The „S” in the name stands for Simplicity, Security and Speed, so simplicity, security and speed. But how is this achieved and how should it be understood at all? We explain what Windows 10 S mode is, presenting the most important features of this mode and the differences from the „full version”.
Windows 10 is the most universal operating system. It is on him that a mobile professional, avid computer gamer and ordinary user will most likely bet. There are many reasons: from support for the latest standards, through compatibility with software and games, to simple and intuitive controls. At first glance, it may be surprising that Microsoft gives a tool that allows this versatility to be „cut” – why do it and what does S mode have to do with all this?
What is Windows 10 S, or S Mode in Windows 10?
S mode is a special operating mode of the system, intended for students, professionals and other users who have clearly set priorities, which are: security, reliability and performance. It consists in the fact that Windows 10 in S mode allows you to install and run only those applications that are in the Microsoft Store (Microsoft Store), and these are carefully controlled and verified by the team of the giant from Redmond.
How does blocking „external” programs help improve security and performance? Well, Microsoft makes the (undeniable) assumption that thanks to this, harmful, unwanted applications or add-ons that slow down the computer startup, modify the appearance of windows or spy on users will not be installed on the computer.
What if a user tries to install an application that is not from the Microsoft Store anyway? Then the screen displays the message used, from which it will learn that in S mode this is not possible.
Using the S mode in Windows 10 is recommended primarily to those who use only the Microsoft Edge browser and a narrow set of other programs (for example, Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Evernote or Spotify and Netflix players) and (by cutting off from other applications) want to ensure the highest level of protection.
The information that cannot be ignored is that initially Windows 10 S was a separate, lighter version of the system. With the April 2018 update (to version 1803), however, it changed to (S mode). So it is not a separate variant, but part of the Home and Pro editions.
Is it possible to turn on and how to turn off S mode in Windows 10?
Enabling S mode in Windows 10 takes place only at the production stage – it is active by default on selected computers (for example, Microsoft Surface Laptop and Surface Go – the information is included in the specification and description of the product). If necessary, it can be deactivated , but (attention!) Later you cannot return to it. It is a free process, but one-time and irreversible.
How do I turn off S mode? Turn on Settings > Update and security > Activation , then go to the section Convert system to Windows 10 Home / Pro and select Go to Store , and then press the button to access the full version of „Windows”.
Main features of Windows 10 S
What are the main advantages of Windows 10 S? They could be summed up in three points – these are:
- increasing security,
- improving performance,
- keeping fit.
This is achieved primarily by blocking applications from outside the official store and thus eliminating sources of potential problems: security, current performance and possible drops of the latter over time.
What does Windows S have besides that? In fact, almost everything that „Ten” in its standard version. The user therefore has access to a wide range of functions, such as task view, virtual desktops and Windows Hello, as well as integrated applications, including Microsoft Edge, Paint 3D, Notepad, Calendar and Windows Defender anti-virus software. So in fact, Windows 10 S’s capabilities are not particularly limited.
How is Windows S different from normal?
When it comes to Windows S, we have already described the differences from the full Home or Pro edition. However, to organize the information, let’s organize it. Well …
Unlike the „full versions”, Windows 10 in S mode DOES NOT ALLOW:
- installing applications from outside the Microsoft Store,
- using a browser other than Microsoft Edge,
- change the default search engine from Bing to another,
- using many different system tools.
In S mode, there may or may not be minor compatibility issues with accessories and peripherals such as printers. On the Microsoft website you can find specific information that „their functionality may be limited”.
In WS mode it is also impossible to get into the Registry Editor (which protects users from themselves as well). Other blocked utilities include bash, cmd, and powershell.
Summary, i.e. Windows 10 S or Windows 10 Home?
The decision to buy a computer with Windows 10 S can be a good solution for people who are sure that the applications they need for work or study are available in the Microsoft Store. It is definitely not a good option for players (because titles from Steam, Origin or Battle.net are not available) or professionals who use specialized and specific software. For the student and the „Sunday user”, however, it can be a choice to consider.
In fact, anyone can give the S mode a chance, as Microsoft (contrary to earlier information that it is supposed to be paid) allows you to switch from this mode to the „full version” of Home or Pro at no additional cost.
Meanwhile, the S mode can actually have a positive impact on safety (especially in the case of users slightly less familiar with the technology) and comfort of use (if only due to the shorter start-up time of the system and its smoother operation). Microsoft reports that the same computer with Windows 10 S starts an average of 15 seconds faster than with Windows 10 Pro and nothing changes in this respect even after a thousand days.