Tip: Upgrade Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro

Posted on June 22, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 6 Comments

Tip: Upgrade Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro

While it’s unclear what the market is for Windows 10 S, Microsoft does at least make it very easy to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. And for the remainder of 2017, this upgrade is free, making it even more of a no-brainer.

I’ve been writing about my experiences with Microsoft’s interesting new Surface Laptop and Windows 10 S this week. And among the most common questions are those related to the Windows 10 Pro upgrade.

Folks, this isn’t rocket science. In fact, it’s no different from the Windows 10 Home to Pro upgrade in any way. Meaning that it is very easy and fast to upgrade. And that, yes, you can of course return to Windows 10 S later if you’d like, though that will require you to recover the PC (like a clean install).

Here’s how it works.

There are probably a few more ways to trigger the upgrade, but the two most obvious are:

You try to install a desktop application. When you do so, you’re prompted that “this mode of Windows” only runs Store apps. A “Still want to run this unverified app? See how” link will cause Windows Store to open and display the Switch to Windows 10 Pro page.

Windows Store. You can manually trigger the upgrade by opening Windows Store and searching for “Windows 10 Pro.” The Switch to Windows 10 Pro page will appear.

(If you happen to have a valid Windows 10 Pro product key already—unlikely—you could also navigate to Settings > Update & Security > Activation > Update product key and trigger the upgrade that way.)

For now, of course, the upgrade is free, so just select the “Free” button to continue. It will change to an “Install” button.

Select that, and then deal with the “Have you saved all your files?” dialog, which is a bit of overkill since this upgrade will not delete any of your files.

A Preparing to Switch window appears and gets your PC ready for the upgrade. In case it’s not obvious, the files needed for this upgrade are already on the PC: You won’t need to download anything, assuming your PC is otherwise up-to-date. This is why the upgrade happens so quickly. It’s really just a configuration change.

Your computer will reboot and go through a normal, and very fast, offline update experience. The entire process should take less than 2 minutes.

When you sign back in, you will see a “Success!” pop-up toast notification. If selected, Settings will open to the Activation page to display that you are now running Windows 10 Pro, as God intended.

Note that your custom background, all settings, and all documents and files are right where you left them, as Microsoft says. So are all of your installed apps. Because this is literally just the simplest of in-place upgrades.

If you wish to go back to Windows 10 S, you have two options.

Create a recovery drive. Do this before you upgrade to Windows 10 Pro, and make sure the option “Back up system files to the recovery drive” is selected.

Download or create a restore image from your PC maker. As I noted the other day, Microsoft provides this image for Surface Laptop on its website already. Some PC makers will include their own utiltiies on their PCs and/or provide a download from the web.

See? Nothing to stress over.


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