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Windows S mode improves security in several ways:
- Only allowing apps from the Microsoft Store to be installed
- Only allowing Microsoft Edge as the default web browser
- Disabling command line scripting
- Disabling PowerShell
- Disabling Windows Registry editing
In addition, Windows 11 S mode boots faster and performs better than Windows 11. Here is a feature overview of Windows 11 (Switched Out) and Windows 11 S mode.
Windows 10 S mode vs. Windows 11 S mode
Windows 10 S mode and Windows 11 S mode are similar in that they both offer streamlined and secure versions of the operating system. However, there are some differences between the two versions.
First, Windows 11 brings several enhancements compared to Windows 10. This includes improved boot time, optimized memory, and enhanced security in terms of hardware-based isolation and protection against ransomware. All of these things benefit Windows S mode, making it better, faster, and more protected.
Second, Windows 11 S mode offers a more modern and streamlined user interface compared to Windows 10 S mode. This includes new features such as Snap Layouts, Snap Groups, and virtual desktops that are not available in Windows 10 S mode.
Third, Windows 11 S mode offers better performance and efficiency compared to Windows 10 S mode. This is due to improvements in the underlying architecture of the operating system, including a more optimized power management system.
Fourth, Windows 11 S mode has stricter hardware requirements compared to Windows 10 S mode. This means that not all devices that can run Windows 10 S mode will be able to run Windows 11 S mode. For example, devices must have a 64-bit processor and at least 4 GB of RAM to run Windows 11 S mode.
And last but not least, whereas Windows S mode in Windows 10 is available for the Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions, in Windows 11, only the Home edition is supported. This is why you cannot upgrade Windows 10 Pro S mode to Windows 11 Pro. Microsoft doesn't support adding Windows 11 Home to an Active Directory domain, which means you can't manage it with Group Policy. However, one way to manage Windows 11 Home S mode machines in a corporate network is to use an MDM solution.
How to check whether Windows 11 is in S mode
If you purchased an OEM Windows 11 device, S mode might have been preinstalled. To check whether S mode is active, navigate to System > About. If S mode is enabled, you will see Windows 11 Home in S mode under Edition.
The second way to verify whether S mode is enabled is by navigating to Systems > Activation.
Running EXE or MSI applications in S mode?
You can't run EXE or MSI applications in S mode. If you try to install an application, you will receive this error message:
The app you're trying to install isn't a Microsoft-verified app
The only way to install the EXE or MSI application is to switch out of Windows 11 S mode.
If you try to run the Registry Editor or a PowerShell command, you will notice a popup window with this error message:
For security and performance, this mode of Windows only runs Microsoft-verified apps.
Disable Windows 11 S mode
Note that you will not be able to return to S mode once you've switched out of S mode.
Here is how to disable S mode:
- Open the Settings tool.
- Navigate to System and then select Activation.
- Expand S mode and then click Open Store to open the Microsoft Store.
- Click the Get button to switch Windows 11 out of S mode.
That's it. Your Windows 11 S mode is now disabled. If you want to switch back to S mode, you have to reinstall Windows 11.
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Microsoft introduced S mode in Windows 10 and also offers it in Windows 11. S mode enhances security and performance. Compared to Windows 10, Windows 11 brings several benefits to the table, including improved speed, memory optimization, extended battery life, and enhanced security. Unfortunately, unlike in Windows 10, Windows 11 S mode is available only for the Home edition.