What is Windows 10 S Mode?

By | December 1, 2019
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What is Windows 10 S Mode?

Windows 10 in S Mode is a limited, locked-down version of Windows 10. The majority of computers do not come with the option to run Windows 10 in S mode but some do. All Microsoft Surface tablets/laptops have S Mode.

In S Mode, you can only install apps from the Microsoft Store, and until and unless other browsers like Chrome and Firefox decide to put those browsers in the Microsoft store, you can only use the Microsoft Edge browser and you must use the Bing search engine. Currently, you can’t change the default search engine to Google or something else unless you leave S Mode first.

Microsoft is following Apple’s lead because, like Apple’s operating systems, S mode is locked down and limits you to running apps from the Windows store. According to Microsoft, this provides more speed and security and provides a more stable operating system.

Since Windows in S Mode can only run apps from the Store, junkware, and malware bundled with freeware cannot install or run. You are limited to installing only apps from the Microsoft store; you cannot install applications from the Web. This does have the advantage of preventing you from accidentally installing software bundles loaded PUPs, hijackers, and malware.

But security comes at the cost of your freedom to choose and your freedom to customize Windows the way you want it. In Windows 10 in S Mode, you can’t make changes to the registry or use PowerShell, Command Prompt, or the Registry Editor.

You can leave S Mode anytime you like, but once you leave S Mode you can’t back to it again. You can, however, limit Windows 10 Home or Pro to installing apps from the Microsoft Store only. You can do this in Settings > Apps > Apps & features, and under “Choose where to get apps” and “Installing apps only from the Microsoft store helps protect your device” choose “The Microsoft Store only (recommended)”.

Cloudeight InfoAve Windows 10 Tips

The “recommended” comes from Microsoft – not us.

S Mode is available on all Microsoft Surface Tablets/Laptops, but other computer manufacturers are offering it as well. To find out if your computer is in S Mode, type ABOUT in taskbar search.

Cloudeight InfoAve Windows 10 Tips

8 thoughts on “What is Windows 10 S Mode?

  1. Sandy Euglow

    So lemme ask you – What do you two people think of Windows 10 S mode? I’m hearing a lot about it on tv shop stores saying how great it is. I would never get anything new like that unless I get you guys/gals opinions.

    1. infoave Post author

      I would never use it, I would surely not want to be restricted to only using apps from the Microsoft store, would you? Keep in mind Windows S mode can’t protect you from everything. You know what Benjamin Franklin said right?

      “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

      Don’t give up your freedom to choose based on Microsoft’s promise to keep you safe. They can’t keep that promise. Windows S mode won’t protect you from trickery, phishing emails or identity theft just for example.

  2. Uwe adric

    Sounds very restrictive to me. Also, proprietary . A way to control the user.
    I like to make my own decisions as to what apps I install.
    This is just another way to control the public.
    Read 1984 by George Orwell and see what could be coming.

  3. D.

    I’m smiling now thinking about this. There is no way I would ever do Windows S mode. Would you want to be that restricted!

  4. Sue Cooper

    When ordering my laptop I saw 10s on several Dell laptops. I searched what 10s meant and decided I did not want that. upon receiving this email, I typed about in taskbar search and what you showed is not at all what came up on my desktop computer.

  5. Virginia Borders

    So, how do I remove that S Mode? That was what prevented me from installing that Send To/Move To shortcut on my factory-reset computer! So, if I choose “anywhere” for apps, does that do away with the S Mode? I dislike Bing and have no desire to use Edge. Please advise.

    1. infoave Post author

      If your computer is running Windows 10 S you can’t switch out of it. To find out if you’re running Windows 10 S, type ABOUT in taskbar search and look under Windows specifications. If it says Windows 10 S you can’t switch out of it. It’s your operating system. You can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for $49. See this article to learn how.

      If you’re running Windows 10 in S mode see this Microsoft page for instructions to learn how to switch out of S Mode.


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