Windows 10 in S Mode Confirmed, Coming Next Year

Posted on March 7, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Windows 10 with 35 Comments

Last month, we reported that Microsoft is replacing Windows 10 S with a new S Mode in Windows 10 that’s going to be available across almost all the different Windows 10 SKUs.

Today, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore confirmed the change on Twitter, originally reported by PC World. Belfiore says the new S Mode in Windows 10 will be available next year as a “mode” for existing Windows 10 SKUs instead of a completely separate SKU.

Once the new S Mode in Windows 10 is available, Microsoft and its OEM partners will be selling devices that come with the S Mode enabled out of the box. And to access all the features of the OS and get the full version, users would have to pay $49 to upgrade if they are running Windows 10 Pro.

Microsoft has been positioning Windows 10 S as a more secure version of the OS as it prevents users from downloading applications outside of the Microsoft Store. But once the new S Mode launches, it could create a lot of confusion amongst regular consumers who expect to get the full version of the OS when buying a new device. Unless the new mode is advertised appropriately on devices that come with it enabled out of the box, Microsoft could face a ton of backlash from users who are asked to pay to upgrade.

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Comments (35)

35 responses to “Windows 10 in S Mode Confirmed, Coming Next Year”

  1. Tony Barrett

    The primary reason being, Windows 10 S tanked big time. Anyone who bought the 'Windows Laptop' would immediately have enabled full Pro mode, even if they had to pay for it. By putting 'S Mode' directly into Windows 10, MS probably think this will drive adoption of UWP and push win32 into the ground. Note to MS - it won't work. Nobody will want it or use it, even if you make it the default.

    • dontbe evil

      In reply to ghostrider:

      or you need to make it more secure, and easy to comply to the company/school policy/rules?

      yeah i know it's hard to understand for you

      • maethorechannen

        In reply to dontbe_evil:

        or you need to make it more secure, and easy to comply to the company/school policy/rules?

        Shouldn't those people be running Enterprise or Education? I'm not seeing what S Mode is giving you in that regard that Group Policies don't.

    • navarac

      In reply to ghostrider:
      Out of interest, I tried S and found it a hobbled system with the state of the Store being as it is (much like RT). Microsoft have obviously got a fixation on a walled garden like Apple. If S was the only choice I would give up and go the Linux route. By the time this is the norm I would hope be in a "wooden overcoat".

      • curtisspendlove

        In reply to navarac:

        You have to remember this site is full of tech geeks. Very few of us would be able to use Windows 10 S Mode in any meaningful manner.

        But it we are far from the most populous computer using subgroup. More and more people can get by with a phone and whatever their work provides for professional computing (if they even need a computer for work).

        • skane2600

          In reply to curtisspendlove:

          Many people can get by with a phone but a lot of those people were never going to use a computer outside of work in the first place.

          • Greg Green

            In reply to skane2600:

            I disagree, nearly everyone would’ve used a PC for online shopping, Facebook or email. Now they use phones for those.

          • curtisspendlove

            In reply to skane2600:

            “Many people can get by with a phone but a lot of those people were never going to use a computer outside of work in the first place.”

            This simply reaffirms my main point that “traditional computing” is on the way out for the majority of people.

            Windows 10 S is a good stab at that market.

            The original comment read “I will just use Linux”.

            Most people will choose between a Chromebook, a tablet, or a phone. At least Windows 10 might give Microsoft a leg in the game.

            Believe it it or not a lot of the “common folk” find Windows to be complex and confusing.

            Unfortunately, as is, adding S Mode to the big pile that is Windows is *more* confusing. Not less.

        • dontbe evil

          In reply to curtisspendlove:

          that's why they have to understand that they're not alone in the world, and not everybody use windows like them (for different reasons)

        • Daniel D

          In reply to curtisspendlove:
          If Windows 10 S Mode can't play steam games, then its of no use to anyone at home.

          • curtisspendlove

            In reply to Daniel_D:

            If Windows 10 S Mode can't play steam games, then its of no use to anyone at home.”

            I think you might overestimate how many people play games on their PCs.

            This is is becoming a more niche activity as well.

  2. PeteB

    Windows S### mode is like locking yourself in your closet because you're worried someone might break into your house.

    Seriously, an eternity of being locked in the failed windows 10 store and its crappy, cellphone focused knockoff Apps (search 'youtube' and get ready to lol) are a fate worse than some malware boogeyman.

    Windows 10 S was DOA and so is this rebrand. It was already hacked and bypassed easily, and it's no more secure because it's the same three decades of legacy spaghetti code rotting underneath.

    • truerock

      In reply to PeteB:

      Yes I - unfortunately - agree.

      I do think that Windows 10 S might be the best way to get rid of "three decades of legacy spaghetti code rotting underneath."

      Apple is good about getting rid of obsolete technology - even though it means Apple must drag Apple's customers kicking and screaming into the present while those Apple customers grip their obsolete technology in their cold, death-like hands.

      Microsoft has taken the easy and popular route. Customers want obsolete technology - warmed over for decades - along with security and reliability problems that obviously will occur.

      And lets be absolutely clear - wouldn't you say roughly 90% of Microsoft's customers want obsolete technology supported? Yes... absolutely... they want that 25 year old 32-bit code. Microsoft doesn't even try to sell 64-bit Office. Microsoft recommends you use 32-bit Office.

  3. hrlngrv

    Time to relive the Vista era: S mode == Windows 10 Capable

  4. Waethorn

    Windows 10 Home

    Windows 10 Home S for OEM's

    Windows 10 Pro

    Windows 10 Pro S for OEM's

    Windows 10 Pro for Workstations

    Windows 10 Pro for Workstations (S for OEM's??)

    Windows 10 Enterprise

    Windows 10 Education

    Windows 10 IoT Core/Pro/Enterprise

    How many more SKU's are there?

  5. Waethorn

    "low-hassle/guaranteed performance"


  6. pderosa

    I think a lot of this will come down to how the OEMs proceed. If they ignore S Mode on Pros and sell them as they are now, there will be no problem. If you can pick there will be no problem. If they only sell them in S Mode or make it ambiguous so people are being surprised with a $50 fee then the level of resentment is going to be intense. I do use some UWP software from the store, but I cannot get by on it exclusively and that will never be the case. Even the most computer illiterate people I know depend on programs that will never be in the store.

  7. skane2600

    The rollout is still a little murky. What are they going to call the OS in these computers? "The OS formerly known as Windows 10S"? Will there be some Windows 10 PCs that aren't shipped in "10S mode"? If so, what will they call those? Are they going to differentiate the Intel-based OS from the ARM-based OS? It sounds like a big confusing self-inflicted mess.

    • Jorge Garcia

      In reply to skane2600:

      They don't need to label it as an OS since it's almost like having a gatekeeper/filter on by default. If they do it right, as soon as you attempt to do something "forbidden" by S mode, it SHOULD spring up a dialogue box advising you of the consequences of disabling S mode and then allowing you to switch it off and proceed. That solution makes a TON of sense to me. The dealbreaker of course, is Chrome. If Chrome ever gets into the Store, then only a small percentage of people will hit up against the S barrier, yet they'll be protected by it.

      • skane2600

        In reply to JG1170:

        We can't assume they will do it "right" as you see it. No matter how you look at it Microsoft is following the Windows 8 strategy of making breaking changes to Windows with a disregard for their customers. At least in the case of Windows 8 they could speculate that users would like it, but in this case the market has rejected Windows 10 S so they should have no illusions about customer demand.

  8. Chris Payne

    Forget about the validity/success of Windows 10 S for a moment... why is this a year out? I don't get these kind of marketing moves by MS... no one will remember any of this crap in a year. OEMs don't need this much time either, but MS can speak to them quietly anyway. They completely kill any excitement for their products with these ridiculous timelines.

    And to clarify, I'm criticizing the communication, not the development work that needs to go into this (though I can't imagine why this would take a year on the development side either).

    • Winner

      In reply to unkinected:

      One of Microsoft's largest strategic weaknesses for many years has been their lack of agility. They are really slow.

      The other one is releasing things that aren't fully formed/polished.

      The consumer market has figured this out which is why they don't have much consumer presence these days.

      • skane2600

        In reply to Winner:

        To the extent this is true, it's the worst possible scenario. If your turn-around is slow you might just as well do the job right the first time.

        In any case, the urgency is more in the minds of the companies than the minds of their users. Of course companies like Facebook and Twitter aren't making changes to improve the user experience but rather to maximize revenue.

  9. johnbaxter

    "Vista Capable" (except not supporting the new style graphics) worked out really well for Microsoft.

  10. TheJoeFin

    I find it amazing Microsoft makes a new mode of Windows, and charges people to switch from it. Their goal should be to make S-Mode so good that people would pay to switch to S-Mode instead of paying to switch it off.

  11. MarkPow

    "S Mode" rather than a separate install\SKU is a good idea but charging users to "upgrade" is a really bad idea. It should be free to switch between modes even if going back to "S Mode" would be very difficult.

  12. jimchamplin

    The normies won’t care. They’ll look in the store, find most of what they need, then go from there. Assuming most of what they need isn’t already installed by default, or covered with OEM-installed Store apps, of course. Remember for every one of us who has opinions, there are 10,000 people who will never install a single piece of software.

    Also, next year!? Why is everything they do so lethargic? This organization is still so absurdly top-heavy with slow-moving management that it’s hopeless. I mean... looking back to 2012, if they weren’t so damn slow, they could have released a relatively minor patch that put a Start button on the Windows 8 Taskbar and added a user preference for a classic Start menu. And it could have been done faster than the year it took to release 8.1.

    If they think that S Mode is a good thing, and they clearly do - AND IT IS CURRENTLY ALREADY IMPLEMENTED - why are they screwing around until next year!? Move, people! I thought hustle-as-a-service was the Windows mantra these days.

  13. NT6.1

    They will kill Windows the second they make this mode default in Home versions.

  14. navarac

    Microsoft could face a ton of backlash from users who are asked to pay to upgrade.

    Microsoft WILL face a ton of backlash I think.

    • maethorechannen

      In reply to navarac:

      If the upgrade from Windows 10 Home in S Mode (that just rolls off the tongue) is free then the backlash will be minimal.

      Not sure who would be buying Pro in S Mode - you would think anyone who needs Pro would not be able to use S Mode.

  15. curtisspendlove

    I actually like them attempting to modernize Windows. This is the first step to getting rid of a lot of the cruft that bogs Windows down.

    One main problem I see is that once you remove that cruft, you really don’t have “Windows” anymore.

    It it is the same sort of issue Apple faces with macOS and iOS; and Google faces with Android and ChromeOS.

    Do you blend legacy and modern, or do you keep it separate.

    So far, Apple has chosen separate. And Google has chosen to blend. I think they are probably both right for their respective environments. Though I’m one of the people who’d like to run iOS apps on my Mac.

    I think Windows 10 S (regardless of what it is called) is going to be confusing to consumers. And that might just frustrate enough people that they don’t want to use it anymore.

  16. Roger Ramjet

    According to WC, the 10S mode "upgrade" is free for any edition. And they are quoting Microsoft directly on that. A bunch of commenters are up in arms here about a paid upgrade, but Microsoft never communicated that to any blogger or journalist.