Skip to main content

Windows 10 tablet mode isn’t disappearing, but it’s now harder to find

Microsoft has announced the latest Windows 10 Insider build, which includes some changes to how a 2-in-1 hybrid laptop will deal with “tablet posture.” When a keyboard is removed from the screen, such as on a Surface Pro, Windows will no longer prompt you to enter tablet mode as it currently does.

In other words, the colorful, square tiles of tablet mode are going away completely. This mode will still be found in the Action Center pull-out in the bottom right corner of the taskbar. However, as confirmed by a Twitter conversation with The Verge’s Tom Warren, the system will no longer prompt you to enter tablet mode when it senses that you’ve disconnected your keyboard.


That doesn’t mean there are no changes at all when you remove your keyboard. Spacing is the most obvious example of making the operating system a bit more touch-friendly. The icons in the taskbar are now further apart, making them a bit easier to touch with your finger. File Explorer still switches into the touch-enabled layout as well.

While tablet mode still exists, it does feel like Microsoft has paved the way for getting rid of it entirely. We’ve reached out to Microsoft about what this change means for the future of tablet mode, and we’ll update this post if we hear back.

Windows 10’s tablet mode has traditionally featured an expanded view of the Start menu, showing you big, colorful tiles to launch applications from. It’s a holdover from Windows 8, but hasn’t received much attention since then.

All this comes days after the announcement of an upcoming October Surface hardware event, where Microsoft could launch its rumored dual-screen 2-in-1 device. This new device is expected to run a new operating system called Windows Core OS, which would be more explicitly designed for all-touch interfaces that don’t require a keyboard. Perhaps Microsoft is making room for that new software — or maybe people weren’t using tablet mode all that much anyways.

Build 18970 includes a number of other changes as well, including the continued roll-out of the new Cortana and a “cloud download” option when resetting your PC.

It should be emphasized that the changes come as part of a Windows 10 Insider build, so they could be reversed or heavily modified once they make it to your PC.

Editors' Recommendations

Luke Larsen
Senior Editor, Computing
Luke Larsen is the Senior editor of computing, managing all content covering laptops, monitors, PC hardware, Macs, and more.
Top 10 Windows shortcuts everyone should know
An individual using a laptop's keyboard.

Windows shortcuts are a constantly-used feature by practically all PC users. Apart from saving you time from carrying out the specific command without having to perform a few extra clicks on your mouse, it’s simply more convenient to refer back to shortcuts via your keyboard.

Although you may be satisfied with the Windows shortcuts you already know about and utilize on a daily basis, you can enhance your general Windows experience in a big way with these 10 shortcuts everyone should know.
Ctrl + Z
Tired of always having to use your mouse to find and click the Undo button on a program like Microsoft Word or, say, entering details on a website or editing images? Ctrl + Z will basically undo whatever your last action was, providing you a convenient way to reverse edits and changes within a second. From personal experience, this shortcut proved to be especially useful for productivity applications.
Ctrl + Shift + T
We’ve all been there. Nowadays, our browsers are inundated with multiple tabs, and as such, it’s hard to keep track of at times. Eventually, you’re going to close a tab on accident when trying to select it. Instead of trying to remember what it was or spending a few seconds accessing it and reopening it via the Recently Closed feature (on Chrome), simply hit Ctrl + Shift + T to restore the last closed tab. Similarly, Ctrl + N will open a new tab.
Alt + Tab

Read more
After 10 years of headaches, I’m finally a believer in Windows on ARM
The Microsoft Surface 3 with its blue keyboard.

Almost two years in, Apple is on the verge of completing its transition to ARM. It might surprise you to know, then, that Microsoft started its own journey to ARM chips long before Apple.

But Windows' support for ARM has been far less smooth. There aren't many more Windows devices with ARM chips than there were five years ago -- and I can attest to having personally used every failed attempt along the way.

Read more
Windows 11 might pull ahead of Windows 10 in one key way
Windows 11 and Windows 10 operating system logos are displayed on laptop screens.

Windows 11 has been around for nearly a year, but the debate on how it stands up against Windows 10 is still going strong. That's why custom computer builder Puget Systems revisited that very topic, with the results finding that Windows 11 might pull ahead of Windows 10 in one key area.

This one key area involves content creation, and Puget Systems detailed that in several tests,

Read more