How to Switch out of S Mode in Windows 10

If S Mode is too restrictive you can exit it, but you can't return

If you want to learn how to switch out of S mode in Windows 10, you're not alone. Doing so is relatively easy, but be warned, it's permanent, so if you aren't entirely sure, it might be worth waiting to see if it's something you really want before going ahead.

What is Windows 10 S Mode?

Windows 10 S was once a standalone version in much the same way as Windows 10 Home and Pro, but has since been incorporated into the main body of Windows as an alternative mode.

S Mode acts a little like mobile operating systems, restricting you to approved applications through the Microsoft Store. This provides some measure of security, in that you know you can't install applications that might cause problems for the platform, and it makes it far harder for nefarious software and malware to run without you knowing.

Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps, however, are limited when compared to the wide software catalog available outside of S-mode. So some people like to turn it off and remove any barriers to the software they want to use.

How to Switch out of S Mode on Windows 10

While switching out of S Mode previously meant upgrading to an entirely different version of Windows, Microsoft has more recently made it possible to change out of S mode entirely with just a few clicks or taps.

Windows 10 S switch

Before you begin this process, know that switching out of S Mode is permanent. Once you've done so, you can't switch back, save for potentially reinstalling Windows. If you're not sure if this is right for you, do some more reading first before deciding.

  1. Press Windows key+I to open the Windows 10 Settings. Alternatively, search for Settings in the Windows search bar and select the corresponding result.

  2. Select Update and Security.

  3. From the left-hand menu, select Activation.

  4. If you're running in S Mode, select either Switch to Windows 10 Home or Switch to Windows 10 Pro and you should be taken to the Microsoft Store and a bespoke S Mode page. If not, search for it and it should appear.

    If this page doesn't load for you no matter what you do, you didn't do anything wrong. This is an outstanding bug with Windows 10 and the Microsoft Store as of November 2019. To fix it, you'll need to update to the latest version of Windows 10.

  5. Select Get. When the download is complete, select Install.

What to Do After Switching out of Windows 10 S Mode

The process of switching out of S Mode only takes a few seconds and you don't need to reboot your system for it to take effect. Once it's completed installation, you should have free reign of your Windows 10 PC to install just about anything you like.

Be wary though. If you're not used to the freedoms offered by an unrestricted Windows installation, make sure you have your security steps in mind. Use a popular, updated web browser, and make sure important protective measures like Windows Defender and a strong antivirus software client are installed and running.