Microsoft Confirms Reducing Chromebook-Killer Windows 10 S to a “Mode”

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Mar 7

The operating system that was designed to kill Chrome OS is almost dying. After rumors last month that suggested Microsoft was turning its education-focused Windows 10 S from a dedicated operating system into a “mode” in existing versions of Windows 10, the Redmond software maker has now confirmed these rumors.

The new Windows 10 S Mode will be made available next year, according to Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore. “Next year 10S will be a “mode” of existing versions, not a distinct version,” Belfiore announced today on Twitter.

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The confirmation wouldn’t surprise anyone since the operating system was never appreciated by Windows 10 users. Windows 10 S was locked down to only run UWP apps from the Microsoft Store – not a favorite place for Windows users. This strategy, while making the operating system more secure, also significantly limited its usage.

Earlier rumors: Windows 10 S Mode will be shipped with Home, Enterprise, and Pro

The new Windows 10 S mode coming next year will work exactly like the dedicated OS version did – limiting usage to apps from the Store. However, it will be shipped with the regular Windows 10 Home, Enterprise and Pro versions instead of a standalone choice.

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Introduced as a Chrome OS competitor, Windows 10 S was offered on low-priced machines by Microsoft and its OEM partners for as little as $189. These operating systems are actually popular in the educational market since setting a new account up takes a few minutes and are considered ideal for an environment with constantly changing users. However, while Chrome OS gets access to Google’s Chrome Web Store and Play Store, Microsoft’s Windows 10 S was limited to Microsoft Store.

Belfiore hasn’t confirmed, but rumors had also suggested that the devices shipped with Windows 10 S could disable Windows 10 S and get Home for free, while the Windows 10 Pro will need $49 for full access. The company has yet to confirm these details, but considering the launch of S Mode is still a year away, it has a long time to strategize how it’s going to market and sell Windows 10 S Mode.

So far, it is clear that S Mode will offer a “low hassle / guaranteed performance” version of Windows 10 to schools and businesses. Windows 10 S, as launched last May, will not continue as a separate operating system.