Microsoft may soon let all PC users easily switch to Windows 10 S mode

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

Although Microsoft has made it easier to switch off Windows 10 S mode on a device running Windows 10 Home or Pro, there is no easy way to switch S mode on. The only way to do it right now is to either buy a device with Windows 10 S mode enabled out of box, or create new installation media that has the S mode switch enabled. There's no in-OS switch to enable S mode.

All of the Windows 10 S devices you can buy right now

This seems like an oversight, as Microsoft's decision to turn Windows 10 S into a mode was fueled by complaints that Windows 10 S should have been an option that the user can configure with ease. That's what Microsoft allowed when it turned Windows 10 S into a mode, but only with a way to switch it off. In other words, a device that comes with Windows 10 S can switch out of S mode with a simple click of a button, but it can't go back without recovering the entire OS.

Turning on Windows 10 S mode with the flip of a switch

Starting with Redstone 5, it appears Microsoft is rectifying this oversight. References of a "Switch to S mode" have shown up in the Settings app on the latest Insider Preview builds, which suggest Microsoft is going to allow users to enabled S mode on devices that have it turned off. It's unclear if this will work on devices that never had S mode enabled to begin with, although I don't see why that wouldn't be allowed, because S mode is just a mode now and doesn't depend on OS versions.

In the future, it's possible that users will be able to turn any PC into Windows 10 S with a simple switch accessed via the Settings app. That might prove useful to some, especially those who are OK with only downloading apps from the Microsoft Store. Microsoft could eventually offer the S mode option when setting up a new PC for the first time, too, highlighting its benefits over a normal, disabled S mode install.

Of course, Microsoft would never enable S mode by default on a device that never had S mode enabled before, but prompting the user of the option's existence might convince some people to enable it for added security.

What say you?

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments if you're interested in an option that allows you to enable S mode with ease.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

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.

  • Personally I feel like Microsoft should offer Windows 10 in S Mode for free. It'd help drive more store sales while offering the vast majority of people a more secure OS.
  • I believe it's free. It comes with Home and Pro. You don't have to pay to switch to S mode and back. At least once this is rolled out.
  • There are already over 600 million Windows 10 pc's with access to the store. The fact that doesn't seem to be a big enough install base for store apps to take off strongly hints that adding a limited mode to Windows won't change anything.
  • How many of those 600 million actually access the store at all? That number appears to be tiny. Microsoft certainly isn't bragging about it.
  • It is free.
  • Where can I download the ISO?
  • the ISO is free to download its the key that cost money. troll some place else.
  • I thought there was no option to switch to S mode was because in normal mode, there may already have non-Store apps installed, as well as maybe other dependencies (I don't know what, just maybe) already being used, that may not be in S mode, that restricts it from switching it on.
  • Why would I want to switch to S mode? Maybe if I had kids at home and wanted to restrict them to the store apps for added security. But then I would not want them to be able to easily shut S mode off. Perhaps the 'switch' needs to be protected by a password.
  • If it doubled the battery life of my laptop (which is my 2nd PC) I'd gladly use S-Mode.
  • The question of installed non-store apps launching remains. And is S-mode really faster than original Windows?
  • I can see it being useful for a shared PC where a power user may want S mode off to install Win32 apps but may want to enable it to let a relative use it without accidentally downloading and installing a virus/malware.
  • Exactly. Or a scenario where, for example, I will be traveling and want to switch to S Mode for extra security, as long as I am willing and able to make the trade-off that I will not be able to run Win32 apps.
  • Yes that is exactly what I would like to do. Although there needs a mechanism for Win32 apps to self update.
  • Who in their right mind would want to do that? There is already a system in Windows 10 to stop people installing software that is not from the store, that should be good enough. In fact that system is fine because you can install software, then set the machine to not install any more. what will happen with software already installed if windows 10 S mode is activated?
  • true but your average user isn't even gonna go looking for it
    or even know it exist until someone point it to them
  • I use the feature you're talking about already, and it's great. However, the purpose of S Mode is more for performance and security than just not allowing installations from random places. S Mode supposedly limits what API calls can be made, and sandboxes a lot of functionality. The point is, it's more than blocked access. I don't know how they're getting past that other than they may be containerizing non S Mode applications some way to allow for the switch back and forth.
  • How do you access that feature?
  • Go to settings, apps and on the right pane, there is apps and features, under that is installing apps and then a drop down menu, which will allow you to choose bewteen installing apps from anywhere, warn you if installing from outside the store or install from store only
  • this will be great no more PowerShell or ISO creation required to switch to S mode I can't wait.
  • I like the idea options are great
  • I would like to se low cost Windows 10 s tablets