Microsoft today announced the Windows 10 editions that are coming later this year. The company is expanding the number of product editions, which could lead to some confusion, but it’s not as bad as Vista or Windows 7 where there seemed to be an endless variety of editions of the OS.
Microsoft Windows 10 Editions
There is something here for home users, professionals, enterprises, and mobile users. So without further ado, here’s what we can expect when Windows 10 is released later this summer.
Windows 10 Home is the basic version that is focused for the consumer desktop. This version will have most of the features we’ve been covering as new builds come out, and will work with PCs, tablets, and 2-in-1 systems. This edition is the free upgrade for users of Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, or the “core” version of Windows 8.1.
Windows 10 Pro will have all of the features of the Home version, plus extra features that power users and small businesses need. This is similar to Home and Pro editions of previous Windows versions, where the Pro version only had the ability to make Group Policy edits. This pro version will provide more options for device management, and include features like Remote Desktop, and Hyper-V which you use to create and manage virtual machines. Another feature this will offer is Windows Update for Business, which Microsoft says “which will reduce management costs, provide controls over update deployment, offer quicker access to security updates and provide access to the latest innovation from Microsoft on an ongoing basis.”
Windows 10 Enterprise is obviously aimed at large corporations that purchase Windows in volume licensing for hundreds or thousands of workstations. It provides more options for IT administrators who have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy with the company. It will include Software Assurance, and will allow the IT department when and how updates are applied.
Windows 10 Education is a new offering aimed at schools that are available to purchase it through academic volume licensing. It is designed to meet the needs of school staff, administrators, teachers, and students. There will also be a path for students using Windows 10 home and Windows 10 Pro to upgrade to the Education edition.
Windows 10 Mobile is an upgraded for the current Windows Phone 8.1, and is aimed at smart phones, phablets, and tablets with screens under 8-inches. It will allow new devices, and not-yet-released devices to take advantage of Continuum for phone, which allows your phone to be used as a PC when connected to a larger display. There is also a Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise, which will offer volume licensing, more control over updates, and other security features for corporations.
If you haven’t been following the Continuum for phone feature that is on the way to Windows 10 Mobile, check out the video from Microsoft below.
Which Version is Right for You
The bottom line is, most home users will be just fine with Windows 10 Home, or if you’re already using a Pro version of Windows, you’ll want to stick with the pro version of Windows 10. If you own a device running Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 10 Mobile is what you’ll get, and you can currently test out the preview version now. And Enterprise and Academic institutions will have their versions as well.
Remember, you can become a Windows Insider and start testing out Windows 10 for PC now. Of course, you want to have a secondary test computer, or a set up a virtual machine you can run it in. Don’t install preview versions of Windows 10 on your main productivity machine.
Microsoft is offering full versions of Windows 10 Home, Pro, and Mobile as a free upgrade for qualifying Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 devices.
As the final editions are released by Microsoft, we’ll have more information on what’s available in the Pro versions, and what’s not available in the Home versions.
And, for further in-depth conversations about Windows 10, no matter what platform, check out the Windows 10 Forums.