What is Windows 11 S Mode? Everything You Need to Know

Microsoft holds around 70% of the market for desktop operating systems in the fiercely competitive tech industry. Their most recent innovation, Windows 11 S Mode, pledges security, simplicity, and high performance tailored for business environments. Notably, although this method works well for targeted tasks, it might not be a universally applicable solution. When Windows S Mode is enabled, it imposes a comprehensive lockdown on your computer, providing the utmost level of security according to Microsoft standards. Despite these heightened security measures, being aware of certain limitations is crucial.

In this article, we’ll deeply dive into Windows 11 S mode, explaining what it is, how it works, and its pros and cons. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

What is Windows 11 S Mode?

Windows 11 S Mode

Windows 11 S Mode is a streamlined and more secure version of Windows 11 designed for simplicity and efficiency. It primarily targets users who prioritize performance and security over the ability to install apps from sources other than the Microsoft Store.

Here are some key points about Windows 11 in S Mode:

  • Microsoft Store Apps Only: In Windows 11 S Mode, users can only install applications from the Microsoft Store. This restriction is intended to enhance security by ensuring that apps go through Microsoft’s verification process.
  • Enhanced Security: Since only apps from the Microsoft Store are allowed, the risk of downloading and installing malicious software is reduced. This can be particularly beneficial for less tech-savvy users.
  • Performance: Windows 11 S Mode is optimized for performance on various devices, especially lower-end hardware. The streamlined nature of the system can result in faster boot times and overall responsiveness.

If you rely heavily on applications that are not available in the Microsoft Store or you prefer more flexibility in app installations, then Windows 11 S Mode might not be the best choice for you. However, if security and performance are your top priorities, and you can find the apps you need in the Microsoft Store, it could be a suitable option.


  • Enhanced security due to app restrictions.
  • Better performance on certain devices.
  • Simplified and streamlined experience.


  • Limited to Microsoft Store apps only.
  • Some popular applications may not be available in the Microsoft Store.
  • Once you switch out of S Mode, you cannot go back.

Benefits Of Windows 11 S Mode

The advantages of Windows 11 S Mode extend beyond enhanced security. This streamlined version of Windows 11 offers a simplified and performance-optimized experience, making it ideal for users seeking a hassle-free and reliable computing environment.

1. Simplified User Experience: The Microsoft Store serves as the sole source for app installations, eliminating the complexities of managing applications from various sources.

2. Improved Performance: By limiting background processes and optimizing resource usage, Windows 11 S Mode delivers a smoother and more responsive computing experience.

3. Ideal for Students and Everyday Users: Windows 11 S Mode’s focus on security and simplicity makes it an excellent choice for students, families, and everyday users seeking a reliable and user-friendly operating system.

Read Also: Windows 11 Introduces Cocreator in Paint, an AI Tool That Creates Images from Text

What Drawbacks Are Associated With Using Windows 11 In S Mode?

1. Limited software choices

The biggest drawback of Windows 11 S Mode is that you can only download applications from the Microsoft Store. This means that you won’t be able to install any apps that are not available in the Microsoft Store, such as Adobe Photoshop or Chrome. This can be a major limitation for some users, especially those who need to use specific software for their work or school.

2. Reduced functionality

Windows 11 S Mode also has some limitations in terms of functionality. For example, you won’t be able to use the Command Prompt or PowerShell, which are two powerful tools that can be used to troubleshoot problems and automate tasks. Additionally, you won’t be able to change some of the default settings in Windows 11 S Mode, such as the default browser.

3. No free choice of browser

Windows 11 S Mode only allows the use of Microsoft Edge, the default browser. This is in contrast to regular Windows 11, which allows users to choose their browser. This can be a major inconvenience for users who prefer to use a different browser, such as Chrome or Firefox.

4. Reduced accessibility features

Windows 11 S Mode also has reduced accessibility features, and it doesn’t support assistive technologies. This can make it difficult for users with disabilities to use Windows 11 S Mode.

5. One-way switch

Once you switch to Windows 11 S Mode, you can’t switch back to regular Windows 11 for free. You will need to purchase a Windows 11 Pro upgrade license to do so.

How To Enable Windows 11’s S Mode?

S Mode cannot be manually activated; it is either pre-installed or included with the operating system. When setting up a new laptop, the option to use S Mode is typically presented during the initial setup. In instances like the Surface, some computers are shipped exclusively with S Mode, providing no option to initially try a different mode.

To verify whether your PC is operating in S Mode, head over to Settings > System > About. Within the Windows Specifications section on the About page, check the Edition entry. If you observe the phrase “in S mode” right next to the Edition, your PC is in S Mode. If not, your PC is not operating in S Mode.

Windows Specifications

How To Exit Windows S Mode?

Important Note:- Keep in mind, that transitioning out of S Mode is a one-way process; once you leave, you cannot return.

If your PC is running Windows 11 in S Mode, you can switch out of it by going to Settings > System > Activation. Click on Upgrade your edition of Windows and follow the on-screen instructions.

edition of Windows

Read Also: Beware! Fake Windows 11 Upgrade Installers Could Infect Your PC With RedLine Stealer Malware

Is it Possible To Use Google Chrome, Zoom, And Gmail In Windows 11 S Mode?

Certainly, Gmail is accessible on Windows 11 S Mode through the dedicated Gmail app available for download on the Microsoft Store. Unfortunately, applications such as Zoom and Google Chrome are not compatible with Windows 11 S Mode. Nevertheless, you have the option to utilize the web version of Zoom through the Edge browser integrated into Windows 11.

Which Productivity Applications Are Compatible With Windows 11 S Mode?

It offers a variety of productivity applications that can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store. These applications encompass popular choices like the Microsoft Office Suite, Microsoft To Do, and Microsoft OneNote. In addition, there are a plethora of third-party productivity programs available, encompassing anything from note-taking apps to project management software and communication applications. While the selection may be somewhat more restricted compared to Windows 11 Home Edition, users can still discover suitable productivity apps to fulfill their requirements.

Window 11 In S Mode: Quick, Safe, But Restricted

Windows 11 S Mode presents a compelling option for users seeking a secure, streamlined, and performance-oriented Windows experience. Its enhanced security measures, optimized performance, and simplified app ecosystem make it a viable choice for those prioritizing a worry-free computing environment. The restricted app installation policy may limit flexibility for certain users. However, the option to switch to Windows 11 Home provides the necessary flexibility for those requiring access to a wider range of applications.

I hope this article has helped you learn more about Windows 11 S mode. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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