The Windows 10 S mode is an operating system developed primarily for students, teachers, institutions and everyone else related to the education sector. It helps secure your Windows 10 system from malware attacks but at the cost of some restrictions which have been implemented. It is easy to switch out of S mode anytime, but that step cannot be reversed.
The ‘S’ in Windows 10 S mode has not been defined by Microsoft but could stand either for students or school for which it was designed or considering a different approach, it could stand for Simplicity, Security, Speed, and Stability. It was originally called ‘Windows 10 S’ and was later rechristened to ‘S mode’ in 2018 due to consumer confusion.
Features of Windows 10 in S Mode.
- Windows 10 S mode does not allow users to install any third-party apps by obtaining the installation file. The apps can be installed only through the official Microsoft Store app. This prevents users from installing any malicious malware which is hidden under the pretext of normal software.
- It is available in Windows 10 Home or Windows Pro editions. It is not available on the Mobile editions or Enterprise edition.
- The Windows 10 S mode comes preinstalled in the devices including Microsoft’s Surface laptops but cannot be activated by the user. If the user chooses to switch out of the S mode, then it would be a permanent process and cannot be reversed.
- It offers computers with smooth functionality alongside faster boot times, uses low processing power and longer battery life in case of laptops. This is because there are no third-party services or processes running that interfere with Microsoft’s own services and slow them down.
- Windows 10 S mode is a limited and locked-down operating system. The default browser can be used to surf the internet and even watch movies on Amazon Prime and Netflix accounts is Microsoft Edge. You cannot download or install any other browser especially Google Chrome. The default Search Engine is set as Bing.
- Windows 10 will always be free from Malware, Spyware and even Junkware that hides in the background with the sole purpose of spying on you.
- Windows 10 S mode restricts the users from using the Command line programs like PowerShell, Command Prompt, Registry Editor or Bash, Other developer tools are prohibited.
- Windows 10 S mode does not support intensive Gaming on the system as it is designed for educational purposes. However, the good news is that users can download, install and play all the games available on the Microsoft Store App and that is some relief from complete boredom.
- Windows 10 S mode allows the user to view digital movies and TV episodes by using the Edge browser. It also supports movie apps on Microsoft Store such as Netflix and Amazon Video.
- Finally, Windows 10 S mode is Windows 10 itself but with a few restrictions. If the Windows 10 Pro in S mode user exit out, then they would get a normal fully functional Windows 10 Pro.
Who Should Buy Windows 10 S Mode?
Windows 10 S mode was specially designed by Microsoft keeping a certain section of society in mind. People and institutions in Education sector should opt for these systems such as:
- Colleges/High Schools: The systems containing Windows 10 S mode will ensure that the students who use it will not misuse the system for activities other than education as it is a restricted system. The system can be used for a long time as there will be no virus or malware threats.
- Other Institutions providing special courses: These institutions have many people enrolled in different batches and the computers are used by many different people for a longer duration. In case different people use the system frequently, it is bound to develop some errors as each user would customize the computer as per their will. Placing restrictions ensures that it would run in a controlled environment.
- Students: The system is best designed as it would be fast and long-lasting and provide no means of distractions or malware in the system. Students can safely complete their assignments and projects. Even small children can use it without fear of accidentally installing any miscreant file.
- Business Users: Businesses have critical data that needs to be protected from malware and viruses and the computers must be in running condition forever. A system down would impact the business and for this very reason, a certain business that uses professional software available on Microsoft Store can opt for this version of Windows 10.
- Normal use: Computer users who are not tech-savvy often risk clicking potentially unwanted software and links that can infect their computer. With the restriction of downloading apps from Microsoft Store that provide safe and tested apps, there is very little chance of disrupting the computer’s normal functioning.
How to Install Apps in Windows 10 S Mode from Microsoft’s Store?
Now that you know you have a restricted Windows 10, it is time to move towards Microsoft’s Store app to install new software.
Step 1: Open the Microsoft Store app by typing Store in the search bar on the bottom-left corner of the screen.
Step 2: Search for the apps by using the Search option on the top-right section of the app window.
Step 3: Once you choose the app, click on the app image and it will take you to the app page.
Step 4: If the app is free, then you will see a ‘GET’ button. Click on that button and the app will start downloading and will install automatically.
Step 5: If the app is paid, then you will get a blue ‘BUY’ button instead of with the cost of the app mentioned above the BUY button. Click it if you wish to purchase the app and once the payment procedure is completed it will download and install on your computer.
Step 6: You can search for apps category wise and look for your purchases in the purchase section.
Exiting the Windows 10 S Mode
To switch out of S mode which is an irreversible process. It is not clear why Microsoft has implemented this one-way process and not facilitated the return to S mode. Windows 10 S mode is priced at a cheaper rate than the Windows 10 edition and if you purchase a Windows 10 S mode computer, you can switch out of the S mode and the result would be a fully functional Windows 10. There are no exiting fees as of now, but Microsoft did consider applying an amount of $50 to convert your system into Windows 10.
To exit from S mode, open the Microsoft Store app and search for an option in the search bar “Switch out of S mode”. Follow the steps and the Store app will assist you to Switch out of the Windows 10 S mode.
To Sum up, Windows 10 S mode does have a few limitations and those restrictions applied to it are the real reason to keep it safe and hassle-free operating system. It can be thought of Apple’s iOS operating system which allows the users to install apps from the App Store only. The PC’s which have this feature would have “Windows 10 In S mode” labeled on them and would also mention in the product specifications. I would recommend purchasing a PC in Windows 10 S mode which can be later exited but remember, exiting out of S mode is a one-way process and you can never activate it back.