Install Window 11 in S mode (or Windows 10)


cereberus

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Most people who get PCs with S mode go to MS store to remove S Mode.

Recently a friend asked me if they could have normal mode for them but S mode for their children.

So I tried it today, thinking the answer is yes provided you are happy to dual boot a normal version and an S version.
The children would have no access to the normal version, and could only log into a child account on S version.

So I installed Windows 11 in S Mode, and sure enough the dual boot version was S Mode.

Cracked it I thought until I booted back to Host OS and to my shock horror, that was also in S Mode!
Incidentally S Mode is only supposed to be in Home for W11, and my Host is Pro!

So I restored an image backup taken earlier today, and it was still in S mode!

I then went to MS Store and used app to put host back to normal mode.

I then booted back to the W10 Home S version, and guess what S Mode has gone.

So the S mode switching must be buried in bios or bcd or something, as it is all or nothing.

So it seems it is not possible to run one installation as normal, and the other as S mode in a dual boot configuration as far as I can tell.

However, after experimenting, you can have separate EFIs and select which OS you want from bios - a partial success but not as slick as I wanted.

Anyway, if you want to install S mode on a PC for your children (or click happy siblings lol), you can use this below.

How to Enable S mode in Windows 11 Home (works with Windows 10 as well)


Windows 10/11 in S mode is a mode that can be applied to a Windows edition to enable a productive Windows experience that's streamlined for security and performance. By exclusively using apps in the Microsoft Store and ensuring that you browse safely with Microsoft Edge, Windows 10/11 in S mode keeps you running fast and secure day in and day out. The same technology that makes Windows 10/11 in S mode secure also creates some differences when creating software images for Windows 10 devices.

You can set up S mode in Windows 11 Home.

To enable S mode, you'll create an unattend.xml file, and then use DISM to apply the unattend file to a mounted Windows image.


Here's How:


 Step 1 - create file stucture for dism commands


I created the following file structure to do this

C:\test\answerfiles containing the xml file (I called it myunattend.xml file) created in step 2

C:\test\images containing the install wim file that we modify from the default in the standard MS iso.

Mount standard Windows 11 iso and copy install.wim from sources folder (note - you need to downloaded iso direct rather than via mct which uses install.esd)

C:\test\offline which needs to be created up front even though blank.

(You can change drive and path C:\Test if you wish)



 Step 2 - Create myunattend.xml file


Select below in notepad or similar and save as c:\test\answerfiles\myunattend.xm

Code:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<unattend xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:unattend">

    <settings pass="offlineServicing">

        <component name="Microsoft-Windows-CodeIntegrity"

processorArchitecture="amd64"

publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral"

versionScope="nonSxS"

xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State"

xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">

            <SkuPolicyRequired>1</SkuPolicyRequired>
 
       </component>
    </settings>

 
xmlns:cpi="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:cpi" />

</unattend>



 Step 3 - apply dism to unattend file


Type the following command to mount the offline Windows image.

Code:
Dism /Mount-Image /ImageFile:C:\test\images\install.wim /name:"Windows 11 Home" /MountDir:C:\test\offline
(subsitute "Windows 10 Home" for Windows 10.


Type the following command to apply the unattended answer file to the image.

Code:
DISM /Image:C:\test\offline /Apply-Unattend:C:\test\answerfiles\myunattend.xml


Type the following command to commit the changes and unmount the image.
Code:
Dism /Unmount-Image /MountDir:C:\test\offline /Commit


Sometimes it does not properly dismount the files and gives an error message. The install.wim file is properly updated though. If you get that error, run following to tidy up dismounting.


Code:
Dism /cleanup-mountpoints


 Step 4 - Install Windows 10/11 Home S


Create usb installation flash drive using standard windows iso, and replace install.wim in usb sources directory with modified install.wim in c:\test\images directory

Boot from usb drive and install and setup in normal way, choosing Home.

You now have Home 10/11 S running in S mode.

Then set up Home 10/11 S, adding a child account, with appropriate family features set (use MS account so you as parent can see activity).
Obviously you do not give the child access to main admin account.
 
Last edited:

My Computer

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    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
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    ASUS Vivobook 14
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    Yep, Laptop has one.
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It would be interesting to see the results of bcdedit for the S mode installation.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Homebuilt
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero (WiFi)
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Education
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 7773
    CPU
    Intel i7-8550U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Nvidia Geforce MX150
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 512GB NVMe SSD
    SK Hynix 512GB SATA SSD
    Internet Speed
    Fast!
I'd like to see the different drive method as well.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Win 11 Home ♦♦♦22631.3593 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦23H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Built by Ghot® [May 2020]
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
    Motherboard
    Asus Pro WS X570-ACE (BIOS 4702)
    Memory
    G.Skill (F4-3200C14D-16GTZKW)
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA RTX 2070 (08G-P4-2171-KR)
    Sound Card
    Realtek ALC1220P / ALC S1220A
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell U3011 30"
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1600
    Hard Drives
    2x Samsung 860 EVO 500GB,
    WD 4TB Black FZBX - SATA III,
    WD 8TB Black FZBX - SATA III,
    DRW-24B1ST CD/DVD Burner
    PSU
    PC Power & Cooling 750W Quad EPS12V
    Case
    Cooler Master ATCS 840 Tower
    Cooling
    CM Hyper 212 EVO (push/pull)
    Keyboard
    Ducky DK9008 Shine II Blue LED
    Mouse
    Logitech Optical M-100
    Internet Speed
    300/300
    Browser
    Firefox (latest)
    Antivirus
    Bitdefender Internet Security
    Other Info
    Speakers: Klipsch Pro Media 2.1
  • Operating System
    Windows XP Pro 32bit w/SP3
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Built by Ghot® (not in use)
    CPU
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ (OC'd @ 3.2Ghz)
    Motherboard
    ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe Wireless Edition
    Memory
    TWIN2X2048-6400C4DHX (2 x 1GB, DDR2 800)
    Graphics card(s)
    EVGA 256-P2-N758-TR GeForce 8600GT SSC
    Sound Card
    Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    ViewSonic G90FB Black 19" Professional (CRT)
    Screen Resolution
    up to 2048 x 1536
    Hard Drives
    WD 36GB 10,000rpm Raptor SATA
    Seagate 80GB 7200rpm SATA
    Lite-On LTR-52246S CD/RW
    Lite-On LH-18A1P CD/DVD Burner
    PSU
    PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad EPS12V
    Case
    Generic Beige case, 80mm fans
    Cooling
    ZALMAN 9500A 92mm CPU Cooler
    Mouse
    Logitech Optical M-BT96a
    Keyboard
    Logitech Classic Keybooard 200
    Internet Speed
    300/300
    Browser
    Firefox 3.x ??
    Antivirus
    Symantec (Norton)
    Other Info
    Still assembled, still runs. Haven't turned it on for 13 years?
Might get the same results per user account.
1675661485386.png
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10
I'd like to see the different drive method as well.
No different to installing OS on any second drive.

1) temporarily disconnect drive 1
2) install OS from booted usb drive to drive 2
3) reconnect drive 1.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0
I wonder if S Mode is tied to the digital license?
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Homebuilt
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero (WiFi)
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Education
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 7773
    CPU
    Intel i7-8550U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Nvidia Geforce MX150
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 512GB NVMe SSD
    SK Hynix 512GB SATA SSD
    Internet Speed
    Fast!
S mode is promising but some improvement needs to be made IMO

  • Optimised (S Mode should be as optimised as possible to give it a purpose of recovering old laptops too)
  • Perhaps improved search features like ChromeOS offers
  • Ease-of-use for those new to computing
  • Improved MS Store with more apps and verification
 
Last edited:

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 21H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Chillblast
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 3 3100
    Motherboard
    Asus ROG Strix b450-f
    Memory
    Corsair 8GB x 2 (16GB)
    Graphics Card(s)
    Asus Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 Super
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell 27" 1440p
    Screen Resolution
    1440p
    Hard Drives
    Seagate Barracuda 1TB
    256GB NVME Seagate Barracuda
    Browser
    Firefox / Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
  • Operating System
    Windows 8.1
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP
    CPU
    Amd E2
    Memory
    4GB
    Hard Drives
    128GB SSD
I wonder if S Mode is tied to the digital license?
S mode uses same home digital licence.

If you install Home S on a pc or vm activated by Home, it installs. You can also get Home N S.

re. bcdedit - you cannot run it in S mode (or any command/powershell command).
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0
  • Ease-of-use for elders or youth
Isn't that being ageist - most of the experts on this forum are getting on a wee bit.

In my experience it is the middle aged people who need ease-of-use as most are to impatient to learn.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0
Isn't that being ageist - most of the experts on this forum are getting on a wee bit.

In my experience it is the middle aged people who need ease-of-use as most are to impatient to learn.
I see what you mean. Fixed. And sorry for any offence!!

1675708187293.png
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 21H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Chillblast
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 3 3100
    Motherboard
    Asus ROG Strix b450-f
    Memory
    Corsair 8GB x 2 (16GB)
    Graphics Card(s)
    Asus Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 Super
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell 27" 1440p
    Screen Resolution
    1440p
    Hard Drives
    Seagate Barracuda 1TB
    256GB NVME Seagate Barracuda
    Browser
    Firefox / Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
  • Operating System
    Windows 8.1
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP
    CPU
    Amd E2
    Memory
    4GB
    Hard Drives
    128GB SSD
Just tested it in a VM. You are absolutely right cereberus! I installed the first VM with Windows 11 Home (normal), with no internet connection. Used oobe/bypassnro to create a local account. Signed in, added the network and activated it. Then I installed Windows 11 S Mode on a new drive, but it setup dual booting. I did the install with no network adapter and could not get into command prompt to run oobe /bypassnro so I was stuck at that point - never finished setting up S Mode Windows 11. Restarted the VM, logged back into the first Windows 11 Home and it was, very indeed, now Windows 11 S. I think it has got to be in the BCD. So I am going to boot the VM back into the install drive and use bcdedit there to examine the BCD.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Homebuilt
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero (WiFi)
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Education
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 7773
    CPU
    Intel i7-8550U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Nvidia Geforce MX150
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 512GB NVMe SSD
    SK Hynix 512GB SATA SSD
    Internet Speed
    Fast!
It's not in the BCD. At least not that I could see. I would not think it is in the BIOS. I got no idea how MS is pulling this one off! It can't be the digital license because I never let the Windows S installation connect to the internet. I don't know, maybe it can set something in UEFI settings in the computer firmware. Maybe I will try it with legacy booting and see if it does it with MBR and Legacy booting. But it is weird it did it in a VM machine - I'm not sure how UEFI firmware works with a VM.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Homebuilt
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero (WiFi)
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Education
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 7773
    CPU
    Intel i7-8550U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Nvidia Geforce MX150
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 512GB NVMe SSD
    SK Hynix 512GB SATA SSD
    Internet Speed
    Fast!
I would disconnect the disk with the standard Windows 11 Home/Pro, install Windows Home S in the other disk. Then connect both disks and make default to boot in S mode. Disable the Boot priority key, so you must enter BIOS to select boot device. Set a BIOS password so the children cannot bypass it. If I wanted to boot in the standard Windows, I would need to enter BIOS with my password and temporarily change the boot order. Otherwise the computer is stuck at Windows S mode with the children unable to do something about it (unless they Clear CMOS or remove the battery, but this is too advanced for them).

Alternatively, I would use only standard Windows 11 but also enable parental controls to limit the children's accounts so they can only use the computers certain hours and can only launch allowed applications, nothing more. This sounds much simpler than dual boot standard and S mode.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 23H2 64-bit (build 22631.3593)
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Acer Extensa 5630EZ
    CPU
    Mobile DualCore Intel Core 2 Duo T7250, 2000 MHz
    Motherboard
    Acer Extensa 5630
    Memory
    4GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Mobile Intel(R) GMA 4500M (Mobile 4 series)
    Sound Card
    Realtek ALC268 @ Intel 82801IB ICH9 - High Definition Audio Controller
    Monitor(s) Displays
    1
    Screen Resolution
    1280x800
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB SATA Device (250 GB, SATA-III)
    Internet Speed
    VDSL 50 Mbps
    Browser
    MICROSOFT EDGE
    Antivirus
    WINDOWS DEFENDER
    Other Info
    Legacy MBR installation, no TPM, no Secure Boot, no WDDM 2.0 graphics drivers, cannot get more unsupported ;) This is only my test laptop. I had installed Windows 11 here before upgrading my main PC. For my main PC I use everyday see my 2nd system specs.
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro v23H2 (build 22631.3593)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom-built PC
    CPU
    Intel Core-i7 3770 3.40GHz s1155 (3rd generation)
    Motherboard
    Asus P8H61 s1155 ATX
    Memory
    2x Kingston Hyper-X Blu 8GB DDR3-1600
    Graphics card(s)
    Gainward NE5105T018G1-1070F (nVidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4GB GDDR5)
    Sound Card
    Realtek HD audio (ALC887)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Sony Bravia KDL-19L4000 19" LCD TV via VGA
    Screen Resolution
    1440x900 32-bit 60Hz
    Hard Drives
    Patriot Burst Elite 480GB SSD as system disk, Western Digital Caviar Purple 4TB SATA III (WD40PURZ) as second
    PSU
    Thermaltake Litepower RGB 550W Full Wired
    Case
    SUPERCASE MIDI-TOWER
    Cooling
    Stock Intel CPU Fan, 1x 8cm fan at the back
    Mouse
    Sunnyline OptiEye PS/2
    Keyboard
    Mitsumi 101-key PS/2
    Internet Speed
    100Mbps
    Browser
    Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Windows Defender
    Other Info
    Legacy BIOS (MBR) installation, no TPM, no Secure Boot, WDDM 3.0 graphics drivers, WEI score 7.4
So, the plot thickens. Using the same VM, I attached one of the previously used virtual drives to it, and booted it from a completely stock Windows 11 ISO file downloaded from Microsoft. At the first setup screen, I entered a command prompt and did the clean command on the virtual hard drive. Then continued with Windows setup from the stock, unmodified ISO file. Windows 11 Home IN S MODE was installed!!!! Wow.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Homebuilt
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero (WiFi)
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Education
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 7773
    CPU
    Intel i7-8550U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Nvidia Geforce MX150
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 512GB NVMe SSD
    SK Hynix 512GB SATA SSD
    Internet Speed
    Fast!
So, the plot thickens. Using the same VM, I attached one of the previously used virtual drives to it, and booted it from a completely stock Windows 11 ISO file downloaded from Microsoft. At the first setup screen, I entered a command prompt and did the clean command on the virtual hard drive. Then continued with Windows setup from the stock, unmodified ISO file. Windows 11 Home IN S MODE was installed!!!! Wow.
Yeah - it is a real mystery. I got bizarre issues. When my Pro version got "converted" to S mode, a restore from Macrium Reflect restored the backup ok BUT it was still S Mode. After a mini panic, I used the MS Store app to remove S mode and that worked.

As I am replacing all partitions including the EFI partition in a Reflect restore, I initially thought it cannot be the bcd that holds the S info.

I (like you) initially concluded the S Mode must be setting some sort of flag in the UEFI firmware that is not available via Windows or the normal "bios" menus.

However, that contradicts the fact with 2 EFIs, I can have one in S Mode and the other Normal - if it was firmware, I do not see how that would work.

This one has got me bamboozled!

The only thing I can think of something gets written to EFI partition in some kind of hidden sector but GPT is not supposed to have hidden sectors.

One thing I am wondering is if I save the EFI partition in Reflect using forensic mode (before kicking in S Mode), whether that would wipe any S Mode flags upon restore. I am clutching at straws though!
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0
However, that contradicts the fact with 2 EFIs, I can have one in S Mode and the other Normal - if it was firmware, I do not see how that would work.
Are you sure? I was never able to make that happen, even with 2 EFIs and even when installing from a completely stock ISO file onto a brand new blank VHDX. See here:
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Homebuilt
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero (WiFi)
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Education
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 7773
    CPU
    Intel i7-8550U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Nvidia Geforce MX150
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 512GB NVMe SSD
    SK Hynix 512GB SATA SSD
    Internet Speed
    Fast!
I would disconnect the disk with the standard Windows 11 Home/Pro, install Windows Home S in the other disk. Then connect both disks and make default to boot in S mode. Disable the Boot priority key, so you must enter BIOS to select boot device. Set a BIOS password so the children cannot bypass it. If I wanted to boot in the standard Windows, I would need to enter BIOS with my password and temporarily change the boot order. Otherwise the computer is stuck at Windows S mode with the children unable to do something about it (unless they Clear CMOS or remove the battery, but this is too advanced for them).

Alternatively, I would use only standard Windows 11 but also enable parental controls to limit the children's accounts so they can only use the computers certain hours and can only launch allowed applications, nothing more. This sounds much simpler than dual boot standard and S mode.
Sure - I am fully aware of above. The discussion has moved on to "why" we cannot dual boot - I have already established we can have separate EFIs. In the end, it is now more an intellectual issue - I (and @NavyLCDR) hate to be beaten LOL)
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0
Once in S Mode, though, I could not get any Windows to run in normal mode (unless it was unlocked via the MS store). That included with separate EFI partitions and a clean install from a stock ISO file onto a completely new blank virtual hard drive.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Homebuilt
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero (WiFi)
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Education
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 7773
    CPU
    Intel i7-8550U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Nvidia Geforce MX150
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 512GB NVMe SSD
    SK Hynix 512GB SATA SSD
    Internet Speed
    Fast!
Ahh... Tenforums has the apparent answer, it is in UEFI firmware!

Code integrity policy​

The code integrity policy (CI) blocks the execution of unsigned or improperly signed binaries. Using unsupported binaries is only recommended when performing lab or factory image customization, or during deployment where the execution environment is either WinPE or Audit Mode.

Once the CI policy is enabled on a system, it is enabled in two places:

  1. Windows 11 in S mode, enforced at boot.
  2. EFI firmware policy, enforced during firmware load and OS boot.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Homebuilt
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero (WiFi)
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Education
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 7773
    CPU
    Intel i7-8550U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Nvidia Geforce MX150
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 512GB NVMe SSD
    SK Hynix 512GB SATA SSD
    Internet Speed
    Fast!

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