An Overview of Windows 8 Editions

As with previous editions of Microsoft’s operating system, Windows 8 is available in multiple editions to meet the needs to users with different requirements. However, there are some changes over previous versions of Windows. Windows 8 is only available in two forms to home and small business users whereas Windows Vista and Windows 7 were available in the Home, Professional and Ultimate editions. In total, there are four different editions of Windows 8, although two of them are unavailable through regular retail channels.

Windows 8

The most common edition of Windows 8 is simply called “Windows 8.” This provides the baseline Windows 8 experience for computers and tablets with x86 processors (either 32- or 64-bit). This edition of Windows 8 provides all of the major new features of the operating system such as the Start Screen, Microsoft account integration, the Windows Store, Internet Explorer 10 and pretty much everything else that you would expect in the regular Home Edition of previous operating systems. You will find this version of Windows 8 pre-installed on most new computers, including both laptops and desktops.

Windows 8 Pro

The professional version of the operating system provides the full user experience, targeted towards business and power users as well as home enthusiasts. It provides all of the features and abilities of the regular edition as well as more advanced security and networking features. Windows Media Center will only be included in Windows 8 Pro, making it a good choice over the standard edition for multimedia lovers. Windows 8 Pro replaces the “Professional” and “Ultimate” editions which previous versions of the operating system were offered in. You will find Windows 8 Pro pre-installed on many high-end computers as well as for sale in computer and software stores. You can also upgrade the standard edition to Windows 8 Pro by using the “Add New Features” application in Windows 8.

Windows 8 Enterprise

Identical in every way to Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise is available only to larger businesses with volume licensing agreements with Microsoft. As with Windows Vista and Windows 7 Enterprise editions, it will not be available through regular retail channels. Certain extra features such as Windows To Go will also be available to Enterprise users.

Windows RT

Windows RT is a completely new edition to the line of Microsoft’s operating systems. This will only be available pre-installed on certain devices, particularly tablet computers. This edition is designed for mobile devices running ARM processors. It is basically a cut-down version of the operating system which will generally only be able to run software from the Windows Store as well as that which comes already pre-installed. Windows RT is analogous to Windows Vista or Windows 7 Starter edition found on netbooks and other low-spec devices

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