What Is S Mode on a Laptop?

Chris Campbell09 Feb 2022

Microsoft added a new function to their Windows 10 OS in 2017. S mode is a low-end computer-friendly, stripped-down, tightly-locked way to run Windows 10.

There are several reasons to run a Windows 10 PC in S mode, such as:

  • it is safer because it only enables programs from the Windows Store to be installed;
  • It has been optimized to utilize less RAM and CPU, 
  • Whatever a user performs in it is immediately stored to OneDrive to free up local storage

If it seems like another operating system, you're not mistaken. It's similar to Google's ChromeOS for Chromebooks. Microsoft even developed Windows 10 in S mode to operate on ARM processors, so it's purposefully meant to perform well on devices that wouldn't typically run Windows 10.

However, improvements in performance and security usually come at a cost, and Windows 10 in S mode is no exception. If you're thinking about acquiring a new Windows 10 PC, particularly a Surface device, which typically comes with Windows 10 in S mode as standard, make sure you understand what you're getting yourself into before you're met with unwanted surprises.

Here are its advantages:

  • Windows 10 is more secure when running in S mode
  • Ideally suited for large-scale business and educational installations
  • It is simple to upgrade to the full version of Windows 10

Here are the disadvantages:

  • Apps can only be installed via the Microsoft Store.
  • No Adobe applications, no Apple apps, no non-Microsoft video conferencing applications, and no third-party security software are allowed
  • Edge is the default browser for S mode users, while Bing is the default search engine

What Is S Mode on an HP Laptop?

S Mode is a more restricted, locked-down version of the Windows OS. In Windows 10 S Mode, users can only install apps from the Store and use Microsoft Edge to browse the web. Other browsers can be installed from the Microsoft Store on Windows 11 S Mode, but Edge will always be the default browser.

Microsoft is emphasizing security, performance, and stability in its release. Malware from the internet will not be able to execute since Windows can only launch programs from the Store. Because you can't install software from the web, automatic startups that slow down your booting or junkware spies are avoided.

The Bing search engine is also promoted in S Mode. The Microsoft Edge browser uses Bing as its default search browser when in S Mode. You can't change Edge's default search engine to Google until you first exit S Mode. Other search engines, such as Google.com, can still be accessed using Edge.

S Mode appears to be limited, and that is precisely the point. If all you need is a simple Microsoft Edge browser, Microsoft Office products like Word, and anything else from the Microsoft Store, you should consider S Mode.

What Is S Mode on a Lenovo Laptop?

If you just bought a new Lenovo laptop, you may have discovered that you are unable to install some programs. If you have a laptop running Windows 10 S, this might happen. But what exactly is Windows 10 S, and how does it work?

Windows 10 S Mode is a configuration that is intended to provide quick start speeds, longer battery life, and improved security. However, you can't use particular web browsers or download programs that aren't available in the Microsoft Store with Windows 10 S.

Microsoft claims that Windows 10 S Mode provides reliable speed and quality. Windows 10 S Mode has various advantages:

  • Consistent performance
  • Boot times that are faster
  • Increased battery life
  • Save files to the cloud automatically
  • Enhanced security features
  • There are several applications to pick from

Windows 10 S Mode has certain drawbacks that may make you want to uninstall it:

  • You can only use Edge and Bing
  • Third-party applications installations are blocked
  • Accessory support is limited
  • There are no tools for customizing or configuring the operating system

Can You Take a Laptop Out of S Mode?

Windows S Mode is a security feature included in newly purchased Windows laptops. It effectively prevents the user from installing anything other than what is available in the Windows 10 Store, as well as using Edge as a browser and Bing as a search engine. This prohibits the installation of third-party programs.

It’s possible to take a laptop out of S Mode. But first, you need to verify that your laptop is indeed running in S Mode. Go to the About section of your Windows 10 version to verify if S Mode is enabled on your laptop.

To accomplish this, first:

  • Launch the Start Menu. This is the Windows logo-shaped icon in the lower-left corner of your screen.
  • Then, select Settings. This is the gear-shaped button right above the power settings.
  • Choose System in the Settings window.
  • Then, under the left sidebar, tap About.
  • The Windows Specification section will tell you what mode of Windows you have.

The departure from S mode is one-way. You won't be able to return to Windows 10 in S mode once you've made the transition:

  • Navigate To Settings > Update & Security > Activation on your laptop.
  • Under the Switch to Windows 10 Home or Switch to Windows 10 Pro section, choose Go to Store.
  • Click the Get button on the Switch out of S Mode page that displays in the Microsoft Store. You'll be able to install programs from sources other than the Microsoft Store after you receive a confirmation message on the page.

How To Disable S Mode on an HP Laptop

The steps to exit the restricted S Mode are relatively straightforward. A note of warning: switching off Windows 10 S mode is an irreversible operation, and you cannot return to S Mode after you have done the switch.

To exit Windows 10 S mode, follow these steps:

  • Type "Windows Settings" on the search box.
  • Navigate to "Update & Security."
  • From the left panel, click Activation and search for the heading "Switch to Windows 10 Home."
  • To launch the "Switch out of S mode" window, click the "Go to the Store" link.
  • Click the Get button, then the Install button.
  • A notification will pop up saying, "You're running Windows 10 – S mode," Just flip the switch and you're done.

S Mode is definitely a step up from Microsoft. It comes with several pros, with enhanced security on the top of the list. However, it does come with drawbacks like being unable to install third-party apps which be a major turn-off. Thus, choosing to use S Mode is optional. If you're using mostly Microsoft apps on your laptop, then by all means get the most out of your Windows experience with S Mode. But if you're mainly using third-party apps and relying on Google Chrome, you should take a hard pass

Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell

Thanks for reading! I'm Chris, an avid tech fanatic that enjoys keeping up with the latest laptop models. Hopefully my tips & tricks can help you out!

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