back to article Windows 10 S to become a 'mode', not a discrete product

When Microsoft launched Windows 10 S in May 2017, the company pitched it as a stripped-back version of Windows that would both run on hardware cheap enough for students around the world and make life easy for time-poor, cash-strapped school sysadmins. Now the company has signalled that Windows 10 S will become a "mode" of …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge

    So this is how it's going to work

    All Windows 10 will be 10 S, unless a) the OEM has paid MS to remove the S and passed the extra cost onto you or b) you pay.

    Welcome to Windows as a Service. Frog boiling level ++.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ... Microsoft Store ...

    So a Walled [Mental] Asylum rather than a Walled Garden ?

    Hotel Redmond. You can check out any time, but you can never leave.

    1. oiseau Silver badge

      Re: ... Microsoft Store ...

      Hotel Redmond. You can check out any time, but you can never leave.

      Yes, you can leave.

      I got myself a Ticket to Ride at the Linux Store, they call it FOSS.

      Have never loooked back.

      1. wallaby

        Re: ... Microsoft Store ...

        "I got myself a Ticket to Ride at the Linux Store, they call it FOSS."

        Oh FFS, they cant help themselves can they

        1. Friendly Neighbourhood Coder Dan

          Re: ... Microsoft Store ...

          @wallaby FFS = For Free Software?

          1. Chemical Bob

            Re: @wallaby FFS = For Free Software?

            Frustration Free Station. It's where you get on the FOSS train...

        2. tony72

          Re: ... Microsoft Store ...

          It'll be the "year of Linux on the desktop" any day now.

          1. wallaby

            Re: ... Microsoft Store ...

            "It'll be the "year of Linux on the desktop" any day now."

            You missed the icon

            added it for you

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: ... Microsoft Store ...

            "It'll be the "year of Linux on the desktop" any day now."

            Well, there are a lot of Linux chromebooks on school desks.

          3. enormous c word

            Re: ... Microsoft Store ...

            Its already here - they call it Android - you may have heard of it - its quite popular on those weird keyboardless laptops they tablets and some mobile telephony devices

          4. Updraft102 Silver badge

            Re: ... Microsoft Store ...

            It'll be the "year of Linux on the desktop" any day now.

            It is on my desktop, thanks to Microsoft. They've made Windows 10 so disgustingly bad that I feel dirty just using other, better versions of it. I used to be a Windows defender (no, not the chronically underperforming antimalware or antispyware; note the lower case 'd') when some would say that no one actually uses Windows because they like it; I'd offer that yeah, some of us do.

            By the way, did you hear about how Windows 10 is ignoring the "defer feature updates up to one year" setting and force-installing 1709 even on PCs with 11 months or more left on the deferral? Turns out that those controls over updates are really more like suggestions. Even disabling the services associated with updating doesn't work... it just turns them all right back on whenever it wants to.

            Can you believe people actually use this shite?

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. JLV Silver badge

          Re: ... Microsoft Store ...

          Look, I prefer BSD over GPL myself, but no need to get all pernicikity and finicky about open source definitions. It's annoying when the RMS crowd does it, but your hair splitting is hardly a great improvement.

          Besides, since this is about desktop OSs, Linux 1-2% market share, such as it is, greatly beats BSDs consumer/ end-user desktops (unless you want to draft in macOS in the FOSS camp somehow).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @soulrideruk - Re: ... Microsoft Store ...

          Let me guess, you're a developer/entrepreneur who'd love to make lots of dollars pilfering other developers code and GPL prevents you. Well, tough luck! GPL has been designed like that on purpose, for people like you. Just use BSD, MIT and other free software instead and stop complaining.

          Me as an end user, I feel quite comfortable with GPL restrictions.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @soulrideruk - ... Microsoft Store ...

            Not at all, I am a hobby developer who makes no money from programming, has no intention to make money from programming, well, maybe some from the games I make one day, but all source code that I release is released under the MIT license, because I don't care if someone makes money off my software, it means the code is worth something to someone, it is sure as hell not worth anything to me, that is why I released it as free software in the first place.

            I have no problem with people using restrictive licences, I just have a problem with people using restrictive licences claiming it to be 'Free' software.

  3. malle-herbert Silver badge

    " 'low-hassle'/ guaranteed performance version"

    So no more forced updates then ?

  4. hplasm Silver badge

    Political Speak.

    "I have every faith in this product and its future is secure" = It's for the chop.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 10 S = Windows 10 Shittier Edition

    1. Steve Kerr

      different version

      No, that will be Windows 10 SE

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: different version

        "No, that will be Windows 10 SE"

        I'm sure that should be Windows SE 10, followed swiftly by a re-brand into roman numerals.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: different version

          >I'm sure that should be Windows SE 10, followed swiftly by a re-brand into roman numerals.

          Excellent cryptic crossword thinking, have an upvote.

      2. oneguycoding

        Re: different version

        Too soon

  6. VinceH Silver badge

    "In recent weeks El Reg has encountered rumours hinting at the demise of Windows 10 S."

    Oh how I wish that sentence had two fewer characters immediately before the full stop.

  7. David Neil


    We’re therefore guessing that Windows 10 S mode might land in October 2017, but will more likely appear in March 2018.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really?

      Either a delayed article or the dates are a year adrift?

  8. EastFinchleyite

    Trade off

    I can see the attraction of lock down for sysadmins and security but at the price of Bing and Edge. That is just too much.

    1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: Trade off

      I'd upvote this a hundred times if I could: the first comment on the actual merits and failings of the product.

      Edge isn't actually that bad a browser these days, but I agree 100% that you should be allowed to install something else in its place.

      Also, while I think this is (stupidly) disabled in "S", you can change the default search provider in the regular Edge browser:

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Trade off

        The only way they can get people to use Bing it is to literally force them to. And even then, it's only used to search the same word each time.

  9. steelpillow Silver badge

    pwned again

    So, take one locked-down device with S installed. Hook into Citrix or Upgrade paths. Download malware to taste.

    And what about those minimal-hardware Chromebook competitors, will they just brick when that happens?

    1. Jonathan 27 Bronze badge

      Re: pwned again

      Citrix receiver is a remoting tool. The app would be running on a Citrix server, not the Windows 10 S machine.

      1. steelpillow Silver badge

        Re: pwned again

        "Citrix receiver is a remoting tool. The app would be running on a Citrix server, not the Windows 10 S machine."

        Yes of course. Nobody has ever uploaded malware to a server and attacked a remote client from there.

        Mind you, it's a bit academic if both S customers decide not to go the Citrix route.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: pwned again

        running on a Citrix server

        So useless without a connection? Isn't that what they said about chromebook?

  10. TRT Silver badge

    One Windows to rule them all...

    One Windows to find them.

    Call me sceptical if you want, but I thought there was something fishy about the one-size-fits-all announcement.

  11. ForthIsNotDead

    Oh good...

    ...another (new) 50 million attack vectors and security vulns being introduced into the Windows kernel in 3...2...1...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Passed through the BS -> English translator

    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.


    You should use Linux as an option for schools or businesses or indeed anyone that wants the 'low-hassle'/ guaranteed performance version. Next year 10S will be a "irrelevance", as we'll have come up with some other obvious way to milk you dry. SO … I think it's totally fine/good that it's not mentioned.

    1. wallaby

      Re: Passed through the BS -> English translator

      "You should use Linux as an option ......."

      And turn our children into a generation of whiners...... god forbid

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @wallaby - Re: Passed through the BS -> English translator

        In case you missed it, a whole generation of children using Linux have build empires like Google, Amazon, Netflix, Facebook and others. Now Microsoft wants to make sure this will not happen again.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: @wallaby - Passed through the BS -> English translator

          There are schools and even entire LEAs who provide every pupil with Chromebooks or iPads, both of which are *nix-like for those who look and are definitely not Windows. They usually have Windows PCs as well so the kids are getting a more rounded IT experience than in some places. These are the targets for Windows 10S. Both Google and Apple have decently good management systems in place. Don't know if MS have anything comparable or if they are still in the starting blocks.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @John Brown - Re: @wallaby - Passed through the BS -> English translator

            You say Chromebooks and iPads are *nix-like and I have to take your word on that because you can't look under the hood. From this point of view they identical to Windows S.

            As for what you call rounded IT experience with these devices, you must be joking.

            1. wallaby

              Re: @John Brown - @wallaby - Passed through the BS -> English translator

              "As for what you call rounded IT experience with these devices, you must be joking."

              this is my point, regardless of how bad something is \ you may think it is, kids should be exposed to the whole range of computing experiences (my only caveat there is the price of Apple products and the limited budgets of many schools) .

              My main issue with these forums is that the (currently) most ubiquitous platform (namely any Microsoft platform) is frequently derided here and according to a lot of the whiners should be eradicated.

              There is a frequent cry that business etc. should be allowed to choose something other than Microsoft, and you know what - they have chosen. You may not like their choice but they have the right to make it, you may say its putting money into the pockets of the behemoth that Microsoft became, but they chose it - the simple thing is the vast majority of people don't want a kit of parts they have to sling together themselves, they want a pc they can switch on, do what they need to do and in that process never once resort to having to type unless its a message to someone or a line in a search engine.

              There is a place for all O\S's out there, when you call for people to choose and they choose the one you don't like, respect their decision - and stop whining.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Passed through the BS -> English translator


      3. Robert Brockway

        Re: Passed through the BS -> English translator

        Ok Wallaby we get it, you don't like Linux :)

        Posted on a Debian GNU/Linux 9 box running fvwm2 and Chrome.

        1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

          Re: Passed through the BS -> English translator

          Actually, you don't get it. The complaint is not about Linux. It's about the attitude here that anyone who chooses to use an alternative to Linux does so solely because they're an idiot who didn't know about Linux.

          Whether he likes Linux or not doesn't stop this being a valid criticism.

          I do a lot of Linux development, but I'm not blind to the platform's strengths and weaknesses. There are much better alternatives for certain application areas (desktop apps, small-footprint embedded, realtime), where Linux is often chosen for the mistaken belief that it's cheaper (no, there's really no such thing as a free lunch.. try hiring competent Linux developers and see most of those savings evaporate). If Linux is the best fit for the problem, price is a bonus; if it isn't, you're just doing the commercial equivalent of trying to optimise a bad algorithm. No tool, no OS can fit every possible usage scenario. Anyone who claims it can is only showing how narrow their view of the computing industry is.

  13. johnnyblaze


    Win10S (or 'S' Mode) exsits for two reasons only, and neither of them are really about security;

    1. It pushes users towards Microsoft's store, because they'll have no other choice, and because everything will be UWP, anything not Edge won't work unless competitors browsers adopt UWP. MS hope this will generate way more store revenue, and make finally make developers take notice

    2. In relation to (1), it will mean MS hope to bury win32 six feet under, as that's their ultimate goal to start building a walled garden ecosystem around Windows, get people using their services and finally become what they've wanted to be for ages now - Apple v2.

    Any other 'reason' MS come up with is pure horsesh*t.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Horesh*t


      If #1 were not the case, then they would allow side-loading (for UWP, at least).

    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Horesh*t

      > Any other 'reason' MS come up with is pure horsesh*t.

      3. It steals revenue from OEMs and retail. At present OEMs install Windows 10 and, probably, Office and add these to the computer price plus some markup for profit. With 'S mode' loaded and locked the computers will be cheaper because there will be no, or much less, software revenue for the OEM or retailer and thus no, or less, markup. They won't sell add-ons because those must be installed with the end-user's account. Microsoft will get revenue directly from the user for upgrading to full Windows and for selling Office and other software from the store.

      This is probably why 10S is no longer a thing - OEMs and retailers don't want it, and nor do normal users.

      Schools may have been sucked in by the lower initial prices, but they will suffer later from the restrictions and lack of software and/or extra costs to go full 10 so they can use real software.

    3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Horesh*t

      "MS hope to bury win32 six feet under"

      Then they must be mad. Backwards compatibility with some crock of shit that happens to be critical to your job is almost the only reason anyone still uses Windows.

      1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: Horesh*t

        I've got tooling here that comes in for thousands of dollars per seat . I sure as hell can't see any way I could afford buying new on Linux, or any other OS for that matter. And that's if the application exist on that OS. Many do not.

        Almost worth contemplating going back to school to take advantage of academic discounts. Maybe pick up a degree in what they are calling "data science," which in any way looks different to this econometrician. Just under one house I bet. I had to raid other departments way back when to learn their experimental designs, models (implicit or explicit), and tooling.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This isn't news

    It was already known during the announcement that Windows S wouldn't catch on.

    In fact, I think it was only to make devs shit themselves into thinking they have to develop UWP. It had the opposite effect for me - ditch Windows.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: This isn't news

      > I think it was only to make devs shit themselves into thinking they have to develop UWP.

      Developers of Windows Mobile 6,x were dumped on from on high when Windows Phone 7 was completely incompatible in all respects. WP8 was also a large change in direction. WM10 dumped all those to go UWP, and then died. RT was also a dead end. Developers are now weary of doing anything other than 'legacy' Win32 where they can still sell to the masses of Win7, 8 and 10.

  15. Anonymous Bullard

    Nice spin

    It's already a "mode", normal editions can already be changed to it (for testing). There's nothing new.

    They're just discontinuing it because it hasn't caught on. Having used Windows S myself I'm not surprised. No firefox/chrome, command line, notepad++, vlc, ...

    It's funny how they have a sleazy smear campaign targeting Chromebooks, then they desperately attempt at copying them but fail spectacularly.

    They just don't get it. Windows is about the wide range of software, and that's all. Remove that, then there's no point in using Windows.

    And their app store is absolute shit. Not only because vendors don't wish to give their 30% or join the $1 race, but because an app is restricted in its own little silo. Which might be good for idiots who download untrusted software - but does that cover all Windows users?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Nice spin

      "They just don't get it. Windows is about the wide range of software, and that's all. Remove that, then there's no point in using Windows."

      Nail. Head.

      If you want to work inside a protected "safe" walled garden, there are already two good, well supported options.

  16. Tom 35 Silver badge

    "The decision to make Windows 10 S a "mode" suggests there's some interest in its locked-down mode of operations beyond education."

    I think it's more likely that Windows 10 S dedicated hardware (to crappy to run the full version) is just as popular as the Surface RT.

    Calling it "S" shows they have no clue, or maybe there is a troll inside Microsoft that told management "S is good, everyone will think it stands for Super!"

  17. unwarranted triumphalism

    Still going to blame Apple.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Lockdown has already happened including & in coperation with Ubuntu Linux

    Windows is still hugely anti-competitive.

    In all Linux's lifetime it has enabled a huge range of tools to deal with all manner of situations, but no more. Ubuntu move to employ unity, not the desktop, but the unity caused by a full deployment of systemd, killing off modularity in Linux. not surprising to many, but this just happens to work for Microsoft, as Ubuntu has sold it's soul to Microsoft as a bumboy, in exchange for running on Windows 10 in a Virtual Machine. Ubuntu should not be allowed to call itself LINUX but should be called Unity or something. "Unity with Microsoft"

    Windows 10 license forbids workarounds to anything Microsoft does not want you to work around, that would be including duel booting or other operating systems.

    Ubuntu 18.? and Linux Mint Mate 18.3 do not allow you to edit your EFI from the live boot/install boot, the efibootmge complains of no variables and lack of other support and will not function at all.

    Grub destroys your EFI (it did mine and more) and then efibootmgr refused to allow me to properly edit, saying that there are capital letters in the EFI table (yet it supports extended Unicode etc) and then it dumped core - it could have just showed me the entries. It's stubbornness is programmed into it.

    Further Grub on Ubuntu/Mint-Mate 18.3 kills Efi and Mbr on other partitions when supposedly only working on dev/sda and Ubuntu & Mint Maaaaaate refuse to allow youto fix it or to copy/backup your package/files in an attempt to create another EFI partition telling you "you don't have permission" (but I can delete or format partitions without permission). Grubs behaviour is not surprising it has fucked all the drives I have ever installed Linux with grub too, but they were MBR and BIOS not EFI and GPT and I could fix them.

    There are too few tools for EFI repair on Linux (live) boot/install disks, and too little fore even GPT, but that one is findable. Somehow my system changed to deny me to boot into my Windows8.1 Repair at boot time, requiring me to go thru a functional Windows.

    Grub also destroyed my capacity to boot from backed up Push button Reset and OEM and other bootables, most of repair & diags require and existing functioning copy of Windows.

    Microsoft partitions are just not now visible when at boot time and Repair screens complain they cannot find various files in \windows\system32.

    For a Windows 7/8.1 owner it locks you into a dichotomy of Install only Ubuntu/Mint-Mate or go and If you haven't already purchase a copy of Windows 10.

    Windows 7 alone has bigger market share than Windows 10 and including 8 & 8.1, is really a market winner. Microsoft's action against other earlier operating systems is still anti-competitive.

    Linux Ubuntu comes from Debian, i am not sure if systemd is built into that one, it'd be a shame if Debian had sold out too.

    I hope you find a workable Linux. I won't be with Windows any more.

    1. Citizen99

      Re: Lockdown has already happened including & in coperation with Ubuntu Linux

      'Linux Ubuntu comes from Debian, i am not sure if systemd is built into that one, it'd be a shame if Debian had sold out too.'

      Yes, Debian uses systemd now.

      Devuan is a non-systemd fork of Debian.

    2. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Lockdown has already happened including & in coperation with Ubuntu Linux

      What are you doing to have GRUB fuck up every drive you've used it on?

      I've only been using Linux for a few years (I started in the latter part of 2015 in earnest), but I've installed it on several machines... reinstalled, reconfigured, backed up, deleted partitions, shrunk partitions, enlarged partitions, tried out various distros (I prefer testing on bare metal rather than in a VM... I want to see how _my_ hardware is going to work with the distro)... and through it all, on my BIOS and UEFI systems, GRUB has been quite robust.

      There were a few issues when one of my low-level programs unceremoniously decided to change volume UUIDs, but even for a Linux neophyte like me, it wasn't hard to look up the syntax for the GRUB> prompt and get it to boot, then perform the repairs manually (what would Windows have done-- given me a big sad face emoticon and the incredibly useful "something happened"?). It has been more robust than the fragile Windows in my dual boot setups. Linux, on the other hand, just seems to want to work, while working around Windows' stubborn refusal to recognize that there exist non-Windows OSes and file systems.

      Linux is not perfect, and there are annoyances that continue to frustrate me that would be non-issues in the Windows world, but having GRUB mess up my UEFI machines has definitely not been one of those.

  19. x 7

    Handled correctly, and IF it can run RDP sessions, S mode sounds like the kind of thing that would interest some, if not most, NHS trusts and also a lot of District/County Councils.

    Many of those already use Ctrix / RDP or similar as a matter of routine, especially for remote workers with the local workstation / laptop locked down.

    S mode would be cheaper, and already partially locked down

  20. shaunhw

    Will they ever learn and not be so arrogant ?

    Why on earth do OS vendors believe that computer owners shouldn't be able to run THEIR stuff on THEIR computers and other devices ? That was once the purpose of an OS. Now we live in fear of the next update breaking our stuff or ever increasing lockdowns in the name of "Security" when it's really nothing of the sort. Just a desire to control what people do, and make money out of them.

    MS tried a complete walled garden approach with the now completely defunct ARM based Surface tablet. As a former Acorn Archimedes/RiscOS games programmer (as well as lots of other platforms) I would have loved to do something with this machine, until I found one couldn't possibly do anything with it without "permission" from MS. Same with the fruity ARM based devices.

    But ARM based Surface failed miserably, a lot of people complained and thought they'd been conned, by thinking they had "Windows" on that machine. I'm sure most of them are in a skip, or in someone's junk box nowadays.

    Will Microsoft ever learn ? It seems not.

    Also the only stable and reliable interface to Windows (if it is indeed that) is Win32. Everything else seems to get deprecated or abandoned before too long, and I wouldn't invest my time and effort into any other Microsoft runtime environment. UWP is a complete joke. It took Microsoft themselves ages to get this right. I had a Surface Pro 3 which lost its start menu, settings, and loads of the included UWP apps. No one had no idea what was happening except that it wasn't just happening to me. It was eventually fixed, but it was a miserable experience until that happened. All I got in the way of advice from MS surface support, was "reset your OS" only for it all to happen again Yeah right. Well it wouldn't have happened if they'd stuck with Win32. It turned out it happened because I refused to use a "Microsoft" account and stuck to my local login.

    Here's a solution:

    Let the owner optionally enrol a private/public key certificate on THEIR computer and password protect the private half. Then let the OWNER authorises each executable that can be run on the system with an easy screen popup when something gets run. There should be a way of enabling access for a period so things can be installed. Perhaps the installer can signal when it's done to turn off the authorisation.

    To anyone espousing Linux:

    Yes a good highly reliable alternative for some learned people, but not for the average user. Sharing data on a network for example was a nightmare on Ubuntu to set up. SUDO this that and the other, edit this config file and that one. If widespread adoption of Linux is desirable they MUST make the setup and maintenance of Linux as easy as the other OS targeted at the none technical user, and the Linux user interfaces more attractive.

    I challenge them to do all of this.

    Ubuntu desktop looks worse than windows 10 on a bad day really. I've never played with Mint, so I can't comment on that. But Linux is too geeky and hard to understand for average folk. Someone needs to write a suite of setup tools, and utilities so it can behave like the Mac or Windows and then we'll ALL go for it I'm sure!

    Yeah, Linux could be great. It powers all the smartphones, Darwin powers the Macs.

    Let's have something as usable as that, targeted at the home and average user, without the endemic control freakery, and a security system that empowers the user to create and run whatever they want, in all areas of the OS.

    Computer OWNER - Installs and runs whatever he wants to.

    Other users of OWNERS Computer - Limited to what OWNER wants on THEIR computer.

    If I wasn't so old at sixty one, I'd be up for working on all this!

  21. AmyInNH

    "We want to be on your household's weekly budget. When you use our "apps", when you access your won data. We want to sell who you are and where you are."

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019