New PC stuck in Windows 10 S mode? Here’s how to unlock it

So a colleague just bought a new PC and it came pre-installed with “Windows 10 in S mode”. This is a locked down version of Windows where you can only install apps from the app store. Regular exe files etc are blocked.

Luckily you can disable the locked down mode rather easily. However, as of today, there’s no way to reactivate it again, so keep that in mind. Your 85 y/o grandma might be better off having it enabled as it’s a good way to block potential viruses.

The annoying thing is that in order to disable S mode, you actually have to “download” or run an app from the app store, and this requires a Microsoft account. So, for those of us who likes to use a local user account instead of logging on with a Microsoft account, we still have to login in order to run the app from the Microsoft Store.

Steps for disabling Windows 10 S mode:

1: Open Settings

2: Go to Updates & Security

3: Open the Activation tab.

You will see that your current Windows edition is set to “Windows 10 X in S mode” (where X is probably Home or Pro).

4. Click on the Go to the Store button. This will open the necessary “app” you need to run in order to unlock the regular Windows mode.

5. Run the app. Login with your Microsoft account when prompted (or create a throwaway account). Your PC is now unlocked.

6. Alternative step: Install Ubuntu

Turn off CTRL + ALT + DEL at login prompt Windows 10

If your computer still requires you to press CTRL ALT DEL upon login, this simple guide will teach you how to disable it. Note that this will require administrator access and it might not work on Windows Home editions as it requires to modify local group policies.

  • Open gpedit.msc
  • Browse to Computer Configuration -> Windows Settings -> Security Settings -> Local Policies -> Security Options
  • Locate the policy called “Interactive logon: Do not require CTRL+ALT+DEL
  • Doubleclick the policy and set it to Enabled
  • Exit

Starting from your next restart, you should no longer be required to press CTRL+ALT+DEL at the Windows login prompt.

If you’re running on older Windows version the policy might be called “Disable CTRL+ALT+DEL requirement for logon




Managing WiFi profiles in Windows 10

Windows 10 removed the ability to list saved WiFi profiles in the Network and Sharing Center, so now we have to resort to the CLI.


To list all existing profiles (WLAN networks you’ve connected to in the past):

netsh wlan show profiles


To remove a network from your cache:

netsh wlan delete profile name="SSID"

Replace SSID with the profile/network you wish to delete.

How to debug a non starting application with ProcMon

I just had to install some old legacy software on a new Windows 10 computer. Vendor says it “should work”, but apparantly not without some challenges.

Fast forward ten minutes. Application installed successfully. A couple dll error messages during the setup but I happily ignored those and went on my way.

I cross my fingers and start the application…. nothing happens. Try again. Reboot. Still nothing. Login as local administrator account and reinstall software. Nothing. Start in compatibility mode for XP and set to 256 colors… nothing. Run as admin. Nothing works, you know the drill.

So naturally our next point is to either give up or go all in and fire up ProcessMonitor. Unfortunately we really needed this to work so ProcMon it is.


1) First of we have to set up some filters. Click on the Filter button as showed in the picture below:

2) Set the Process Name == executable filename.exe and Result != SUCCESS. Leave the default filters as they are.

3) Now clear the log for good measure and start the troubling application. ProcMon will now be populated with every single failed event processed by the application.

In the picture above I started to notice a pattern with .NET framework. Then I remembered we had some other software which required .NET framework 3.5, and that’s not easily available on Windows 10. So the next thing I did was to install .NET framework 3.5 and the application worked!!

See this other post for .NET 3.5 install instructions:

How to install .NET Framework 3.5 on Windows 10


How to install .NET Framework 3.5 on Windows 10

If you’re trying to install .NET Framework 3.5 using the regular installer, it’ll most likely say you already have a newer version installed. Luckily you can still install it using some other methods which I’ll quickly go through today along with its probability of success (because for reasons they only work sometimes).


Using Windows Features – probably won’t work

  • Open appwiz.cpl (Programs and Features) and click on Turn Windows features on or off [1]
  • Mark the checkbox for .NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0)
  • Press OK


Using DISM online version – might work

  • Open command prompt as administrator
  • Enter command: DISM.EXE /Online /Add-Capability /CapabilityName:NetFx3~~~~
  • If it works you’ll see a progress bar for the download + installation.


Using DISM offline version – works most of the time

  • Get a copy of the .NET Framework 3.5 installation .cab file.
    You can find this inside the Windows 10 install .iso file (open the .iso file in 7-Zip or any other package utility and copy the file from \sources\sxs\ directory to a place on your drive, like C:\Temp
  • Enter command: DISM.EXE /Online /Add-Package /PackagePath:C:\Temp\
  • If it works you’ll see a progress bar for the installation.