Report: Microsoft to mothball Windows 10 S in favor of an S Mode

Microsoft officially unveiled Windows 10 S just nine months ago, but Brad Sams of Thurrott reports that Redmond is already pulling the plug on the locked-down version of Windows. The letter S will be sticking around, but it'll refer to a Windows 10 mode rather than a whole different version of the operating system. Thurott says that after the upcoming Redstone 4 major update is released, the software giant will no longer offer the Windows 10 S versions of its OS. As a reminder, Redstone 3 was the code name of October's Fall Creators Update release. All versions of Windows 10 will reportedly include an S Mode that limits application installs to programs from the somewhat-barren Windows Store.

According to Sams, Microsoft says that 40% of buyers of Windows 10 S PCs from third-party manufacturers upgrade to a non-S Windows variation. Among upgraders, 60% change to a conventional version of Windows within 24 hours of purchase. Thurott says that 83% of users that tough it out with Windows 10 S for a week or more remain on the platform. The company did not release figures for the conversion rate among buyers of its Surface Laptop, its only high-end offering with Windows 10 S installed from the factory.

Sams says that after the update, Windows 10 S Home and Education users will get the option to upgrade to Windows 10 Home for no charge, but users choosing to upgrade from Windows 10 S Pro to Windows 10 Pro will need to pony up $49.

The author goes on to report that S Mode will permit the installation of third-party antivirus and security applications. Windows 10 S does not currently allow the installation of such software. Sams says his report is based on information gleaned from Microsoft internal documents, including a roadmap of Redstone 4 and beyond. He did not speculate as to whether S Mode would be activated by default on new PCs after the update.

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