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What is the difference between Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 S?

Answer: Windows 10 S was a slimmed-down version of Windows 10 that Microsoft released in 2017. The main difference between Windows 10 and Windows 10 S was that the "S" version could only install applications from the Microsoft Store (formerly the Windows Store). The goal of Windows 10 S was to provide a basic, extra-safe version of Microsoft Windows, similar to ChromeOS.

In 2018, Microsoft discontinued Windows 10 S and replaced it with Windows 10 in S mode, a specific mode within Windows 10. Windows-based PCs are no longer sold with Windows 10 S installed.

Advantages of Windows 10 in S mode include:

  1. Faster startup time
  2. Extra security (better protection from malware)
  3. Requires less RAM and CPU
  4. Better battery life

Disadvantages of Windows 10 in S mode include:

  1. Software can only be installed from the Microsoft Store
  2. Requires Microsoft Edge for web browsing
  3. Does not include advanced Windows utilities

If your Windows PC is running Windows 10 in S Mode and you need to run additional software programs not available on the Microsoft Store, you can switch to the standard version of Windows 10 for free.

▶ Switching out of S Mode to the regular version of Windows 10 is a one-way trip. Once you switch to Windows 10 Home or Pro, you cannot switch back.

To switch from Windows 10 in S Mode to Windows 10 Home, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Click Update & Security
  3. Select Activation from the left sidebar
  4. Locate the Switch to Windows 10 Home section within Activation
  5. Click Go to the Store
  6. The Switch out of S mode page should load in the Microsoft Store
  7. Click Get to install and switch to Windows 10 Home

Published: October 5, 2020 — by Per Christensson

Answer from the PC Help Center