[Windows 8 SKU Editions] Comparison Between Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise and Windows RT

First Windows 8 headlines:

  • Microsoft confirms that Windows 8 will be the official name of its upcoming OS
  • Windows 8 will come in 3 editions for x86 processors: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise
  • Microsoft talks about new "Windows RT" edition for ARM processors
  • Windows Media Center will be available as add-on to Windows 8 Pro edition
  • For China, there will be a local language-only edition of Windows 8
  • Windows 8's Server edition will be officially called "Windows Server 2012"

Windows_8_New_Logo.png

Now the details:

Windows 8 is Official Product Name of Microsoft's Next OS

Today in an official post at Blogging Windows blog, Microsoft confirmed that "Windows 8" is the official product name of company's upcoming OS. If you can remember, same thing happened with Windows 7. Microsoft has started a tradition to keep product's codename and official name same.

Windows 8 SKU Details

Second news, Microsoft has announced Windows 8 SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) details. Microsoft had a tradition to release several editions for every new Windows version such as Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows 7 Enterprise.

It always confused people in choosing correct edition for them. So many editions were never liked by Windows users and now it seems Microsoft has accepted this fact.

Now Microsoft has simplified Windows 8 editions list and there will be only 3 editions of Windows 8 for x86 processors (both 32-bit and 64-bit):

  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8 Pro
  • Windows 8 Enterprise

All 3 editions will be available for PCs and tablets powered by x86 processors (both 32-bit and 64-bit).

Windows 8:

According to Microsoft, this basic edition of Windows 8 will be the right choice for many Windows users. It will include all basic features currently available in Windows 8 Consumer Preview build such as updated Windows Explorer, Task Manager, better multi-monitor support and the ability to switch languages on the fly,which was previously only available in Enterprise/Ultimate editions of Windows.

Existing Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic and Home Premium users will be able to upgrade to this basic edition of Windows 8.

Windows 8 Pro:

Windows 8 Pro is designed for tech enthusiasts and business/technical professionals. It includes all the features in Windows 8 plus features for encryption, virtualization, PC management and domain connectivity.

Following features are exclusive to Pro edition and will not available in basic edition of Windows 8:

  • BitLocker and BitLocker To Go
  • Boot from VHD
  • Client Hyper-V
  • Domain Join
  • Encrypting File System
  • Group Policy
  • Remote Desktop (host)

Windows Media Center will be available as an economical "media pack" add-on to Windows 8 Pro. If you are an enthusiast or you want to use your PC in a business environment, you will want Windows 8 Pro.

Existing Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate users will be able to upgrade to both basic as well as Pro editions of Windows 8.

Windows 8 Enterprise:

As with previous versions of Windows, there will also be an edition of Windows 8 specifically for those enterprise customers with Software Assurance agreements. Windows 8 Enterprise edition includes all the features of Windows 8 Pro plus features for IT organization that enable PC management and deployment, advanced security, virtualization, new mobility scenarios and much more.

Following features are exclusive to Enterprise edition and will not available in other editions of Windows 8:

  • Windows To Go
  • DirectAccess
  • BranchCache
  • AppLocker
  • VDI Enhancements
  • App Deployment

Windows To Go feature allows users to put is a fully manageable corporate Windows 8 desktop on a bootable external USB stick. DirectAccess allows remote users to seamlessly access resources inside a corporate network without having to launch a separate VPN. BranchCache allows users' PCs to cache files, websites, and other content from central servers, so content is not repeatedly downloaded across the wide area network (WAN). AppLocker can help mitigate issues by restricting the files and apps that users or groups are allowed to run.

Windows RT or Windows RunTime

Microsoft also talked about a new edition of Windows which is "Windows RT" or "Windows RunTime". Windows RT is the newest member of the Windows family. It will be also known as Windows on ARM or WOA. This single edition will only be available pre-installed on PCs and tablets powered by ARM processors and will help enable new thin and lightweight form factors with impressive battery life.

Windows RT will include touch-optimized desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. For new apps, the focus for Windows RT is development on the new Windows runtime, or WinRT and forms the foundation of a new generation of cloud-enabled, touch-enabled, web-connected apps of all kinds.

If you want to get a feature-wise comparison between Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT, following chart will help you:

Feature Name

Windows 8

Windows 8 Pro

Windows RT

Upgrades from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium

x

x

Upgrades from Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate

x

Start screen, Semantic Zoom, Live Tiles

x

x

x

Windows Store

x

x

x

Apps (Mail, Calendar, People, Messaging, Photos, SkyDrive, Reader, Music, Video)

x

x

x

Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote)

x

Internet Explorer 10

x

x

x

Device encryption

x

Connected standby

x

x

x

Microsoft account

x

x

x

Desktop

x

x

x

Installation of x86/64 and desktop software

x

x

Updated Windows Explorer

x

x

x

Windows Defender

x

x

x

SmartScreen

x

x

x

Windows Update

x

x

x

Enhanced Task Manager

x

x

x

Switch languages on the fly (Language Packs)

x

x

x

Better multiple monitor support

x

x

x

Storage Spaces

x

x

Windows Media Player

x

x

Exchange ActiveSync

x

x

x

File history

x

x

x

ISO / VHD mount

x

x

x

Mobile broadband features

x

x

x

Picture password

x

x

x

Play To

x

x

x

Remote Desktop (client)

x

x

x

Reset and refresh your PC

x

x

x

Snap

x

x

x

Touch and Thumb keyboard

x

x

x

Trusted boot

x

x

x

VPN client

x

x

x

BitLocker and BitLocker To Go

x

Boot from VHD

x

Client Hyper-V

x

Domain Join

x

Encrypting File System

x

Group Policy

x

Remote Desktop (host)

x

 

Windows Server 2012

Microsoft has also announced the official name of "Windows Server 8". Windows 8's Server edition will officially be called "Windows Server 2012" and is due out later this year. Windows Server 2012 will be a cloud-optimized operating system.

More information about Windows 8 pricing, limited-time programs and promotions will be shared by Microsoft in coming months, so stay tuned with us...





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Posted in: Windows 8 / 8.1


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Comments

  • Old news.

  • Thanks for the news VG. good to see less editions of windows 8. :)

  • Media Centre as add-on? sad...

  • Do you know if the classic toolbar will be an option in any of these releases?

  • What happened to Windows ToGo? And also can Windows 8 Consumer Preview users upgrade to an RTM version of Windows 8.

  • VG

    ^^ Windows To GO will be available in Enterprise edition only. Regarding upgrade from CP to RTM, nothing can be said atm until RTM version is released or Microsoft posts any info officially.

    @Bojo
    Dont expect any such classic feature in Windows 8. Microsoft is not in mood of bringing back these features in Windows 8 RTM.

    @V.Paul
    Yes. Media Center will be available as an add-on pack for Windows 8 Pro edition.

  • VG it should be China and other small, emerging markets gaining a local-language only, not just China.

    Quote: "For China and a small set of select emerging markets, we will offer a local language-only edition of Windows 8."

  • @Sikira,

    old but still a bit interesting...

  • if there are no wmp in w8rt how do we can play music or watch a movie?
    *sorry for bad english

  • @rakha ap You can easily download iTunes for music and along thy QuickTime for movies (both by Apple). iTunes does the something things as Windows Media Player but in a more organized way. As for QuickTime, I haven't used it for watching movies but you should try it out.

  • I understand that Windows 8 Pro is the right one for me since I do work with VMware Workstation, is my information wrong?

  • VG

    ^^ Yeah. Windows 8 Pro would be best for tech people.

    @macpro622776
    Yeah. But currently they have announced it only for China, thats why I mentioned it only. As soon as they announce for other locales, I'll update it. :)

    @rakha ap
    Using built-in apps.

  • VG, on the "Windows 8 SKU Details" column, you forgot to add in Windows 7 Professional...

  • @Kyle That matters?

    @VG If I have an existing Windows 7 Ultimate install, will I be able to upgrade for free or I have to pay (again)?

  • VG

    ^^ As Microsoft said they'll announce the pricing in coming days so we'll need to wait. Nothing can be said atm.

  • Just waiting for the pricing...

    I hope 7 Pro to 8 Pro will be a free upgrade... well....imagination....

    So, what version of Win8 does x86 tablet opt (especially following the Medfield processor from Intel)?

  • in my opinion Microsoft should create a new, faster, leaner operating system and rebrand it with the name of Windows without a version number....just plain windows....

  • we all know that sooner or later someone will find out how to unlock the "pro" features found in the basic version of Windows 8 so people won't have to pay the upgrade price anymore....

  • @amiel naming is fine, let see most popular OSes, Android, Windows Phone, and iOS: all of them has version number, actually, without giving it a version number makes confusion to users because they don't know which one is the newest, and which one is the older.
    @amiel so far we can't do that in Windows 7...

  • so "RT" is a totally new win-OS, but isn't is similar win legacy.
    if a mobile device has no pre-installed windows:
    android with Ubuntu (sharing 1 kernel) is a great alternative.

  • @sasja I think RT will work like Windows Phone OS in Samsung or HTC phones, where they are shipped with, and cannot be removed nor replaced.

    Oh yea, for anyone wondering how Win8RT will handle music and videos without a WMP, it has its own Music app & Videos app, just like Android devices.

  • Can existing XP users be able to upgrade to Win 8?

  • VG

    ^^ Wait for the official announcement about pricing and upgrade path. :)

  • VG, if I'm using 7 Ultimate now, and want to upgrade to Windows 8 (not Pro), can I (will I be able to) upgrade ?

  • VG

    ^^ According to chart, Windows 7 Ultimate and Professional users will only be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro.

  • Good info. Thanks

    Looks like I'll reinstall Win 7 after trial period of Consumer Preview expired.. Personally, I think there is nothing new is Windows 8 that can drive me to buy it except the 'Snap to left/right' feature that optimize the wide screen(I wish I can make it 3 column; left/center/right). But well, I can always find the similar software for Win 7. And the ability to just type the apps name at the start screen to search for it.

    In term of pc usage productivity, Windows 7 is better I think. Windows 8 apps will appear in full screen. I cannot see 'at a glance' what apps I already opened when working in my desktop. I have to hover mouse to top-left screen or ALT+TAB or open Task Manager to view it. huh!..

    @rakha

    here is my choice,
    video - install The KMPlayer and VLC Media Player/KLite Codec Pack..
    audio - Spider Player or just use The KMPlayer

  • yup, media center is not always used as a media player, its big and its stylish... ( now is that really bad? ) y use big player if u can play better music in smaller players like windows media player alone.

  • Thanks for the information, VG! =)

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