According to a report from Thurrott.com citing internal documents, Microsoft is looking to make various changes to the current editions of Windows 10. This will lead to an expansion in Windows 10 editions, including a new “S Mode” which will replace the education-focused Windows 10 S.
The new “S Mode” for Windows 10 was initially noted by Neowin, which discovered references to it in a Feedback Hub Quest. This is marking a change in Microsoft’s approach to Windows 10 S, as the company is replacing it entirely. Microsoft is now planning to give all Windows 10 users (running Windows 10 Home, Enterprise, and Pro) the option of locking down any device running Windows 10 to the “S mode,” working only with UWP apps just as Windows 10 S does. That an interesting change, considering you previously could only install Windows 10 S on a device with a Windows 10 Pro or Education license.
As noted by Thurrott.com, some PCs will also ship with Windows 10 in “S Mode,” but Microsoft is planning to allow Windows 10 Home users remove the S mode for free. Windows 10 Pro users with S mode enabled, though, will have to shell out $49 to get to standard Windows 10 Pro.
Also a major part of the change is a new Windows 10 Home Advanced SKU. This Windows 10 edition is set to become available starting May 1st and can be considered similar to Windows 10 Pro for Workstations (in that it will only be for premium PCs with high specs.)
In a separate report, Thurrott.com also explained Microsoft would also change Windows 10 licensing and pricing for OEMs starting April 2nd, basically boiling down to Windows 10 licenses costing more on higher-end devices. Interestingly, the Redmond giant is also setting some standard for partners in how they pre-install Windows 10. According to the report, Microsoft Edge will have to be set as the default browser, and the Linkedin UWP app and Office will have to pre-installed by default.
The many different editions of Windows have always been a bit hard for consumers to understand, and Microsoft will likely have a hard time explaining to consumers what this new “S Mode” is all about. Additionally, the paid update path from S mode to Pro might also bother consumers who already shell out big money for Windows devices. But whether you like it or not, it does seem that Microsoft is looking to push UWP apps and “S mode” pretty hard in the near future.