Microsoft released Windows 10S in May 2017 as a lightweight version of Windows 10, streamlined for speed and security. With its April 2018 update, it changed this to an option within the full Windows 10 operating system, called “Windows 10 in S Mode”.
Windows 10S and Windows 10 in S Mode share most of the features found in the full version of Windows 10. To help improve the operating system’s efficiency and performance however, they’re restricted to apps found on the Windows Store.
Windows 10 S Mode All you need to Know
Targeted at students and educators, these lightweight versions of Windows 10 are Microsoft’s answer to Google Chromebooks' success in the education market.
Here are some of the features of Windows 10S and Windows 10 in S Mode:
1. Look and Feel like Windows 10
On the surface, Windows 10S and Windows 10 in S Mode look just like the full version of Windows 10. When you start it up for the first time, the default wallpaper may be different but the design and layout are otherwise the same.
2. Superior Performance
The lightweight specs mean start-up times are significantly faster using Windows 10 S and Windows 10 in S Mode than with Windows 10. Both the OS itself and apps load quicker, while battery life also lasts longer.
3. Exclusively use Windows Store Apps
The biggest functional difference compared to Windows 10 is that 10S/10 in S mode users are restricted to apps found in Microsoft’s own Windows Store.
This includes all of Microsoft’s own apps, including the full Office 365 suite, and several popular apps such as Evernote, Spotify and Photoshop Elements. However, other 3rd party apps not yet available on the Windows Store, including Google Chrome and Adobe Creative Cloud, can only run on the full version of Windows 10.
4. Improved Security
One of the positive trade-offs for restricting apps to the Windows Store, is all apps are verified for security by Microsoft. Most bugs that affect Windows systems typically come from 3rd party downloads, so it also cuts these out.
Windows Defender is always on and kept updated with Windows 10 S/10 in S Mode, while Bit-locker encryption is also included to protect users’ files (not available in Windows 10 Home).
5. Secure Microsoft Browser
Windows 10 S and Windows 10 in S mode work with Microsoft Edge as the default web browser. Edge is designed to give added protection against phishing and malware compared to rival browsers, such as Chrome and Firefox.
While Chrome isn’t available for Windows 10 S/10 in S mode, you can still access your Google Drive and Google Docs online, as usual, using Edge.
6. Can be Switched to Windows 10 for Free
If there are specific apps you need but they aren’t on the Windows Store, Windows 10 S/10 in S mode gives you the option to switch to the full version of Windows 10.
Switching is one-way. You can’t return to S mode once you’ve switched out. It is, however, free to switch.
To do so, go to your Windows Settings menu and click on Update & Security then Activation. Find the Switch to Windows 10 Home or Pro sections and then click the Go to the Store link. You’ll be directed to a webpage for switching out of S mode.
Overall, Windows 10 S/10 in S mode gives users a faster performing operating system with tighter security at the cost of a tighter selection of apps. If you want to use your computer for general work and browsing functions, with added protections, Windows 10 S/10 in S mode could be the right choice for you. And if you find you need greater flexibility, you can still switch to the full version of Windows 10 at no cost anytime.
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