The streamlined, locked-down version of Windows will cease to be a standalone product in 2019.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 S will cease to be a standalone product next year, as it evolves into a mode for the full-fat version of Windows 10, the company has revealed. The announcement came in a Twitter exchange between a PC World journalist and Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore, who were discussing why Windows 10 S was omitted from a blog post highlighting the success of Windows devices in education.

“Next year 10S will be a “mode” of existing versions, not a distinct version,” Belfiore said.

That’s a change in strategy from how Windows 10 S is distributed at the moment, where it is only available as a standalone product – albeit one that can be upgraded to the full version of Windows 10 for a one-off fee. This has been rumoured for some time, but not confirmed by the company until now – and even as I write the details are scant. Will users be free to switch between versions, or will there be a fee involved? One early rumour suggested that Home users would be able to disable S mode for free, while Pro users would need a one-off fee of $US49 to unlock the full mode – not unlike what is in place now.

Windows 10 S, for those that aren’t aware, is a locked-down, streamlined version of Windows 10 aimed to target the Chromebook’s dominance in education. As well as being less resource intensive than Windows 10, it also only allows programmes to be installed from the Windows store making it both more secure and less open to misuse.

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