Microsoft’s new Windows 10 S operating system is designed to just run Windows Store apps, but that’s probably going to be a problem for most Windows users. If you’ve just purchased a Surface Laptop, or you’re considering a range of Windows 10 S computers, then it’s simple to upgrade to the full Windows 10 Pro version. The upgrade will be free until the end of the year for any Windows 10 S computer priced at $799 or above, and for schools and accessibility users. If you don’t fit into that criteria then it’s a $49 upgrade fee, processed through the Windows Store. Here’s how to upgrade from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro.
Download a desktop app to trigger the switch
When you first download an app outside the Windows Store and attempt to install it on a Windows 10 S PC you’ll see a dialogue box that explains the restricted OS, and offers you a way out. Microsoft plans to customize this per app in the future, and in cases where the desktop app is actually listed in the Windows Store it will offer the opportunity to download the app from there. Right now, the only difference you’ll see between the dialogue boxes is if you attempt to install another browser as Microsoft tempts you back to its Edge browser instead.
At the bottom of the dialogue box, follow the “see how” link where it says “Still want to install apps from outside the Store?” This link will open the Windows Store to a new page that offers to switch to Windows 10 Pro, and offers a comparison between 10 S and 10 Pro. If you need to pay the $49 fee you can proceed, otherwise you’ll see a free upgrade button. Be warned: this switch process is irreversible, so once you’ve upgraded to Windows 10 Pro you can’t switch back to Windows 10 S, even if you reset the PC. You can also enter your own Windows 10 Pro key manually if you want to avoid the $49 fee, or simply proceed by clicking the upgrade button.
Backup before you move to Windows 10 Pro
Windows 10 will then ask if you’ve saved all your files, and then prepare to switch the PC over to Windows 10 Pro. This switch takes less than a minute and then the system will reboot and you’ll be immediately converted to Windows 10 Pro. All apps and settings will remain, and a notification will inform you the switch has been successful. At this point you can proceed to install regular Windows desktop apps from outside the Windows Store just like any other regular Windows 10 PC.