Microsoft: Switching out of Windows 10 S Mode will be free for all

Microsoft is officially acknowledging that Windows 10 S Mode will be coming 'soon' to all editions of Windows 10 -- and moving off it to a fully-featured version of the OS will be free for all users.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Video: First Windows 10 S laptops under $300 make their debut

Microsoft's disclosure of its strategy around Windows 10 S has been... chaotic. (I'm being nice.)

On March 7, officials blogged about some of the coming changes around Windows 10 S, which have been leaking out over the past several months.

A quick refresher: Windows 10 S is actually a "mode" of Windows 10, even though Microsoft execs initially positioned it as a new edition of Windows 10 when it was introduced a year ago. But we discovered over time that the real name of the original version of Windows 10 S was "Windows 10 Pro in S Mode." And later, we learned there would be other "S Modes" of Windows 10, such as Windows 10 Enterprise in S Mode.

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The value proposition of Windows 10 S is that it will boot faster, be more secure (as it only allows app installation via the Store), offer better battery life, and be less prone to bit rot.

On March 7, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Joe Belfiore officially confirmed that Windows 10 in S Mode will be "coming soon" to all editions of Windows 10. (Yesterday, Belfiore tweeted that S Mode would be coming "next year.")

He also said in tonight's blog post that moving from Windows 10 S to the fully-featured complementary version of Windows 10 will be offered "at no charge, regardless of edition."

This is a departure from Microsoft's previous strategy of charging users $49 to switch from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro. Microsoft planned to start charging users as of April 1, 2018, to switch from S to Pro.

Belfiore acknowledged that Microsoft's naming of Windows 10 S mode "was a bit confusing for both customers and partners."

Read also: Microsoft to add new Windows 10 Home editions to its line-up

He said that "starting with the next update to Windows 10" -- by which I assume he means Windows 10 "Redstone 4," aka 1803, -- "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."

Microsoft disclosed the existence of Windows 10 Enterprise in S Mode during its Ignite conference in September 2017.

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