Windows 10 S is designed to be a much faster and secure version of Windows 10. Schools often use it to better restrict what students have access to, but many lower-cost Windows laptops come preinstalled with Windows 10 S. If you want more control over what you download, learn how to switch Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Home or Pro.
Why Switch Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Home
Windows 10 S is Microsoft’s competitor to Chromebooks. It’s made specifically for security and performance. Since it doesn’t come with the bloatware and system requirements of the full Windows 10 Home or Pro systems, it runs faster.
On the other hand, it’s extremely restrictive. You’re only allowed to download apps from the Microsoft Store. If you want anything else, you have to upgrade to another version of Windows 10.
For users who mainly want to browse the Internet, Windows 10 S works great. For users who require more, such as wanting to use free Microsoft Office alternatives, you’ll want to switch Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Home.
It’s worth noting that many Windows 10 S devices cost less because they’re not as robust. However, they’re still perfectly capable of running Windows 10 Home or Pro. You can save money by taking this route if you don’t need a more powerful device.
Before You Switch
Before you make the switch, there are a few things you should know. First, not every device can switch. There are two main reasons for this.
Since the device Windows 10 S is installed on was made for that OS, it may not have the minimum resources to run another version of Windows 10. These are the extremely barebones machines.
The other reason is the option to switch may be blocked by a school or employer. If your device was issued to you by your employer or school, switching could be locked to help keep the device and the business or school’s network safer. You’d need an IT administrator to override the block. However, this will likely not happen if you are buying the device for personal use.
One other thing to keep in mind is that you can’t go back once you switch Windows 10 S to Windows Home. It’s a one-way process. The only possible way to go back is if you created a restore disk or recovery partition before switching. Even then, recovering may still lead you back to the new version of Windows.
Switching to Windows 10 Home or Pro
When you switch, you’re technically upgrading. The upgrade is completely free since you already have a Windows 10, even if it is a scaled-back version.
To be safe, back up your files before getting started. Nothing should be erased, and it wasn’t when I did it on my own laptop, but I always prefer to err on the side of caution than lose something important.
Go to Start and click Settings.
Select “Update & Security.”
Click Activation in the left pane.
If your device is eligible to switch Windows 10 S to Windows Home, you’ll see a section called “Switch to Windows 10 Home or Switch to Windows 10 Pro.”
Click “Go to Store” in this section. Since I’ve already made the switch, I no longer have the option on my device.
However, make sure you don’t click “Go to Store” in the “Upgrade your edition of Windows.” This is only for upgrading Windows 10 Home to a higher version and isn’t free.
You’re then taken to the Microsoft Store to complete the process. Press the Get button beside “Switch Out Of S” Mode. It should only take a few minutes, as the full version of Windows 10 is already installed on eligible devices.
Once the process is complete, you’re free to use Windows 10 as normal. Whether you get Home or Pro is based on the version of Windows 10 that is pre-installed on your device. However, you can go back to the Activation window in Settings and go through the “Upgrade your edition of Windows” process to buy another version and upgrade.
Have you switched out of S Mode? What’s the main reason you made the switch?