS was there for many years and no one cared.  Which explains why MS is no longer selling phones.  
  • People that get high end Windows 10 Pro PCs with S mode turned on will get screwed. Warning to OEMs: I won't buy any PC that attempts to pull that stunt.
  • :))) FAIL
  • Embarrassing.
  • This is idiotic. If S is simply a mode of windows then we lose the advantages S brings, notably smaller footprint and increased security by having points of weakness removed. if it's still windows 10 then all malware has to do is get around the S setting since all the software will still be there, and you know that's inevitable. That being said, nobody wants to us S, since the app store is such a joke. Why MS is still trying to taking a cut of store sales i'll never understand. Maybe if they dropped that they'd make some more sales because people would be more willing to put apps in the store.    To be clear i think window is a dead platform and MS should stop investing in it. Android has already won and they should start making sure android apps work on windows better than they already do. I HATE android, but the battle is over. 
  • Well, I wouldn't say Windows is dead.   But it certainly is beginning to smell funny at this point.    However, there is a VAST amount of business software that ONLY runs on Windows.  More than you can imagine.   Custom, industry specific, we-depend-on-this-every-day stuff.  This is not going to go away quickly, but some of it is slowly being moved to phones and tablets.  I see this where I work. Windows has certainly lost consumer mind share.  But it is solidly entrenched in business, and will be there for many more years.       
  • Eventually Microsoft will release a W 10 S machine that cannot be updated to run Win32 applications.  Its coming.  I'd buy one for $99.  That is about all that one would be worth to me. Such a device should not need a lot in terms of hardware anyway.
  • Interesting step, I was hoping they would phase out 10 home. This is now a more confusing scenario. Personally the way I see it should be Polaris, 10 S, 10 pro, Enterprise and Education. As this way you have a larger subset of users using store apps. With the S mode it works for home users somewhat but still have reduced toolset capability for troubleshooting that really is irksome. Now they will have to re-educate the average joe about the difference between Windows 10 Home with S mode and Windows 10 Home... lol. Alot more work in my opinion. On the pro side, locking it behind a pay wall is the wrong way to go about it. With 10 Pro you want all the features which is why you're paying more. In my opinion this is an absolute charlie foxtrot. I am begining to fear it's not just petty office politics running rife but incompetancy as well. This whole S mode has more disadavantages than advantages and it penalises users. You would have thought Microsoft will slowly guide 10 S users who do not use Win32 applications at all towards polaris. To fuel further store app and ecosystem growth. It also undermines the direction they are going with polaris, andromeda and windows core. Get andromeda and windows core out first then push out s mode for core devices. This current implementation is heavily flawed.
  • Skimming the article made my head hurt, and I avidly follow Microsoft news. I can't imagine what a regular user will think. That being said, I hope Microsoft tightens their product line and makes their communications clear to minimize confusion. I want to see something like Windows 10 S Mode succeed since it'll make deployments easier and theoretically users safer.
  • Same here, I want to see Microsoft succeed and I was hoping they would phase out home in favour of 10S. It would make life sooo much easier and at the same time fuel store growth. I get why they want to place a paywall on 10 Pro to switch off S mode, short term profits thats why. Microsoft has hit the inflect point and this is the true test for any CEO in terms of direction, competency and foresight. I truly hope this paywall on 10 Pro will not happen and will be the last of such decisions. I want both Microsoft and Satya Nadella to succeed however they aren't making it easy on themselves by pursuing a flawed pathway. They should be focusing on building the store for Polaris and Andromeda first not short term profits.
  • Windows 10s on the new "Surface laptop" was a strange thing to me. Microsoft has wisely changed the Surface laptop OS options so you can buy it preloaded with Windows 10 pro. Windows 10 is good for those folks who want to limit where Their computers get their programs/Apps from so their workers/Users get virus free apps and win32 centennial desktop PC programs that are in the Windows 10 Microsoft store. Most people I think will avoid Windows 10S because they want to put non Microsoft store Win32 desktop programs on their PC's