Windows 10 editions

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Windows 10 has twelve editions, all with varying feature sets, use cases, or intended devices. Certain editions are distributed only on devices directly from an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), while editions such as Enterprise and Education are only available through volume licensing channels. Microsoft also makes editions of Windows 10 available to device manufacturers for use on specific classes of devices, including IoT devices and previously marketed Windows 10 Mobile for smartphones.

Baseline editions[edit]

Baseline editions are the only editions available as standalone purchases in retail outlets.

Windows 10 Home is designed for use in PCs, tablets and 2-in-1 PCs. It includes all features directed at consumers.[1][2][3]
Windows 10 Pro includes all features of Windows 10 Home, with additional capabilities that are oriented towards professionals and business environments, such as Active Directory, Remote Desktop, BitLocker, Hyper-V, and Windows Defender Device Guard.[1][2][3]
Pro for Workstations
Windows 10 Pro for Workstations is designed for high-end hardware for intensive computing tasks and supports Intel Xeon, AMD Opteron and the latest AMD Epyc processors; up to four CPUs; up to 6 TB RAM; the ReFS file system; Non-Volatile Dual In-line Memory Module (NVDIMM); and remote direct memory access (RDMA).[4][5][6]

Organizational editions[edit]

These editions add features to facilitate centralized control of many installations of the OS within an organization. The main avenue of acquiring them is a volume licensing contract with Microsoft.

Windows 10 S is a feature-limited edition of Windows 10 designed primarily for low-end devices in the education market. It has a faster initial setup and login process, and allows devices to be provisioned using a USB drive with the "Set Up School PCs" app. Windows 10 S allows the installation of software (both Universal Windows Platform and Windows API apps) only from Microsoft Store, and command line programs or shells (even from Microsoft Store) are not allowed.[7][8] System settings are locked to allow only Microsoft Edge as the default web browser with Bing as its search engine.[9] The operating system may be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro for a fee, to enable unrestricted software installation.[10][11] All Windows 10 S devices include a free one-year subscription to Minecraft: Education Edition. Critics have compared the edition to Windows RT, and have considered it to be a competitor to Chrome OS.[10][12][13][14][15]
In March 2018, Microsoft announced that it would be phasing out Windows 10 S, citing confusion among manufacturers and end-users. Microsoft stated that it would replace this edition with the ability for vendors to ship their Windows 10 Home or Pro devices in "S Mode", wherein Windows defaults to only allowing applications to be installed from Microsoft Store. S Mode does not require payment in order to disable these restrictions.[16][17][18]
Windows 10 Education is distributed through Academic Volume Licensing. It was built off of Windows 10 Enterprise and initially reported to have the same feature set.[1][2][3] As of version 1709, however, this edition has fewer features. See § Comparison chart for details.
Pro Education
This edition was introduced in July 2016 for hardware partners on new devices purchased with the discounted K–12 academic license. It was built off of the Pro edition of Windows 10 and contains the mostly same features as Windows 10 Pro with different options disabled by default, and adds options for setup and deployment in an education environment. It also features a "Set Up School PCs" app that allows provisioning of settings using a USB flash drive, and does not include Cortana, Microsoft Store suggestions, Windows Sandbox, or Windows Spotlight.[19][20][21]
Windows 10 Enterprise provides all the features of Windows 10 Pro, with additional features to assist with IT-based organizations.[1][2][3] Windows 10 Enterprise is configurable on three branches, Semi-Annual Channel, Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted), and Windows Insider.[22]
Enterprise LTSC
Enterprise LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel) is a long-term support version of Windows 10 Enterprise released every 2 to 3 years. Each release is supported with security updates for 10 years after its release, and intentionally receive no feature updates. Some features, including the Microsoft Store and bundled apps, are not included in this edition.[23][1][3] This edition was first released as Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB (Long-Term Servicing Branch).[24] There are currently 3 releases of LTSC: one in 2015 (version 1507), one in 2016 (version 1607) and one in 2018 (version 1809).[25]

Device-specific editions[edit]

These editions are licensed to OEMs only, and are primarily obtained via the purchase of hardware that includes it:

Windows 10X
Originally announced for use on dual-screen devices such as the Surface Neo and other potential form factors; X features a modified user interface designed around context specific interactions or "postures" on such devices, including a redesigned Start menu with no tiles, and use of container technology to run Win32 software.[26][27] On May 4, 2020, Microsoft announced that Windows 10X will initially be used on single-screen devices, and that they will "continue to look for the right moment, in conjunction with our OEM partners, to bring dual-screen devices to market".[28]
Designed specifically for use in small footprint, low-cost devices and IoT scenarios. It is a rebranded version of Microsoft's earlier embedded operating systems, Windows Embedded. Three editions are already announced: IoT Core, IoT Enterprise, and IoT Mobile Enterprise.[29][30][31]
A specific version used by Microsoft's Surface Hub interactive whiteboard.[32]

Discontinued editions[edit]

The following editions of Windows 10 are discontinued, i.e. were not part of Windows 10 version 1803. (For both Mobile and Mobile Enterprise, Microsoft confirmed it was exiting the consumer mobile devices market, so no successor product is available.[33])

Windows 10 Mobile is designed for smartphones and small tablets. It includes all basic consumer features, including Continuum capability. It is the de facto successor of Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows RT.[1][2]
Mobile Enterprise
Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise provides all the features in Windows 10 Mobile, with additional features to assist IT-based organizations, in a manner similar to Windows 10 Enterprise, but optimized for mobile devices.[1][2]


As with previous versions of Windows since Windows XP, all Windows 10 editions for PC hardware have "N" and "KN" variations in Europe and South Korea that exclude certain bundled multimedia functionality, including media players and related components, in order to comply with antitrust rulings. The "Media Feature Pack" can be installed to restore these features.[34]

As with Windows 8.1, a reduced-price "Windows 10 with Bing" SKU is available to OEMs; it is subsidized by having Microsoft's Bing search engine set as default, which cannot be changed to a different search engine by OEMs. It is intended primarily for low-cost devices, and is otherwise identical to Windows 10 Home.[35]

In May 2017, it was reported that Microsoft had, as part of its partnership with China Electronics Technology Group, created a specially-modified version of Windows 10 Enterprise ("G") designed for use within branches of the Chinese government. This version is pre-configured to "remove features that are not needed by Chinese government employees", and allow the use of its internal encryption algorithms.[36][37]

Comparison chart[edit]

Item Meaning
Yes Feature is present in the given edition
Yes, since [update] Feature is present in the given edition after installing a certain update
No Feature is absent from the given edition
No, since [update] Feature is absent from the given edition after installing a certain update (It might have been fully or partly present prior to that update)
[Explanation] Feature is partly present in the given edition
[Explanation], since [update] Feature is partly present in the given edition, after installing a certain update (It might have been fully present prior to that update, or not present at all)
Comparison of Windows 10 editions[38][39][40][41]
Features Home Pro Pro Education Education Pro for Workstations Enterprise
Architecture IA-32, x86-64
Availability OEM,
Volume licensing
Volume Licensing
Volume licensing OEM (workstation PCs),
Retail (upgrade from Home or Pro),
Volume licensing
Volume licensing
Has N or KN variants? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Maximum physical memory (RAM) 4 GB on IA-32
128 GB on x86-64
4 GB on IA-32
2 TB (2048 GB) on x86-64
4 GB on IA-32
6 TB (6144 GB) on x86-64
Maximum CPU sockets[42] 1 2 4
Maximum CPU cores 64 128 256
Minimum telemetry level[a][43] Basic Basic Basic Security Basic Security
Continuum Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Family Safety and Parental Controls Yes Yes Yes Yes[44] Yes Yes[45]
Cortana[b] Yes Yes Yes, disabled by default Yes, since 1703 Yes Yes
Hardware device encryption Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Microsoft Edge Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Multiple language pack support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mobile device management Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Side-loading of line of business apps Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Virtual desktops Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Windows Hello[c] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Can pause updates? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Windows Spotlight Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Microsoft Store suggestions[20][21] Yes Yes Yes, disabled by default Yes, disabled by default Yes Yes
Remote Desktop Client only Client and host Client and host Client and host Client and host Client and host
Remote App Client only Client only Client only Client and host Client only Client and host
ReFS support[46][47] Cannot create,
since 1709
Cannot create,
since 1709[48]
Cannot create,
since 1709
Cannot create,
since 1709[49]
Yes Yes
Windows Subsystem for Linux 64-bit SKUs only 64-bit SKUs only,
since 1607
64-bit SKUs only,
since 1607
64-bit SKUs only,
since 1607
64-bit SKUs only,
since 1607
64-bit SKUs only,
since 1607
Windows Sandbox No 64-bit
Hyper-V No 64-bit SKUs only 64-bit SKUs only 64-bit SKUs only 64-bit SKUs only 64-bit SKUs only
Assigned Access 8.1 No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
BitLocker No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Business Store No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Conditional Access No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Device Guard No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Encrypting File System No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Enterprise data protection No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Enterprise Mode Internet Explorer (EMIE) No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Joining a domain and Group Policy management No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Joining a Microsoft Azure Active Directory No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Private catalog No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Windows Analytics No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Windows Information Protection No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Windows Update for Business No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
NVDIMM Support No No No No[50] Yes Yes
Remote Direct Memory Access No No No No[51] Yes Yes
AppLocker No No No Yes No Yes
BranchCache No No No Yes No Yes
Credential Guard (Pass the hash mitigations) No No No Yes No Yes
Microsoft App-V No No No Yes No Yes
Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) No No No Yes No Yes
Microsoft UE-V No No No Yes No Yes
Start screen control with Group Policy No No No Yes No Yes
User experience control and lockdown No No No Yes No Yes
Unified Write Filter (UWF) No No No Yes No Yes
DirectAccess[52] No No No Yes[53] No Yes
Long-term servicing option available (LTSC) No No No No No Yes
Windows To Go[d] No No, since 2004 No, since 2004 No, since 2004 No, since 2004 No, since 2004
Features Home Pro Pro Education Education Pro for Workstations Enterprise

[1] The 4 GB limit for 32-bit editions is a limitation of the 32-bit addressing, not of Windows 10 itself. In practice, less than 4 GB of memory is addressable as the 4 GB space also includes the memory mapped peripherals.

Microsoft OEM licensing formula takes display size, RAM capacity and storage capacity into account. In mid-2015, devices with 4 GB RAM were expected to be $20 more expensive than devices with 2 GB RAM.[56]

Upgrade path[edit]

Free upgrade[edit]

At the time of launch, Microsoft deemed Windows 7 (with Service Pack 1) and Windows 8.1 users eligible to upgrade to Windows 10 free of charge, so long as the upgrade takes place within one year of Windows 10's initial release date. Windows RT and the respective Enterprise editions of Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 were excluded from this offer.[57]

Windows 10 free upgrade matrix
(for the first year of availability)[57]
Windows version and edition Windows 10 edition
Windows 7 Starter Home
Windows 7 Home Basic
Windows 7 Home Premium
Windows 7 Professional Pro
Windows 7 Ultimate
Windows 8.1 with Bing Home
Windows 8.1
Windows 8.1 Pro Pro
Windows Phone 8.1 Mobile

Commercial upgrade[edit]

The following table summarizes possible upgrade paths that can be taken, provided that proper licenses are purchased.

Item Meaning
Yes Full upgrade is possible, preserving apps, settings and data
No Full upgrade is not possible
Downgrade Full upgrade is possible but feature loss will occur
Supported upgrade targets[58]
Upgrade target
10 Home
10 Pro
Windows 10 Pro for Workstations Windows
10 Pro
Windows 10
Windows 10
Windows 7 Starter Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Home Basic Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Home Premium Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Professional Downgrade Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ultimate Downgrade Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Enterprise No No Yes No Yes Yes
Windows 8.x (Core) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Pro Downgrade Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Enterprise No No No No Yes Yes
Windows 8.x
Industry No No No No No Yes
Windows 10 Home N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pro Downgrade N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pro for Workstations Downgrade Downgrade N/A Yes Yes Yes
Pro Education Downgrade Yes Yes N/A No No
Education No No No No N/A Yes
Enterprise No No No No Downgrade N/A

Release branches[edit]

Windows 10 versions
Version Codename Marketing name Build Release date Support until (and support status by color)
  • Home
  • Pro
  • Pro Education
  • Pro for Workstations
  • Education
  • Enterprise
  • LTSC
1507 Threshold 1 N/A 10240 July 29, 2015 May 9, 2017 October 14, 2025 N/A
1511 Threshold 2 November Update 10586 November 10, 2015 October 10, 2017 N/A January 9, 2018
1607 Redstone 1 Anniversary Update 14393 August 2, 2016 April 10, 2018 April 9, 2019 October 13, 2026 October 9, 2018
1703 Redstone 2 Creators Update 15063 April 5, 2017 October 9, 2018 October 8, 2019 N/A June 11, 2019
1709 Redstone 3 Fall Creators Update 16299 October 17, 2017 April 9, 2019 October 13, 2020 January 14, 2020
1803 Redstone 4 April 2018 Update 17134 April 30, 2018 November 12, 2019 November 10, 2020 N/A
1809 Redstone 5 October 2018 Update 17763 November 13, 2018 November 10, 2020 May 11, 2021 January 9, 2029
1903 19H1 May 2019 Update 18362 May 21, 2019 December 8, 2020 N/A
1909 19H2 November 2019 Update 18363 November 12, 2019 May 11, 2021 May 10, 2022
2004 20H1 May 2020 Update 19041 May 27, 2020 December 14, 2021
20H2 20H2 TBA 19042 TBA 18 months 30 months TBA
Dev Channel 20161 July 1, 2020 Rolling Builds in Development
Legend:   Old version   Older version, still maintained   Latest version   Preview version

New releases of Windows 10, called feature updates,[23] are released twice a year as a free update for existing Windows 10 users. Each feature update contains new features and other changes to the operating system.[59] The pace at which a system receives feature updates is dependent on the release branch from which the system downloads its updates. Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise and Education can optionally use a branch that receives updates at a slower pace. These modes can be managed through system settings, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Windows Update for Business, Group Policy or through mobile device management systems such as Microsoft Intune.[23]

Windows Insider
Windows Insider is a beta testing program that allows access to pre-release builds of Windows 10; it is designed to allow power users, developers, and vendors to test and provide feedback on future feature updates to Windows 10 as they are developed. Windows Insider itself consists of four "rings", "Fast" (which receives new builds as they are released), "Slow" (which receives new builds on a delay after it is deployed to Fast ring users), "Release Preview" (which receives early access to updates for the Current Branch), and formerly "Skip Ahead" (which receives super-early builds for the next feature update while a current release is being finished).
Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)
The Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted), previously known as the Current Branch (CB), distributes all feature updates as they graduate from the Windows Insider branch. Microsoft only supports the latest build. A feature update can be deferred for up to 365 days, a quality update can be deferred for up to 30 days before it will be listed as available in Windows Update. As of version 1703, additional settings are provided to pause checking of updates for up to 35 days, but they were not available on Windows 10 Home until version .[60][61][62]
Semi-Annual Channel
The Semi-Annual Channel, previously known as Current Branch for Business (CBB), distributes feature updates on a four-month delay from their original release to the Semi-Annual Channel. This allows customers and vendors to evaluate and perform additional testing on new builds before broader deployments. Devices can be switched back to the Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) at any time. The Semi-Annual Channel is not available on Windows 10 Home.[23][63]
Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC)
This servicing option is exclusively available for Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC edition and distributes snapshots of this edition that are updated every 2-3 years. LTSC builds adhere to Microsoft's traditional support policy which was in effect before Windows 10: They are not updated with new features, and are supported with critical updates for 10 years after their release. Microsoft officially discourages the use of LTSC outside of "special-purpose devices" that perform a fixed function and thus do not require new user experience features. As a result, it excludes Windows Store, most Cortana functionality, and most bundled apps (including Microsoft Edge).[23][1][3] According to a Microsoft announcement, this servicing option was renamed from Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) in 2016 to Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) in 2018, to match the name changes mentioned above.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ There are four telemetry levels, in the order of magnitude: Security, basic, advanced, and full. The higher the level, the more information that is sent to Microsoft.
  2. ^ Cortana is available only in certain markets. Experience may vary by region and device.
  3. ^ Windows Hello requires specialized hardware, such as a fingerprint reader, illuminated IR sensor or other biometric sensor.
  4. ^ On Windows 10 Pro , a Control Panel applet corresponding to this feature appears, but a Windows 10 Enterprise or Education image is still needed.[54][55]


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