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Microsoft reveals more info on ‘streamlined’ Windows 10 S Mode

Simplified experience
Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore confirmed earlier rumours of S Mode in a tweet yesterday. After his comments gained widespread attention across the web, Belfiore took to the Windows Experience Blog today to clarify some of the details. Belfiore said the company thinks it would be “helpful” to clear up some of the “confusing” information around the relationship between Windows 10 S and the new S mode.
Windows 10 S launched last year as a sandboxed version of Windows that only runs UWP apps from the Microsoft Store. Aimed primarily at consumers and education users, it’s designed to offer improved security, performance and reliability.

Windows 10 S

Windows 10 S
Microsoft


READ NEXT: Microsoft officially announces Windows 10 ‘S Mode’ for 2019
However, Microsoft’s consistently received feedback that the lack of classic desktop programs is too restrictive for most users. The company’s also been criticised for the confusing naming of Windows 10 S, which provides little visibility into the platform’s real capabilities.
Windows 10 S Mode is an evolution of the Windows 10 S concept, which Belfiore said will “simplify the experience.” By killing off the separate platform, Microsoft will allow users to more easily switch between regular Windows and the sandboxed environment. Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro devices will allow users to enter “S Mode,” which disables desktop apps and offers the same benefits as Windows 10 S.
Free upgrades
Belfiore confirmed that device makers will be able to sell new products with S Mode already enabled. Unlike Windows 10 S, consumers will be free to leave the sandbox if they desire. Microsoft’s won’t charge customers to escape Windows 10 S, so purchasing a new device will be simpler. Switching from Windows 10 S to Pro currently costs $49, so consumers who purchase new hardware and find it unexpectedly limiting have to pay extra to unlock its full capabilities.
“Starting with the next update to Windows 10, coming soon, customers can choose to buy a new Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro PC with S mode enabled, and commercial customers will be able to deploy Windows 10 Enterprise with S mode enabled,” said Belfiore.
“We expect the majority of customers to enjoy the benefits of Windows 10 in S mode. If a customer does want to switch out of S mode, they will be able to do so at no charge, regardless of edition. We expect to see new Windows 10 devices ship with S mode, available from our partners in the coming months, so check back here for updates.”
Although Microsoft is remaining bullish around the Windows 10 S concept, the decision to drop the standalone operating system is another reminder of the value of the Windows desktop. Asking consumers, businesses and schools to part with familiar apps they’ve used for years isn’t likely to result in a successful platform. S Mode is meant to refine the idea by focusing it and handing users more control, which may at least help address some of the criticism of Windows 10 S.

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