Windows 10 S and S Mode rumors

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 4, 2018
Windows, Windows 10

When Microsoft revealed Windows 10 S in mid-2017, some believed that it was a return of the dead-before-it-shipped operating system Windows RT.

It was a low-cost version of Windows 10 designed for low-end hardware and "light-use" environments, and it only supported Windows Store apps.

Microsoft advertised it as more secure, as Windows 10 S was designed to run only Windows Store apps and not legacy Windows programs. While this is beneficial from a security point of view, it is also very limiting in regards to what users can do with the operating system.

It needs to be noted however that regular versions of Windows 10 can be as secure if users are careful when it comes to Win32 software that they run on their devices.

One of the core differences between Windows 10 S and Windows RT is that Windows 10 S customers can upgrade the device to Windows 10 Pro. Microsoft ran a promotion back then which allowed customers to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free for a limited period of time.

Brad Sams revealed recently on Thurrott that "60% of users remain on Windows 10 S" while most who did switch did so in the first 24-hours of operation. Sams cites documents that he "was able to view" as the source of the information.

Windows 10 S evolves into Windows 10 with S Mode

More interesting than that is a reported change in strategy in regards to Windows 10 S. According to Sams, Microsoft plans to switch from offering Windows 10 S as a SKU of its won to a new approach which the company calls Windows 10 with S Mode.

There will be a Home S, a Pro S and also an Education S. Customers who run these devices may upgrade their version of Windows 10 with S Mode to the "regular" version. Windows 10 Home S, for example, can be upgraded to Windows 10 Home. While some upgrades are free, Sams mentions Windows 10 Home S and Education S to Windows 10 Home, others are not. The upgrade of Windows 10 Pro S to Windows 10 Pro costs $49 according to Sams.

Windows 10 Pro S is not available in all commercial editions. Sams lists Core+ and Workstation as being without S-versions specifically.

Windows 10 with S Mode customers may install antivirus or security applications in S Mode according to Brams. It is unclear how that is going to work, considering that there are not any security UWP applications other than those that Windows 10 ships with.

Does it mean that admins may install Win32 security applications on Windows 10 with S Mode systems? It seems unlikely that this is going to be the case considering that this impacts the edge that Windows 10 with S Mode has over regular editions of Windows 10.

We don't know at this point how the various S Mode versions of Windows 10 differ. Do they differ only in regards to the upgrade path or are there other differences as well? Will Windows 10 Pro S support features such as the Group Policy that Windows 10 Home S does not?

Closing Words

Microsoft has yet to confirm (or deny) any of that. The new system seems more complicated than the old. As a user, you have to pick one of the different versions of Windows 10 with S Mode now and not the only one that is available if you want a computer running Windows 10 S. As a manufacturer of computers, you have more options as well now instead of just one.

Unless Windows 10 Home with S differs from Windows 10 Pro with S in other ways than in the upgrade path that is available, it is unclear to me how this new 10 with S Mode is beneficial to customers.

Granted, Microsoft has yet to reveal information on the changes and things may make more sense once the company reveals the information to the public.

In other news, a leak suggests that the next feature update for Windows 10 is called the Windows 10 Spring Creators Update. That's anything but creative but it fits the "not-very-creative" nature of the feature updates as well.

Now You: What's your take on Windows 10 with S Mode?

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  1. jern said on February 6, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    It comes down to “producers” and “consumers.” Smart phones are overwhelming the market, and the majority of their users are media “consumers.” They don’t need a full scale OS for word processing, spread sheets, high level video editing, etc. Enter Windows Lite attached to the MS “store.” Apple did it successfully with its App store, why shouldn’t MS?

    This also helps MS transition to a cloud based SAAS system. I think MS and all the other tech companies would like users in the cloud because it reduces the their costs = more profit.

    For the three months ending 31 Dec. MS’s personal computing revenue only increased by $281 million over 2016. MS’s personal computing segment is basically treading water. It has to do something to change the situation, but all this messing with OS designations isn’t going to do it.


    1. John Fenderson said on February 7, 2018 at 12:04 am

      “Apple did it successfully with its App store, why shouldn’t MS?”

      Apple could get away with it because they have an extremely loyal user base. Microsoft does not — it has a trapped user base.

      “I think MS and all the other tech companies would like users in the cloud because it reduces the their costs = more profit.”

      The cost reduction of going to the cloud isn’t as great as people think. I think there are two reasons why software companies want people in the cloud:

      1) It’s a way of getting people to rent software rather than own it.
      2) It allows the development of another revenue source through data mining.

  2. KeZa_BE said on February 6, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    Micro needs to make a entirely new OS like Windows NewX or something because this Windows 10 will not hold. How many are complaining with this bloated OS and W10 phone has already gone down the tube and this OS will follow but they need to find ways to make it happen but it will not work…

    Make an entire new OS without a registry (O no an AppelMicro :) ) or make an OS where the core and the basic settings can stay with every big upgrade and let the people choose which programs they want because all what this W10 does is make a headache with all this BS apps, settings changes, privacy BS, and so on and so on….

  3. yronnen said on February 5, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    One system for all devices, or completely locking down the desktop just doesn’t work. Even Apple, kings of the wall gardened systems, doesn’t mess around with OSX.

  4. John Fenderson said on February 5, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    “What’s your take on Windows 10 with S Mode?”

    It sounds like Microsoft simply can’t resist making their licensing programs so complex and convoluted that they are unintelligible by people who aren’t willing to put hours into figuring them out.

  5. Clairvaux said on February 5, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    I thought that Windows 10 was the last version of Windows, you could put it on your machine and sleep tight everafter. Bill Gates (or his father) would creep into your PC at night to fix it when it would be necessary, and you did not need to bother a bit.

    I think I will stay with my old, clunky and messy Windows 7. After that ? I don’t know. Books, maybe ? Pen and paper ?

    1. dark said on February 6, 2018 at 1:28 am

      Switch to Linux Mint.

      1. Anonymous said on February 7, 2018 at 6:10 am

        @ Dark

        Really Switch to Linux Mint. << That's what you said dark. Why Is It better or "Safer" ??

        If it's so safe or safer, is that why do come out with security updates, and patches Dark ??

        It is for non Techie People ??

        When was the last time you seen the average user know how to download a .iso dark from the linux mint website dark ?? Or even burn a CD from that .iso dark ??

        If i switch all the users to Linux Mint are they going to still call me about issues dark ??

        I don't know how to reset my password for my CAC card Using Linux Mint dark ??

        How to i use this OS ?? Where is all my "icons" at Dark ??
        I have lost all my deleted emails dark help me find them dark ??

        Where are my contacts at for my email dark ?? What is the Email Client am i going to use, and where is it at dark ??

        I have made 5 tickets in your name dark, you have 250+ users that are calling you for help dark ?? And you're the only person in the IT dept. How are you going to fix this with a NEW OS dark ??

        Today dark, i had a issues with one of the users i was helping. Issue was customer couldn't login to skype issue. Should I remove the Win7 Laptop for this issue dark ? Do you think i should give them Linux Mint to solve this problem with a login to skype problem dark ?? How do you think i should fix this user issue dark ??

        The point is, you need to fix the task at hand, stop try to give the user more problems and issues thinking that putting a better or safer OS in the users hands. Users are still going to be calling you for issues no matter what OS you give that person. I sure can tell you NEVER have worked in IT before.

        I should send all the users an email with a youtube video link on how to install or update linux mint ??

        Oh yeah !! You have ONLY 1 day to deploy the OS, and fix all the users issues and calls.

        Here is some music to listen to why you work to fix the users issues dark !!

        Sudo make me a sandwich !!

      2. Supergirl said on February 8, 2018 at 5:53 pm

        Anon You have failed so hard at Life……

        Really Switch to Linux Mint. << That's what you said dark. Why Is It better or "Safer" ??
        Yes Coward It Is.Safer by design Safer by Pride of creation.

        If it's so safe or safer, is that why do come out with security updates, and patches Dark ??
        TO KEEP IT SAFE… MORON! A base W7 install probably needs a Gig of pstches & updates

        It is for non Techie People ?? YES!

        I am a Point & Click only User of Computers I know ONLY what I get forced to know . dark
        I just wanna turn on my comp & do what I want.
        Microsoft's garbage products forced me to learn.I resented it.
        Now I know enough to download a linux distro burn it on to DVD & boot it onto a EFI Computer.
        I look it over if I like it it installs ITSELF Quickly & cleanly..If not theres plenty more distros to choose.
        Amazingly NONE of my win7 set-ups will update without hours & hours of M$ nonsense.

        Granted it took some work to free myself from the Abusive yolk of Slavery that Microsoft tries to impose.
        I have a UEFI Win8 comp with a nasty UEFI virus….I blame Microsoft
        BIOS was pretty safe until They got involved.

        I dont use Mint, its OK but I prefer my MX-16
        NO windows I have ever used is so pleasant.
        thats from Win95 thru win8.1 Ive been toying with Comps a long time
        With Linux the best is yet to come….Apple & Microsoft…I dont think so…

        When was the last time you seen the average user know how to download a .iso
        from the linux mint website dark ?? Or even burn a CD from that .iso??

        Anyone whos THAT Much of a newbie doesnt have windows/Mac expirience either
        so they would be better off starting with Linux too!

        Everything else you wrote is just Butthurt trolling & I'll ignore it.

      3. Anonymous said on February 9, 2018 at 6:03 am

        Sorry i got you triggered Supergirl aka Dark !!!

        Everything else you wrote is just Butthurt trolling & I’ll ignore it.

        So hilarious that you did read it, but you’re going to ignore it right??

        For The Lulz..

        Question Was:
        If it’s so safe or safer, is that why do come out with security updates, and patches Dark ??
        In your words: Because TO KEEP IT SAFE… MORON!

        3rd grade reading level time for you Supergirl
        Well jackass, if it’s so.Safer by design Safer by Pride of creation.

        Don’t you think The Safer OS by safer by design, wouldn’t have to have updates and patches.

        To keep it safer from malware supergirl ??

        Because it’s so “SAFE or “SAFER” Supergirl ??

        Didn’t seem take much to get you going here or even butthurt in your words.
        You couldn’t ignore this if your life depends on this website.

        Linux isn’t really more secure than Windows. It’s really more a matter of scope than anything. No matter what malware, exploits, and bad users exist EVERYWHERE. One being more secure than the other is nothing more than anecdotal evidence.
        But you didn’t know that did you, because you’re not a windows admin or a linux admin ?

        Malware exists for *nix, Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, Symbian, Xbox(yes), hard drives, and bios.

        The day will come with your linux box is running and someone login and steals your passwords, banking information, and your SSN.

        Oh but wait you said it’s safer, that can’t happen !!

        Keep telling yourself that, how much “SAFER” it is till then !!

        Every OS is equally secure in the hands of a competent administrator”. For a more detailed answer, you’ll need to think about things like: what programs are running? What is your patch process? End-user or server? What kind of network infrastructure is it running in? Are you include in your statistics that your average Linux user tends to be more tech-savy than your average Windows user (and therefore less likely to download and run suspicious files)

        Yes average users, you wouldn’t know that because you’re not a average user in your words.
        And the reason why is because the average user just wants it to “WORK’ they don’t care what the OS is, just want it to work and get it done.

        But you wouldn’t know that, because you don’t working in IT. Today i had to help a user how to turn on the laptop computer, do you think that’s not an average user ??
        So why do you think they call it the HELP DESK in IT ??

        Oh Yes, Lets see how much “Safer by design Safer by Pride of creation”.

        Cause a denial of service or possibly execute arbitrary code with privileges of the user running an application that uses the MiniUPnP library.

        An attacker in the guest could use this to expose sensitive guest information, including kernel memory. This update allows libvirt to expose new CPU features added by microcode updates to guests.

        Expose sensitive guest information << Does that mean that your personal information like your banking, or SSN can be exposed using your safer OS dark ??
        Oh sorry i meant to say Supergirl !!

        Oh holy crap on a cracker, it's so much safer !!!!

        Hilarious that you answer questions with a question.
        DO you act like that at work when your supervisor/boss is asking you a question about when you're going to be done with a project that you're working on ??

        Work for Friday:

        Patch Centos Servers Update FreeBSD Servers, Because it's a "SAFER OS" .
        Fix broken motherboard from shit Supermicro.

        Thanks for the Lulz, and showing what you still don't understand or don't know about IT.

  6. KoO said on February 5, 2018 at 5:28 am

    This kind of of attitude by microsoft is not new they have done this before at least two times. Remember windows 95 24 August 1995 after it was patched to 95a Then out came 95b and 95c which you had to buy, it was not a free upgrade. The money making words were (Supplement Disc)
    Then windows 98 25 June 1998 killed all the work they had done on 95 to get it stable .Then after patching some life into 98 and all the trouble users had with it.
    They released windows 98se 23 April 1999 what was a fully patched 98 with a few add ons they made you buy that as will.The money making words were (se) second edition a fixed up 98

    @Sir Pixelot you keep talking like that an you will be working for microsoft in no time.

  7. dark said on February 4, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    Microsoft should focus on making the standard account the default instead. It is default in Linux for decades now.

  8. Sir Pixelot said on February 4, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Here’s an idea, they should make Windows 10 Home S free, and then charge you to upgrade to Windows 10 Home full.

    1. John Fenderson said on February 6, 2018 at 12:58 am

      But the (non-S) Home version is awful — I don’t think it’s worth the price at “free”.

  9. ULBoom said on February 4, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Didn’t even know S versions existed until a few months ago since a chromebook clone isn’t of interest to me and the higher priced Surfaces are far too expensive. I guess the Thin market has room for MS. MS is only going to sell S Windows at some point and continue to allow upgrades, hoping most users will stay trapped in the Store. All very confusing, consumers won’t know what they’ve bought! MS is continuing to try and sequester customers by aggressively forcing Defender, now this. Win 10 Pro is really the only version worth using IMO but takes a lot of tinkering to make MS leave you alone.

    I get the impression from industry wide moves to corral customers that the romance days of tech are fading fast, everything is so farcically junked up now that uneven performance is no longer acceptable. Win 10 installs finally surpassed Win 7 by a tiny amount; Win 7 is truly ancient but works so well those who love its smoothness won’t switch. Why not make Win 10 versions just as competent? Some updates are fine, some figuratively pour glue into the OS! All these S versions can’t help.

    I have no use for any OS that forces a Store; the ploy that security is oh-so-important and a Store gives that is just an appeal to a higher cause; phone Stores are notorious for malware and I doubt MS or apple will ever be able to block all naughty stuff from their Stores. Our kids grew up on a wide open Win desktop, XP Pro to Win7 Pro to Win10 Pro and only once downloaded something odious, cool web search or something that was easy to obliterate. Shows from a n=2 “study” of uncountable naive clicks that user behavior may not be the biggest factor. Security comes more from actively maintaining machine security, not from the OS manufacturer limiting users’ behaviors.

    Think I’ll try Linux.

    1. John Fenderson said on February 8, 2018 at 10:48 pm

      “Win 10 installs finally surpassed Win 7 by a tiny amount”

      This is debatable. Good stats don’t exist, so install counts are always a fairly rough estimate. But they’re probably pretty close now.

    2. John Fenderson said on February 5, 2018 at 5:50 pm

      @ULBloom: “I have no use for any OS that forces a Store”

      I agree 100%. The only “stores” that I actually find helpful are Linux repositories, and even then it would be unacceptable if the only option for getting software was to use one.

  10. AnorKnee Merce said on February 4, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    When Win 10 Home, Pro and Ent were first launched by M$ on 29 July 2015, M$-shills promoted Win 10 as a consolidation of the many editions of Win 7(= Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Pro, Ultimate & Ent), which would result in M$ being able to provide better or less fragmented support to their users. So, the M$-shills encouraged Win 7 users to quickly accept the free 1-year upgrade offer to Win 10.

    Today, we know that the M$-shills were wrong, ie Win 10 has even more editions than Win 7. In fact, what M$ are doing to Win 10 is worse than what they did to Win 7, ie purposely crippling and splitting Win 10 into many more editions, so that they could “nickel-n-dime” the consumers and profit-gouge the enterprises(= milk their cash-cows).

    1. lehnerus2000 said on February 5, 2018 at 12:43 am

      Agreed. :)
      W10 has a ludicrous amount of variants.

      Also on other forums I’ve seen people claim that you can’t use Linux Distros because you have to “Clean Install” every 6 months.

      This hasn’t been true (for the Distros I use) for several years, but it is true for many people trying to “upgrade” W10.
      Personally I’ve already had to “Clean Install” W10 almost as many times as XP (which I used as my main OS from 2004 -2010).

      BTW, that’s not including the number of times I had to “Clean Install” the W10 Insider Program versions.

      1. John Fenderson said on February 8, 2018 at 10:46 pm

        “Also on other forums I’ve seen people claim that you can’t use Linux Distros because you have to “Clean Install” every 6 months.”

        I’ve seen people make all kinds of weird claims about Linux — but I hadn’t seen that one! I’ve been using Linux for over 20 years (just a couple of years after Linus’ first release), and I don’t remember ever having to do that with stable releases. I have had to do that with prereleases, but that’s not the same thing.

  11. AnorKnee Merce said on February 4, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    If the rumour is true; …….

    this way, super-greedy M$ will be able to charge OEMs more money for millions of OEM Win 10 Home S, Win 10 Home and Win 10 Home W(for Workstations) Volume Licenses, which in turn will be passed on to consumers through higher prices for new OEM Win 10 Home.X computers.

    Today, through Volume Licensing, OEMs pay M$ about US$30(= discounted costs) for each Win 10 Home OEM license which they preinstall on their new budget computers for onward sale to consumers. This license cost is included in the price of the new computers = an indirect or hidden cost to computer buyers.
    ……. With the above new policy, OEMs will have to pay M$ US$30 for each Win 10 Home S license, about US$35 for each Win 10 Home license and about US$40 for each Win 10 Home W license = more profit$ for M$.

    Correspondingly, a Win 10 Home S Retail license will cost consumers US$119, a Win 10 Home Retail license will cost about US$129 and a Win 10 Home W Retail license will cost about US$149.
    ……. Whereas, today, a Win 10 Pro Retail license costs consumers US$199 directly, and a Win 10 Pro OEM license costs consumers about US$50 indirectly.

    Seems, this is M$ and Nadella trying to “nickel-n-dime” the poor folks and average consumers.

    1. AnorKnee Merce said on February 5, 2018 at 9:41 pm
      Reply (3 Feb 2018)

      “Pricing for the SKUs is as follows: Advanced ($101), Core + ($86.66), Core ($65.45), Value ($45), and Entry ($25).

      Also, Windows 10 S is dead, it’s now Windows 10 S mode and the baseline SKU will be going away but each version will have an S mode.

      What Microsoft is doing here, which isn’t too different from what they have done in the past, is that they charge more money for a Windows 10 license based on the hardware that is included. If you are buying a rig that is more powerful, the license costs more but for an entry-level device, the prices drop significantly.

      Starting on April 2nd, these new SKUs and pricing will go into effect with the new pricing for Home Advanced going into effect on May 1st.”

      1. John Fenderson said on February 8, 2018 at 8:04 pm

        @AnorKnee Merce: “What Microsoft is doing here, which isn’t too different from what they have done in the past”

        This is pretty much the problem. Microsoft’s licensing schemes are traditionally inscrutable, and it looks like they’re continuing the tradition.

    2. ULBoom said on February 4, 2018 at 4:21 pm

      Maybe all that will work out like Win8 did; OEM’s quit installing it and went back to Win7. Then Win10, the most awesomest OS ever! was released so we’d forget Win8 and MS was right back to having customers do their product development. They want to charge more for a product they don’t even understand? Silly MS.

  12. Cube11 said on February 4, 2018 at 10:51 am

    These days when you hear “Leak” you can be 100% sure that this is an information “leaked” by the company itself.

    In this as in any other case Microsoft allow this information to the public with only purpose to gather reactions, to see how the public or other hardware vendors would react.

    They are so desperatly to shove their closed garden aka Windows 10S/RT down your throat that they will present it to you again and again the same package with different names…untill you finnaly swallow it and ultimately loved it because it’s “new” “shiny”

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