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. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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