Windows 8 editions

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Windows 8 has 5 editions, with varying feature sets.[1]

Editions[edit]

Windows 8
Windows 8 is the basic edition of Windows for the IA-32 and x64 architectures. Documentation obtained from the ImageX tool and Paul Thurrott's book on Windows 8 also refer to this edition as "Core".[2][3] This edition contains features aimed at the home market segment and provides all of the basic new Windows 8 features including the Start screen with semantic zoom, live tiles, Windows Store, Internet Explorer 10, Connected Standby, Microsoft account integration, the Windows desktop and more.
Windows 8 Pro
Windows 8 Pro is comparable to Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate[4][5] and is targeted towards enthusiasts and business users; it includes all the features of Windows 8. Additional features include the ability to receive Remote Desktop connections, the ability to participate in a Windows Server domain, Encrypting File System, Hyper-V, and Virtual Hard Disk Booting, Group Policy as well as BitLocker and BitLocker To Go. Windows Media Center functionality is available only for Windows 8 Pro as a separate software package.[6]
Windows 8 Enterprise
Windows 8 Enterprise provides all the features in Windows 8 Pro (except the ability to install the Windows Media Center add-on), with additional features to assist with IT organization (see table below).[4] This edition is available to Software Assurance customers, as well as MSDN and Technet Professional subscribers, and was released on August 16, 2012.[7]
Windows RT
Windows RT is only available pre-installed on ARM-based devices such as tablet PCs.[8] It includes touch-optimized desktop versions of the basic set of Office 2013 applications to users—Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, and supports device encryption capabilities. Several business-focused features such as Group Policy and domain support are not included.
Software for Windows RT can be either downloaded from Windows Store or sideloaded, although sideloading on Windows RT must first be enabled by purchasing additional licenses through Microsoft volume licensing outlet.[9][10] Desktop software that run on previous versions of Windows cannot be run on Windows RT[11] as Windows Store apps are based on Windows Runtime API which differs from the traditional apps.[9] According to CNET, these essential differences may raise the question of whether Windows RT is an edition of Windows: In a conversation with Mozilla, Microsoft deputy general counsel David Heiner was reported to have said Windows RT "isn't Windows anymore." Mozilla general counsel, however, dismissed the assertion on the basis that Windows RT has the same user interface, application programming interface and update mechanism.[12]
Windows 8.1
Windows 8.1 is an updated and latest stable release of Windows 8. The features in Windows 8.1 is a better Start screen, Start button, an arrow to bring you to the apps screen in the Start Screen, Internet Explorer 11, Office 2013, New apps on Microsoft Store, Do 2 things at a time, and better search. However, This is not fully Windows 8 because Windows 8 preceded Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 is the successor of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 is an upgrade for Windows 8 PC's.

Unlike Windows Vista and Windows 7, there are no Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, or Ultimate editions.[13]

Regional restrictions and variations[edit]

All mentioned editions have the ability to use language packs, enabling multiple user interface languages.[5] (This functionality was previously only available in Windows 7 Ultimate or Enterprise.) However, in China and other emerging market, a variation of Windows 8 without this capability, called Windows 8 Single Language, is sold. This edition can be upgraded to Windows 8 Pro.[14]

Additional Windows 8 editions specially destined for European markets have the letter "N" (e.g. Windows 8.1 Enterprise N) suffixed to their names and do not include a bundled copy of Windows Media Player. Microsoft was required to create the "N" editions of Windows after the European Commission ruled in 2004 that it needed to provide a copy of Windows without Windows Media Player tied in.

Upgrade compatibility[edit]

The following in-place upgrade paths are supported from Windows 7.[4] Note that it is only possible to upgrade from an IA-32 version of Windows 7 to an IA-32 version of Windows 8; an x64 version of Windows 7 can only be upgraded to an x64 version of Windows 8. It is possible to upgrade Windows XP SP3 or Windows Vista to Windows 8 Pro. The retail package entitled Windows 8 Pro Upgrade is restricted to upgrading a computer with licensed Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista or Windows 7. Finally, there is no upgrade path for Windows RT, as it is the only version of Windows that currently supports the ARM architecture.[15]

Windows 8 upgrade path[16]
Edition of
Windows 7
to upgrade
from
Edition of Windows 8
to upgrade to
Core Pro Enterprise
Enterprise No No Yes
Ultimate No Yes No
Professional No Yes Yes
Home Premium Yes Yes No
Home Basic Yes Yes No
Starter Yes Yes No

Comparison chart[edit]

Comparison of Windows 8 editions[4][10]
Features Windows RT Windows 8 Windows 8 Pro Windows 8 Enterprise
Availability[17] Pre-installed on devices[8] Most channels Most channels Volume License customers
Architecture ARM (32-bit) IA-32 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit) IA-32 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit) IA-32 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit)
Maximum physical memory (RAM)[18] 4 GB[19] 128 GB on x64
4 GB on IA-32
512 GB on x64
4 GB on IA-32
512 GB on x64
4 GB on IA-32
Secure boot Yes Yes Yes Yes
Picture password Yes Yes Yes Yes
Start screen, Semantic Zoom, Live Tiles Yes Yes Yes Yes
Touch and Thumb keyboard Yes Yes Yes Yes
Language packs Yes Yes Yes Yes
Updated File Explorer Yes Yes Yes Yes
Standard apps[a] Yes Yes Yes Yes
File History Yes Yes Yes Yes
Refresh and reset of OS Yes Yes Yes Yes
Play To Yes Yes Yes Yes
Connected Standby Yes Yes Yes Yes
Windows Update Yes Yes Yes Yes
Windows Defender Yes Yes Yes Yes
Better multi-monitor support Yes Yes Yes Yes
New Windows Task Manager Yes Yes Yes Yes
ISO image and VHD mounting Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mobile broadband features Yes Yes Yes Yes
Microsoft account integration Yes Yes Yes Yes
Internet Explorer 10 Yes Yes Yes Yes
SmartScreen Yes Yes Yes Yes
Windows Store Yes Yes Yes Yes
Xbox Live (including Xbox Live Arcade)[20][21] Yes Yes Yes Yes
Exchange ActiveSync Yes Yes Yes Yes
Snap Yes Yes Yes Yes
Can connect to a VPN? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Desktop Yes Yes Yes Yes
Support for language packs and switching Yes Yes Yes Yes
Device encryption[b][23] Yes With Windows 8.1 With Windows 8.1 With Windows 8.1
Supported third-party apps[4][24] Windows Store apps only Windows Store and desktop Windows Store and desktop Windows Store and desktop
Remote Desktop Client only Client only Client and host Client and host
Storage spaces No Yes Yes Yes
Windows Media Player No Yes Yes Yes
BitLocker and EFS No No Yes Yes
Sideload Windows Store apps[10][9] Partial[c] No Partial[c] Partial[c]
Boot from VHD No No Yes Yes
Can join a Windows domain? No No Yes Yes
Group Policy No No Yes Yes
Hyper-V[25] No No 64-bit SKUs only 64-bit SKUs only
AppLocker[d] No No No Yes
Windows To Go No No No Yes
DirectAccess No No No Yes
BranchCache[e] No No No Yes
Can be virtualized by RemoteFX? No No No Yes
Services for Network File System[28] No No No Yes
Subsystem for Unix-based Applications No No No Deprecated[29]
Windows Media Center No Via an add-in[6][f] Via an add-in[6] No
Microsoft Office apps bundled with OS Yes[g] No No No
Features Windows RT Windows 8 Windows 8 Pro Windows 8 Enterprise

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Includes Mail, Calendar, People, Messaging, Photos, Reader, Music, Video, Bing, Weather, Sports, News, Finance, Camera, Travel, Maps and SkyDrive app
  2. ^ Device encryption, a feature introduced in Windows Mobile 6.5, encrypts the contents of a mobile device to enhance their security.[22]
  3. ^ a b c Not all computers running Windows 8 can perform sideloading. Out-of-box sideloading support is only available for Windows 8 Enterprise computers that have joined a Windows domain. Sideloading on Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro computers as well as Windows 8 Enterprise computers without a domain affiliation requires purchase of additional licenses through Microsoft volume licensing outlet.[9]
  4. ^ AppLocker enforces application whitelisting or blacklisting in a corporate environment. In other words, it can be used to allow or prevent execution of software based on name, version number or publisher.[26]
  5. ^ BranchCache, a feature of Windows 7 and later, locally caches contents received from a file server or web server to enable faster subsequent uses.[27]
  6. ^ The add-in would also upgrade Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro.[6]
  7. ^ Includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote RT. Windows 8.1 adds Outlook.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bradley, Tom (17 April 2012). "Windows 8: Which Version Should You Choose?". PCWorld. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Professional and Core editions of Windows 8 both on the RP setup iso". 
  3. ^ "Windows 8 Secrets, Beyond the Book: Guide to Product Editions". 
  4. ^ a b c d e LeBlanc, Brandon (2012). "Announcing the Windows 8 Editions". Blogging Windows. Microsoft. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Foley, Mary Jo (2012). "Microsoft: Here are the four editions of Windows 8". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d LeBlanc, Brandon. "Upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $39.99". Blogging Windows. Retrieved 19 October 2012. "If you install the Windows 8 Pro System Builder product, you will be able to add Windows Media Center via the “add features” option within the product for free during the promotion." 
  7. ^ Rose, Stephen (16 August 2012). "Windows 8 Is Ready For Your Enterprise". Microsoft. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Mackie, Kurt (17 April 2012). "Microsoft Names Windows 8 Editions, Unveils ARM-Based 'Windows RT'". Redmonad Channel Partner. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c d "How to Add and Remove Apps". TechNet. Microsoft. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2012. "To enable sideloading on a Windows 8 Enterprise computer that is not domain-joined or on any Windows® 8 Pro computer, you must use a sideloading product activation key. To enable sideloading on a Windows® RT device, you must use a sideloading product activation key. For more information about sideloading product activation keys, see Microsoft Volume Licensing." 
  10. ^ a b c Visser, Erwin (18 April 2012). "Introducing Windows 8 Enterprise and Enhanced Software Assurance for Today’s Modern Workforce". Windows for your Business. Microsoft. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  11. ^ "Windows RT: FAQ". Windows portal. Microsoft. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  12. ^ Shankland, Stephen (May 9, 2012). "Microsoft bans Firefox on ARM-based Windows, Mozilla says". CNET. Retrieved October 22, 2012. 
  13. ^ Taylor, Bill (17 April 2012). "Microsoft Announces Revamped Windows 8 Editions". Tom's Hardware. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  14. ^ "Add features: FAQ". Windows 8 Help. Microsoft. Retrieved 1 March 2014. "Can I add features to my Single Language edition of Windows? Yes. If you bought the Windows 8.1 Pro Pack or Windows 8 Pro Pack, you should be able to install it and activate Windows successfully." 
  15. ^ Leblanc, Brandon. "Upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $39.99". Blogging Windows. Microsoft. Retrieved 2012-07-03. "You can add Windows Media Center for free through the “add features” option within Windows 8 Pro after your upgrade." 
  16. ^ "Windows 8 Upgrade Paths". Microsoft TechNet. Microsoft. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  17. ^ Thurott, Paul (16 April 2012). "News Flash! Microsoft Stops SKUing Customers with Windows 8". Penton Media. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  18. ^ "Physical Memory Limits: Windows 8". Microsoft Developer Network. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2010. 
  19. ^ "Physical Memory Limits: Windows RT 8.1". Microsoft. September 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2013. 
  20. ^ "Windows 8 To Integrate Xbox Live Support". Maximum PC. Retrieved 29 August 2011. 
  21. ^ "Windows 8 Feature Focus: Xbox LIVE Games". Paul Thurrott's Supersite for Windows. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  22. ^ "Device Encryption". MSDN Library. Microsoft. 8 April 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  23. ^ Thurrott, Paul (4 June 2013). "In Blue: Device Encryption". Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows. Penton Media. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  24. ^ "Windows 8 vs Windows RT: what's the difference?". TechRadar. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  25. ^ Sinofsky, Steven (9 July 2011). "Bringing Hyper-V to "Windows 8"". Building Windows 8. Microsoft. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  26. ^ "AppLocker". Microsoft TechNet. Microsoft. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  27. ^ "BranchCache". Windows Server 2008 R2 homepage. Microsoft. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  28. ^ "Services for NFS availability in Windows 8 editions (Revision 1.0)". Microsoft Support. Microsoft. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  29. ^ "Utilities and SDK for Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012". Download Center. Microsoft. 31 October 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2013. "...be sure that SUA [Subsystem for Unix-based Applications] is installed on the target computer. On computers that are running Windows 8 Enterprise, open Control Panel/Programs/Programs and Features/Turn Windows features on or off, and then select Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications."