No Charge to Escape S Mode Limitations, Microsoft Says

Posted on March 7, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 67 Comments

Microsoft Announces the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

Microsoft now says that it will no longer charge customers who wish to upgrade from Windows 10 in S mode. The revelation comes after a bizarre tweet in which Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore confirmed’s exclusive story that it would kill Windows 10 S and provide S mode in all mainstream Windows 10 versions.

Now, Belfiore is providing more information and is doing so via a more traditional means: A Microsoft corporate blog.

“We’ve received feedback that the [Windows 10 S] naming was a bit confusing for both customers and partners,” he writes. “Based on that feedback, we are simplifying the experience for our customers. Starting with the next update to Windows 10, coming soon, customers can choose to buy a new Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro PC with S mode enabled, and commercial customers will be able to deploy Windows 10 Enterprise with S mode enabled.”

To be clear, this is what we wrote when we unveiled S mode: That it would arrive with the next Windows 10 update, due in about a month and called Redstone 4. Belfiore’s earlier tweet explaining S mode said that this change would come “next year.” That’s incorrect: It’s coming next month.

Best of all, however, Belfiore now says that Microsoft will no longer try to charge customers to upgrade from S mode. (Today, the upgrade from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro costs $50.) So you can upgrade from the hobbled S mode in Windows 10 Home, Pro, or Enterprise to the “full” version of whichever OS product edition for free going forward. This is absolutely the correct thing to do. (We knew previously that the upgrade from Windows 10 Home in S mode to Windows 10 Home would be free.)

What isn’t said is whether this mode is a two-way street. That is, can a customer switch from a “full” version of Windows 10 to that version in S mode? I would guess no, but it seems like a mode should work that way. Perhaps this is something we’ll see in Redstone 5, and after the adoption of Windows 10 S—sorry, S mode—continues to go nowhere. Which is my expectation.


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