It’s official. Microsoft is killing Windows 10 S in favor of an “S Mode” available in Windows 10 itself. Rumors of Microsoft’s plans to ditch Windows 10 S emerged last month, but Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore has now confirmed Windows 10 “S Mode” is coming.
In May 2017, Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 S. This is/was a streamlined version of Windows 10, and Microsoft’s answer to Chrome OS. Windows 10 S is/was also the spiritual successor to Windows RT, which should have forewarned us of its ultimate fate.
Belfiore Confirms the Death of Windows 10 S
In February, it emerged that Microsoft was planning to stop offering Windows 10 S as a standalone operating system, and instead include S Mode in all iterations of Windows 10. And now, Joe Belfiore, a Corporate Vice President at Microsoft, appears to have confirmed these reports.
We use Win10S as an option for schools or businesses that want the 'low-hassle'/ guaranteed performance version. Next year 10S will be a "mode" of existing versions, not a distinct version. SO … I think it's totally fine/good that it's not mentioned.
— Joe Belfiore (@joebelfiore) March 7, 2018
Belfiore was replying to a tweet about how Chromebooks are killing it in the U.S. Which is exactly why Microsoft launched Windows 10 S in the first place. But Belfiore confirmed that, from next year, “10S will be a ‘mode’ of existing versions, not a distinct version.”
From One Confusing Mess to Another
Given that this confirmation is currently in the form of a single tweet we don’t yet know the full details. However, Thurrott previously reported that you’ll be able to buy a device with S Mode enabled, and then pay to upgrade to the fully fledged version of Windows 10.
On the face of it this seems like a change for the better. Windows 10 S is a confusing mess right now. Unfortunately, this change has the potential to confuse consumers even further. Especially if the upgrade fees aren’t made very clear at the time of purchase.
Windows 10 S Is Dead, Long Live S Mode
Windows 10 S is still a thing for the time being, but come 2019 it looks like it will be consigned to the dustbin of history like so many other half-baked ideas. In the meantime we’ll have to wait for Microsoft to reveal all of the gory details of Windows 10 S Mode.
It’s probably too late now, but for those still interested in Microsoft’s latest failure, be sure to read our overview of Windows 10 S. Or, if you’ve had enough of Windows altogether, why not read our experience of using a Chromebook for one day.
Update: In a Windows Blog post, Belfiore has clarified his earlier statement and provided more details about Microsoft’s plans for Windows 10 S. The big takeaways are that S Mode will arrive “with the next update to Windows 10” and that there will be no charge to switch out of S Mode.