All You Need To Know About Windows 8 Editions

Windows 8 has seen a long journey from its initial Developer’s Preview, Consumer and Release Preview to the Retail version. Unlike its predecessors Windows 8 has different editions for the desktop and tablet version. Moreover, the Ultimate edition that was used for earlier operating systems has been replaced with the Windows 8 Pro edition. If you would like to know about the different Windows 8 editions that you can buy or the different upgrade requirements, then see the edition comparison and upgrade details given below.


Windows 8 Edition Comparison

Unlike Windows 7, Windows 8 does not offer six different editions. Instead, Windows 8 is available in the following editions.

Windows 8

Don’t be confused because of the name, as Windows 8 is also the name of the basic edition. This edition can be compared to the Home editions offered by Microsoft for earlier Windows operating systems with minimum features. This edition comes with all the basic features like the Start screen Windows Store, Microsoft account integration and the like. What you understandably can’t do with this edition is to join a Domain, use BitLocker for encrypting your hard drive and remotely logging in to your computer. Hence, this edition isn’t geared towards enterprise or professional users and is more suitable for home users with basic computing needs.

Windows 8 Pro

This edition can be compared with what was offered as the Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate edition, with advanced features like the ability to join a Domain, use a Remote Desktop connection, BitLocker encryption, Virtual Hard Disk, Hyper-V and Group Policy. As is obvious, this edition is meant for professional users like developer’s business professionals, graphic designers, IT professionals, etc.

Windows 8 Enterprise

Perhaps the most consistent edition (even in terms of name) has been the Enterprise edition of Windows. The Windows 8 Enterprise Edition is for organizations to allow them to manage their corporate networks and to assist IT departments. A very interesting feature of this edition is ‘Windows To Go’, which makes it possible to have a fully manageable corporate Windows 8 PC on a USB drive.

Windows RT

Windows RT is the tablet version of Windows 8 and comes installed only with ARM-based devices such as the Microsoft Surface Tablet. It even has its own Microsoft Office version known as Office RT, which offers Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote. While Windows RT is not as powerful as one might like, however, it supports features like device encryption and has various business-focused features like Group Policy and domain support, which can help support BOYD (Bring Your Own Device) initiatives at the workplace.

With the recent news of a unified Windows Store for Windows 8 and Windows Phone, it is quite likely that Microsoft might integrate its Windows Phone version in upcoming operating systems to further expand the core Windows editions for all kinds of devices be it desktops, tablets or mobile phones.

About Farshad

IT professional, communications specialist and Blogger!

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