Watch how easy it is to switch from Windows 10 S to Pro on the Surface Laptop

Surface Laptop display
Surface Laptop display

The Surface Laptop is just over a month old, so we're revisiting some topics including the controversial decision to ship it with Windows 10 S. While that OS has some high points, I recently documented some early issues with it too when using it daily.

The solution to Windows 10 S is obvious: just switch to Windows 10 Pro. We've had people ask what it's like to do the switch and many wonder if it's a long process e.g. does it need to download a huge file to upgrade?

In this new short video, Mark Guim will demonstrate how to make that switch in real time.

I've noted in the review that switching to Windows 10 Pro is about as fast as brewing a cup of coffee, but now you can see the whole thing happen for real. You be the judge if it's a hassle or not.

Unfortunately, what is a bother is going from Pro back to Windows 10 S, but we imagine few will want to do that. Just in case though, we did make a tutorial explaining how to reinstall that version of the OS for the Surface Laptop.

Luckily, switching to Windows 10 Pro is free through 2017 for Surface Laptop owners. In 2018, Microsoft will reportedly charge $50 for the Pro license, which is $50 cheaper than going from Home to Pro ($99). License fees are fixed into the product price meaning whether you pay now or later for a Pro license, you are going to get that $50 fee somewhere.

For more on Windows 10 S make sure you read our mini-review, check out our full Surface Laptop review or see our other Surface Laptop articles that deep dive in the nitty gritty.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • A better solution already exists: enable the option to install apps from the store only. No need to buy a restricted version of Windows then have to pay later to upgrade to restore missing functionality.
  • Quick, let me buy the Surface Laptop with Windows 10 Pro...oh wait. Yeah, so that's not a solution. And as far as "pay later", yeah, you either pay when you buy the device (so tack on $50 to Surface Laptop) or you pay later. Either way, you are 100 percent paying for a Pro license at some point. If one makes you feel better than the other, that's nice but moot.
  • Daniel, do you think this could be counter productive in regards to getting developers to create apps and for society to move to cloud based future instead of locking Windows to it's legacy based current status and further in the dust being Android and Apple? I'll stick with Windows S when i purchase mine. Thanks for the information.
  • Nah, to be honest, I see this as more awareness right now and don't think it'll have much impact at all. A cloud based future where we stream the OS and app is many years off. HBO can't even stream GoT on a premier night yet. I think people are wrong about the "getting developers to make UWP apps". While this will help I think this is more about getting consumers to give up on .exe way of installing things, which is a good move. What gets devs to UWP is (1) better tools (2) more tools (3) monetary compensation and momentum. Surface Laptop may help with the #3 slightly (Surface sales are like 1% of all PCs), but it's the other two that matter more.
  • Thanks for the response and thoughtful insight!
  • It's aready here in Chrome OS.  
  • Dan your first sentence makes little sense, why would you buy a Surface laptop without Windows 10 Pro on it, is that even possible to do? What's the point of paying 3k to not get a device with Windows 10 Pro?
  • I took his point to be that it doesn't exist so why complain about it? I don't seem to remember people complaining so much about the Chromebook pixel, but its hardware was drastically overdone too and at the time chrome is was a bit meh.. Also funny to me the bipolar nature of many Microsoft fans. We want all the apps! Why aren't there more UWP apps? I personally think MS need to kill off W10 me and give oems home for consumer devices. W10 pro should be for high end hardware like surface and other Ultrabooks.
  • Except on the Surface Laptop you don't have to pay to upgrade as the upgrade is free for a year from when you buy it.
  • Not bad. I'm impressed. Hopefully lesser hardware will still post respectable times to upgrade, but even still it is a simple process.
  • What's the phone on the video? I thought you are using a HP ELITE 3.
  • Mark made the video, not me.
  • Looks like a Samsung Galaxy 8 Plus.....
  • The Pro install must be hidden in there somewhere for the upgrade to happen that quick, bet it's not too long until someone reverse engineers it and unlocks the Pro features
  • The hard part is the surprise when your new PC shakes you down right after you get it home. Hopefully Microsoft has knowledgeable sales associates making sure everything Windows 10S goes to a consumer who knows exactly what they are buying. This could easily backfire into negative press as people unknowingly get these devices home.
  • sweet music 
  • if I switch to windows S, i can switch back to windows pro.?
  • You have to use the recovery tool to go back to 10s. So it's easy to go to Pro from S, but not so easy the other direction.