Surface Go device
Microsoft

Windows 10’s S Mode won’t let you install software from outside the Store or even change Edge’s default search engine. If you purchased a Surface Go this week, you’ve likely been trapped in S Mode.

This problem affects people who purchase a Surface Go, Surface Laptop, or any of the other devices that come in S Mode. You’re supposed to be able to leave S Mode for free. Microsoft originally planned to charge $100 for leaving S Mode, however, so the option to leave S Mode is in the Store app.

The Store app’s “leave S Mode” feature has been broken for three days, however. As a thread on the Microsoft Answers forum describes, users are seeing blank gray screens in the Store app when attempting to leave S Mode.

Gray screen when trying to leave S Mode in Windows 10's Store app
KJohnsonBMD/Shutterstock.com

Obviously, this is pretty bad: People who purchased a Surface Go or another S Mode PC at the start of this week have been totally unable to leave S Mode and actually install the software they want to use on their device all week. As far as Windows bugs go, being trapped in S Mode is a pretty bad one that can make someone’s new hardware totally useless. How many Surface Gos have been returned to stores this week?

There do seem to be some ways around this: One forum poster claims he spent two hours on the phone with Microsoft Support, who eventually fixed the problem. Some say that if you reset your PC and quickly use the Store to leave S Mode, you can get out of it. But, if the Store app updates itself, the leave S Mode feature will break once again. Microsoft needs to fix the problem.

Thanks to Woody Leonhard at AskWoody and Barb Bowman for spotting this.

RELATED: What is Windows 10 in S Mode?

Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor in Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for nearly a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6 and Chicago's WGN-TV, and his work has been covered by news outlets like The New York Times and the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than 500 million times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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