Windows 10 S Mode release date, news and features

All we know about Microsoft’s third crack at a lightweight OS

Windows 10 S was first revealed back in May 2017 as a standalone OS, but it faced some controversy at launch. A lot of the criticism stemmed from the fact that it limits users to apps found on the Microsoft Store. Luckily, users can switch out of Windows 10 S for free. Still, the lightweight operating system has proved instrumental in getting Windows 10 the over 825 million installs it has today.

Windows 10 in S Mode makes a lot of sense for a particular kind of user and device. The Microsoft Surface Go for example, a cheap alternative to the Surface Pro, only has a low-power Intel Pentium Gold processor, making it a perfect candidate for Windows 10 S.

We’ve also seen reports of people getting Windows 10 S running on a Raspberry Pi 3, which would make even more sense for the lightweight OS. Microsoft is also rumored to be working on Windows Lite, which will further the lightweight nature of the OS, to compete with the best Chromebooks.

Windows 10 S Mode will also be able to take advantage of any Windows 10 updates, like the October 2018 Update and the now-available Windows 10 May 2019 Update.

That means you get nifty features like the May Update’s “Light Mode” and useful storage space tools, not to mention the possibility of playing Xbox One games natively.

Now, two years after its initial release, Windows 10 S is still a large part of the Windows 10 landscape, so we thought it was the perfect time to dive in and explore everything the lightweight version of Windows can do. And, make sure you bookmark this page, as we’ll keep it updated with all the latest and greatest Windows 10 S information that appears.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Windows 10 without x86 and x64 apps
  • When is it out? Available now
  • What will it cost? Free to all schools using Windows 10 Pro

Windows 10 S release

Windows 10 S originally launched on May 2, 2017, with devices using the OS trickling out over the next few months. Fast forward to 2019 and Windows 10 S is bigger than ever, making these lower spec Windows 10 devices more versatile now than ever before.

Eventually, there will be a UI toggle that’ll let Windows 10 users switch in and out of S Mode, but that’s not available at the time of this writing. Sadly, switching out of S Mode is a one-way street and permanent. Fortunately, if you need more than what this light OS can offer, you can still get out of S Mode relatively easily – simply go to the Windows Store and search for “switch out of S Mode”.

At the moment, to get Windows 10 in S mode, you are required to have the qualifying devices that are already enabled in S mode. You can also ask your computer manufacturer to see if you can get it installed in a new device you are purchasing. While Windows 10 S is not for individual sale, it is issued to IT administrators in education as well as laptops found in stores and online.

It’s no coincidence that Windows 10 S is focused on the education sector, where Google’s Chromebooks are experiencing unparalleled success.


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