There are more rumors flying around about new Windows 11 SKUs (editions), including one called Windows 11 SE. But interestingly that wasn’t in the Windows 11 ISO that leaked. It just had the standard consumer editions that we are used to. But if you asked Windows 11 Pro what it could be upgraded to, you can see a new value in the list:
So what’s that first item? Since it’s something you can upgrade to, let’s try it out. This is a “transmog” process, so to change the SKU you need to do this offline. So “sysprep /generalize” the OS, reboot to Windows PE, and then run “dism /image:c:windows /set-edition:CloudEdition”. When you boot back into the installed Windows 11 OS, it will go back through the OOBE process. And once you complete that and sign in, you can see what the OS says:
OK, so this is indeed “Windows 11 SE.” And if you poke around in WMI, you can see that it has an OperatingSystemSKU value of 203, or 0xCB in hex. That value doesn’t exist in the latest Insider Preview Windows SDK (from build 21344) winnt.h file:
So it is safe to say that this is a new SKU. But for what purpose? And will it even ship? (If the answer to that is no, then there isn’t much time to remove it as the build is supposed to already be final.)
Looking around, there are no obvious differences in the OS. Some have speculated that this is an S Mode replacement, but it can install Win32 apps (e.g. Chrome) and runs full PowerShell (no constrained language mode). The only oddity is that it doesn’t allow you to use the store:
But that could just as easily be a bug in the store app, blocking because of the unknown SKU. It would be rather odd for any Windows SKU to block the store. But stranger things have happened before.
If you look back at the winnt.h file, you’ll notice that there is a gap between the latest documented SKU, XBOX Scarlett Host OS at 0xC5, and this 0xCB value. That means that there are some additional missing values at 0xC6, 0xC7, 0xC8, 0xC9, and 0xCA. So there are several other SKUs in existence too (and given that the new server SKUs are down the list, these are probably client SKUs). No idea what those are either. But since there are usually “N” SKUs (regulatory ones, without Media Player and IE) for each SKU, that probably means there are three new SKUs floating around. And the other ones don’t appear to be consumer-focused. So what new volume license SKUs might be floating around? There are more rumors to be found here.
So we certainly don’t know all the answers yet around Windows 11. What will be disclosed on June 24th? Will we get details on any of this? I guess we’ll have to tune in to find out.