Windows Insider Preview build 17686 includes a hint that Microsoft may soon allow users to “switch to S mode.” If true, the software giant may finally reverse on of the worst design decisions in Windows history.
You can see this hint by opening the Settings app and typing S mode. As you can see in the shot above, Settings provides a search hint for a Settings interface called Switch to S Mode.
Switch to S Mode doesn’t actually exist, at least not in this build. If you select this hint, you will navigate to Settings > Update & Security > Activation. This is where you can update your product key to change between Windows 10 product editions and perform other related tasks. But there’s no Switch to S Mode.
As I’ve complained in the past, S mode is a disaster, but the biggest problem, by far, is that it’s a one-way, dead-end street. Microsoft provides a way for those in S Mode hell to “Switch Out of S Mode”—via the Store, as I first documented in the Windows 10 Field Guide months ago. But this is new. Switch to S mode would conceivably let users go in both directions.
What happens to installed desktop applications when you make this switch is unclear. But it would be kind of interesting if you could at least switch out of S mode to install drivers and then switch back. It would be much more interesting if you could install desktop applications, switch back to S mode, and have them still work.
You never know. Maybe they’re finally listening.
Thanks to David Nation for the tip.