Windows 10 S is more secure, but you might prefer to turn it off. Here's how to do it
Many new PCs these days come with Windows 10 S Mode turned on, which has much to recommend it: it's more secure and the restrictions mean it should also run smoothly.
Windows 10 S is a mode on top of Windows 10 Home that imposes three restrictions. First, you can only install software from the Microsoft Store, which means you're much less at risk of accidentally installing something with a nasty payload of malware.
Second, you can't launch the Command prompt, which means you can't invoke potentially risky commands that could damage your system if you're not sure what you're doing.
And third, you can only use Microsoft's own Edge browser - you can't install Firefox or Chrome or any other third-party browser.
You might find that running in S Mode is absolutely fine for your everyday use, but if it's too restrictive, you can turn it off in a couple of easy steps.
Do note that this is a one-way street: you can't revert to S Mode without completely resetting your PC.
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To get started, tap the Windows key and type activation in the search box, then click Activation settings at the top of the results box.
This brings up the Activation window of the Settings app. In that window you'll see the version of Windows you have - our screenshot was done on a PC that has already had S Mode turned off, but if yours has S Mode turned on, it will say so in the Edition line.
Underneath that you'll see Switch to Windows 10 Home: click on the Go to the Store underneath that.
That will launch the Microsoft Store, where you'll be offered the option to Switch out of S Mode. Click Get, and then you'll see a message that you've switched out of S Mode.
Once you've switched out of S Mode, you'll be able to install software from anywhere on the web, and other browsers too.
You should consider installing antivirus software if you've switched out of S Mode, too. Click here to read our latest tests of antivirus software for Windows.
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