Buy a computer that ships with Windows 10 S right now and you have the option of switching to Windows 10 Pro for free… for a limited time. Microsoft still hasn’t said how long that deal will stick around. But according to a report from Brad Sams, now we know how much the upgrade will cost when the free offer expires: $49.

Sams says that figure comes from “some content being shared with select partners” that provides information about Windows 10 pricing.

Interestingly, Sams says Windows 10 S will also no longer be positioned as a separate version of Windows. Instead, it’ll be a “mode.” For example there could be a Windows 10 Home S and a Windows 10 Pro S. And if you buy a PC that comes with S mode, it sounds like you’ll eventually have to pay to upgrade to a version that can run apps from outside the Microsoft Store.

Update: It looks like upgrading from Windows 10 Home S or Windows 10 Education S will continue to be free, while upgrading from Windows 10 Pro S to Windows 10 Pro will cost $49.

Update 3/07/2018: Or maybe upgrading will be free for all editions. 

For the most part the documents seem to explain how much PC makers will have to pay for Windows licenses that they pre-install on notebook, tablet, and desktop computers. But knowing that number helps explain the cost of some computers.

For example, a Windows license for notebooks and 2-in-1 tablets with Intel Atom, Celeron, and Pentium chips only costs PC makers $25… as long as that computer has 4GB of RAM or less and 32GB of solid state storage or less. The same restrictions apply to small all-in-one desktops with 17 inch or smaller screens.

Double the solid state storage or use a hard drive up to 500GB and the price of a Windows license goes up to $45.

Add a more powerful processor or more memory and it goes even higher. All told, Sams says there are 5 levels:

  • Entry – $25
  • Value – $45
  • Core – $65.45
  • Core+ – $86.66
  • Advanced – $101

Sams says those new prices should start kicking in April 2nd. Keep in mind, that Microsoft hasn’t publicly confirmed these details, and the company could always work out separate pricing details for specific hardware partners. So nothing is written in stone here.

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8 replies on “Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro upgrades to cost $49… eventually”

  1. It was inevitable:

    Step-1. $49 to “upgrade” from crippled Win10S to real Win10.

    Step-2. All affordable machines will only come with crippled Win10S.

  2. I am still watching with detached amusement (Linuxer here).

    This is seems like a dishonest ripoff from Microsoft’s part. Nobody will know what the “S” means and the users will be pretty much pissed-off when they realize that they need to pay another $45 to actually use their computer (since Store apps are still very few and between).

    I guess, I will also have a bad time when the next uninformed family member comes to me with the situation (bought new computer, realizing it is shit, wants a solution quick).

  3. I was reading another article which described this slightly differently. It made it sound almost like users could switch back and forth from S to a version of full, and that some vendors might ship full-blown computers with just S activated, but that Home would be free for everyone to activate, and Pro being $49 if not activated on shipment.

    I could see that could be attractive for security reasons if you only need legacy Windows apps a few times a month, assuming you could switch back and forth relatively quickly.

  4. Is it allowed thou to change the price of a product based on how the customer plans to use it? Can I sell a hammer for $20 if you plan to use it on nails, and $15, but only if you exclusively use it with screws and ask for $5 after the sale if you ever hit a nail with it?

    1. I don’t see any problem with charging more for added features. Virtually the entire Google Play Store works that way with free and paid apps. Actually even Windows/Windows Pro has worked that way for more than a decade.

      1. Well yes, but in this case it’s the same software you are selling, and depending on what you use it on (7″ or 13″, Celeron or i7) the price changes.

        1. Oh, okay, you’re referring to the special pricing on small tablets and such. That is somewhat unusual in practice, but from an economics viewpoint it makes sense. If Microsoft carried that further they’d charge twice as much on a $1,000 computer as a $500 computer! 😉

  5. Something doesn’t add up here. An system builder Pro licence is only $150 so a Pro S licence should be $100 minus an OEM discount given the end user has another $50 to pay to upgrade it..

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