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Disable S Mode on Windows 11

Windows 11 S mode, by design, is a very restrictive environment that only allows app installations from the Microsoft Store. While the added security of restricting app installations might improve security and performance, it can be very limiting. After all, you don’t find many useful or popular Windows software in the Microsoft Store. That being said, if you want to exit S mode, you can disable it on Windows 11 in two ways. So, let’s dive in and disable S mode on Windows 11 without delay.

User Caution

Switching out of S mode on Windows 11 is irreversible. So, think twice before proceeding with the steps laid out below. Additionally, if your computer is managed by your organization (such as your company or school), you might not have sufficient user permissions to perform the action. In that case, contact the system administrator.

While the process won’t delete your personal files, create a backup just to be safe.

Using the Windows 11 Settings app

If you can log into your computer with your Microsoft account, you can use the Settings app to turn off the S mode. To start off, click the Settings icon on the taskbar, it looks like a gear. If you don’t have the settings icon, right-click on the Windows logo and select “Settings.” This will open the Settings Windows.

open settings on Windows 11 from win x menu

Navigate to the “System” > “Activation” page in the Settings window. This page shows the Windows 11 activation status and version information. Expand the “S Mode” section and press the “Open Store” button. Click the “Get” button in the switch-out prompt. Once you do that, Windows 11 starts the process of disabling the S mode. Wait for a while, at least ten minutes, and you will eventually see a prompt stating that S mode has been turned off.

To finish off the process, restart your computer. Click on the taskbar’s Windows logo and press the “Power” icon > “Restart” button. Once the has system restarted, it will boot into the standard Windows 11 version. You can now use your computer normally. i.e., install any application you want without Microsoft Store limitations.

Without Microsoft Account

To exit S mode on Windows 11 without a Microsoft account, Microsoft Store, or when you cannot boot, you need to disable Secure Boot in UEFI. Once the secure boot option is disabled, Windows 11 will boot in standard mode.

The first thing you should do is open the UEFI settings. For that, follow the below steps:

  • If you can boot into Windows 11: Open the Settings app (you can press Windows key + I), go to the “System” > “Recovery” page, and click on “Restart now” next to “Advanced Startup.” On reboot, select the “Troubleshoot” > “Advanced Options” > “UEFI Firmware Settings” option. Click on the “Restart” button.
  • If you cannot boot into Windows 11: Turn on the computer and immediately press the “F2”, “Delete”, or “F12” keys to boot into UEFI mode. If that doesn’t work, plug in a bootable Windows 11 USB stick, turn on the computer, and boot into the USB drive. Next, click on “Repair your computer” > “Troubleshoot” > “Advanced Options” followed by “UEFI Firmware Settings.” Click on the “Restart” button.
click on UEFI firmware settings option

Once in the UEFI screen, navigate to the Boot tab, click on the Secure Boot option, and set it to “Disabled.” Depending motherboard or laptop model, the UEFI options and their placements will be different. But, in general, the secure boot option will be found in the “Boot” or “Boot Options” menu/tab.

Note: On some PC models, you might have to press the “F7” key or click on the “Advanced Options” button to see all the available tabs and options in UEFI.

After the Secure Boot option is turned off, press the “F10” key or “Save and Exit” option. This action will save the UEFI settings and reboot your computer into standard Windows 11.

If you want, you can go back to the UEFI screen using one of the above methods and enable secure boot. Enabling secure boot will not automatically enable S mode. So, don’t worry.

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