johnbus's blog
Welcome to the personal blog of johnbus
Color
Background color
Background image
Font Type
Font Size
    johnbus DISCLAIMER: I"M NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYTHING YOU DO OR WHATEVER HAPPENS TO YOUR STUFF.
    NOTE: I'm scatterbrained, so this is will probably be formatted horribly. Just FYI.
    ======================================================================

    I am planning on going on a trip at some point, and I didn't want to bring my pricier electronics along. Not that they are perticularly nice, I just don't have the money to replace them. My solution is to get a disposable laptop (a craptop). Something under $100. Something so cheap and unsympathetic that if I bring it on a boat, and it gets dunked, it won't be a big enough loss to ruin the trip.

    While shopping around for craptops, I managed to find a Windows 10 machine for only $70. Now, I've shopped for craptops in the past, but I've never seen a full-fleged Windows laptop for under $100. Ever. It just isn't worth the license cost (or lawsuit cost) to the manufacturer. For anyone wondering what it is exactly, it's a EVOO EV-C-116-1 series. (I prefer to call the brand OwO because I am a mature adult.) Further investigation was needed.

    As it happens, it wasn't full-fleged Windows. It was Windows 10 S. "What the hell is that" I thought to myself. Well, it turns out the S stands for Sucks since it locks the user down the the Microsoft Store. This is being advertised as a means of supplying cheap laptops to students that also forbid dangerous or distracting software, like Chrome or Firefox. It's the iOS model from M$ instead of Apple. You can also *cough* upgrade *cough* to regular Windows 10 Home for about $50 from what I hear. At this point I was thinking to myself "I wonder if I can break that."

    I'm no 1337 H4X0R or anything. I just like to use my devices in ways that may not be intended by the manufacturers. Simply put, if I can't use my devices the way I want, I can't truly claim ownership over them. I do want to do things on the up-and-up, though. So, here were my rules: Break the Sucks mode with only the laptop, using a MicroSD with adapter (for storage and boot options) and whatever I can get working from off the Internet. Nothing from other machines, and not touching Not-E Bay (torrents are cheating).

    So, I get the craptop, and I start poking around to test the limits of the Sucks mode. I boot up Edge, and immediately download Firefox. I wasn't expecting it to work, but sometimes watching something fail can give insight to future successes. It downloads fine, but when I try to run it, Sucks tells me I already have Edge. I was somewhat unnerved by the fact that Sucks knew the type of program installer I tried to use, and the creepy way it tries to groom users to a M$-only lifestyle. I did learn one thing: I could download files, and that could come in handy.

    After some time, I decided to check on the partitions. Just in case Sucks mode used some hidden partition that I could wipe. I try to do this the only way I know how: Command Prompt. I right-click the Windows icon to get Power Options, and it's not there. Odd. I check for administration options in the Start Menu, and come up empty. I check a guide Online for every listed location in Windows 10, and there's no trace. (apart from recovery mode, but that isn't admin mode, so it's worthless to me) Finally, I stop being lazy, go to run, and type cmd.exe. It was BLOCKED. M$ prevents it's Windows S users from accessing Command Prompt because we didn't get it from the Microsoft Store! WHAT. THE. HELL. I spent a few minutes in shock trying to contemplate the stupidity of it all. I was running out of options.

    I knew I was going to need a recovery drive. Something that can boot the Windows 10 installation no matter how badly I broke the OS (because I was going to break this OS). I checked Online to see what my options were. I knew I couldn't use most of them, but I figured that M$ would probably have a few options lying around their labyrinthian Support Center. Maybe one of those would work in an unintended way.

    I found the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool and downloaded it. To my surprise, I was able to run it despite Sucks mode. Mostly. It's an unstable PoS that crashes halfway through creating the media 9 times out of 10. I did a search for the error, and people have fixed it by moving the program to the target USB device. Also, it's apparently discontinued by M$, so it's not going to get a patch to fix it. By running the program from multiple locations, I manage to get it working, and boot into it.

    Greeted by the Windows 10 EULA, I crossed my fingers, and pressed SHIFT + F10. Success! I now had a proper Administrator mode Command Prompt to break the OS to my heart's content. I boot up diskpart, but there's only the one partition on the drive. I decide to wipe it by formatting it to exFat. (M$ uses encryption keys in NTFS drives, and I didn't want any trace of Sucks mode left.) Once it's done, I reinstall Windows to see what I'm left with.

    The entire time, that word kept ringing in my head like a bell: discontinued. Could M$ be dumb enough to let me run a Windows installer that was abandoned since the days before Sucks mode? From the days when Windows 10 Home was completely free? That sure would be a silly oversight on their part. Ah, well... that was most likely just wishful thinking. No one could be that dumb. I laugh about it until Cortana starts shouting at me, and I finish the setup process.

    I check Settings -> Updates -> Activation to see what was listed as my OS. Sure enough: Windows 10 Home. Nothing about S modes of any kind. I stop thinking this was funny, and more just sad. Sucks could have prevented me from running the Media Creation Tool. M$ could have disabled it on their Support Center. This had to be a perfect storm of idiosy to happen the way it did. I managed to get full-fleged Windows 10 from M$ itself without giving them the asking price of $50. Mission accomplished: Windows Sucks jailbroken using only the software they allowed. I start downloading unofficial software to celebrate, mostly Origin and Sims 4 (which I also got for free through official channels). Unbelievable.

    Has anyone else come across Windows S yet? What was your experience? Did you find any luck breaking it, or have you accepted your Microsoft Store fate? What do you see as the future of the free-to-play S mode? Any constructive comments are appreciated.
    grey72 and Sono like this.