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 a device manufacturer, 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 smartphones (Windows 10 Mobile) and IoT devices.

Baseline editions[edit]

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

Home
Windows 10 Home is designed for use in PCs, tablets and 2-in-1 PCs. It includes all consumer-directed features.[1][2][3]
Pro
Windows 10 Pro adds additional features that are oriented towards business environments and power users. It is functionally equivalent to Windows 8.1 Pro.[1][2][3]

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.

Enterprise
Windows 10 Enterprise provides all the features of Windows 10 Pro, with additional features to assist with IT-based organizations, and is functionally equivalent to Windows 8.1 Enterprise.[1][2][3] Windows 10 Enterprise is configurable on three branches, Semi-Annual Channel, Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted), and Windows Insider.[4]
Education
Windows 10 Education is distributed through Academic Volume Licensing. Initially, it was reported to have the same feature set as Windows 10 Enterprise.[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 features a "Set Up School PCs" app that allows provisioning of settings using a USB flash drive, and does not include Cortana, Windows Store suggestions or Windows Spotlight.[5]
Enterprise LTSB
Enterprise LTSB is a long-term support version of Windows 10 Enterprise released every 2 to 3 years. They are supported with security updates for 10 years after their release, and intentionally receive no feature updates. Some features, including the Windows Store and bundled apps, are not included in this edition.[6][1][3] The 2019 release of this edition is expected to be called Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC.[7]

Device-specific editions[edit]

These editions are licensed to device manufacturers only. The main avenue of purchasing these editions is through buying a specific device (e.g. smartphones) that have them pre-installed.

IoT
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. Windows 10 IoT Enterprise is a binary equivalent to Windows 10 Enterprise.[8] Three editions are already announced: IoT Core, IoT Enterprise, and IoT Mobile Enterprise.[9][10][11]
Team
Windows 10 Team is a device-specific version of Windows 10 loaded onto the Surface Hub.[12]
Pro for Workstations
On August 10, 2017, Microsoft announced a Pro for Workstations edition to be made available in September, along with the Fall Creators Update for Windows 10. This edition is designed for high-end hardware for intensive computing tasks and supports Intel Xeon, AMD Opteron, or 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).[13][14][15] By December 15, 2017, this edition was available pre-installed on two Dell workstations.[16] Windows 10 Home, Pro and S editions can upgrade to this edition. This edition can be upgraded to Pro Education, Enterprise or Education editions of Windows 10.[17]

Discontinued editions[edit]

The following editions of Windows 10 are discontinued, i.e. were not part of Windows 10 version 1803.

Mobile
Fate: Microsoft abandoned developing mobile operating systems.
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
Fate: Microsoft abandoned developing mobile operating systems.
Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise provides all the features in Windows 10 Mobile, with additional features to assist with IT-based organizations, in a manner similar to Windows 10 Enterprise, but optimized for mobile devices.[1][2]
S
Fate: Replaced with "S Mode", a feature in all Windows 10 editions.
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 only allows the installation of software (both Universal Windows Platform and Windows API apps) from Windows Store, although command line programs or shells (even from Windows Store) are not allowed.[18][19] System settings are locked to only allow Microsoft Edge as the default web browser with Bing as its search engine.[20] The operating system may be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro for a fee, to enable unrestricted software installation.[21][22] 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.[21][23][24][25][26]
In March 2018, Microsoft announced that it would be phasing out Windows 10 S, citing confusion among manufacturers and end-users. Microsoft plans to 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 Windows Store, but does not require payment in order to disable these restrictions.[27][28]

Variations[edit]

As with previous versions of Windows since 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.[29]

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.[30]

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 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.[31][32]

Comparison chart[edit]

Guide
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
[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[33][34][35][36]
Features Home Pro Education Enterprise
Architecture IA-32, x86-64
Availability OEM,
Retail
OEM,
Retail,
Volume licensing
Volume licensing Volume licensing
Has N or KN variants? 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
Minimum telemetry level[a][37] Basic Basic Security Security
Continuum Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cortana[b] Yes Yes Yes, since 1703 Yes
Hardware device encryption Yes Yes Yes Yes
Microsoft Edge[38] Yes Yes Yes Yes
Multiple language pack support Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mobile device management Yes Yes Yes Yes
Side-loading of line of business apps Yes Yes Yes Yes
Virtual desktops Yes Yes Yes Yes
Windows Hello[c] Yes Yes Yes Yes
Windows Spotlight Yes Yes Yes Yes
Remote Desktop Client only Client and host Client and host Client and host
Remote App Client only Client only Client and host Client and host
ReFS support[39] Cannot create,
since 1709
Cannot create,
since 1709
Cannot create,
since 1709
Yes
Windows Subsystem for Linux 64-bit SKUs only,
since 1607
64-bit SKUs only,
since 1607
64-bit SKUs only,
since 1607
64-bit SKUs only,
since 1607
Hyper-V No 64-bit SKUs only 64-bit SKUs only 64-bit SKUs only
Assigned Access 8.1 No Yes Yes Yes
BitLocker No Yes Yes Yes
Business Store No Yes Yes Yes
Conditional Access No Yes Yes Yes
Can switch to CBB (defer updates)? No Yes Yes Yes
Joining a domain and Group Policy management No Yes Yes Yes
Enterprise data protection No Yes Yes Yes
Enterprise Mode Internet Explorer (EMIE) No Yes Yes Yes
Joining a Microsoft Azure Active Directory No Yes Yes Yes
Private catalog No Yes Yes Yes
Windows Analytics No Yes Yes Yes
Windows Information Protection No Yes Yes Yes
Windows Update for Business No Yes Yes Yes
Windows To Go[d] No Yes Yes[41] Yes[40][41]
AppLocker No No Yes Yes
BranchCache No No Yes Yes
Credential Guard (Pass the hash mitigations) No No Yes Yes
Device Guard No Yes Yes Yes
DirectAccess No No Yes Yes
Microsoft App-V No No Yes Yes
Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) No No Yes Yes
Microsoft UE-V No No Yes Yes
Start screen control with Group Policy No No Yes Yes
User experience control and lockdown No No Yes Yes
Features Home Pro Education Enterprise

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.[42]

Upgrade path[edit]

Free upgrade[edit]

At the time of launch, Microsoft deemed Windows 7 (with Service Pack 1), Windows 8 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.[43]

Windows 10 free upgrade matrix
(for the first year of availability)[43]
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.

Guide
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[44]
Windows
version
Windows
edition
Upgrade target
Windows
10 Home
Windows
10 Pro
Windows
10 Pro
Education
Windows 10
Enterprise
Windows 10
Education
Windows 7 Starter Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Home Basic Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Home Premium Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Professional Downgrade Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ultimate Downgrade Yes Yes Yes Yes
Enterprise No No No Yes Yes
Windows 8.x (Core) Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Professional Downgrade Yes Yes Yes Yes
Enterprise No No No Yes Yes
Windows 8.x
Embedded
Industry No No No Yes No
Windows 10 Home N/A Yes Yes No Yes
Pro Downgrade N/A Yes Yes Yes
Enterprise No No No N/A Yes
Education No No No Downgrade N/A

Release branches[edit]

New releases of Windows 10, called feature updates,[6] 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.[45] 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.[6]

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 three "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), and "Release Preview".
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. As of version 1703, additional settings are provided to pause or defer feature updates for a specified length of time, but they are not available on Windows 10 Home.[46][47]
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.[6][48]
Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB)
This branch is exclusively available for Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB edition and distributes snapshots of this edition that are updated every 2-3 years. LTSB 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 LTSB 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).[6][1][3] According to a Microsoft announcement, this branch will be renamed Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) in 2019, to match the name changes mentioned above.[7]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ There are four telemetry levels, in the order of magnitude: Security, basic, advanced, and full. The higher the level, the more information are 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.[40][41]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b c d e f Bott, Ed (May 14, 2015). "Windows 10 editions: Everything you need to know". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Foley, Mary Jo (July 2, 2015). "Which Windows 10 editions get which features?". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. 
  4. ^ DaniHalfin. "Assign devices to servicing branches for Windows 10 updates (Windows 10)". docs.microsoft.com. Retrieved May 3, 2017. 
  5. ^ Foley, Mary Jo (July 27, 2016). "Microsoft to add new Windows 10 Pro Education edition to its line-up". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Overview of Windows as a service". Microsoft. Retrieved May 6, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b Brinkmann, Martin (July 28, 2017). "Windows 10 LTSB becomes Windows 10 LTSC". gHacks Technology News. 
  8. ^ https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsforbusiness/windows-iot.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "Windows 10 IoT for your business". Windows for Business. Microsoft. Retrieved January 16, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Windows 10 IoT Enterprise". MS Embedded. Silica. August 14, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2016. 
  11. ^ Foley, Mary Jo (December 3, 2015). "Microsoft updates Windows 10 IoT, adds new Core Pro version". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. 
  12. ^ "Windows 10 Team Anniversary Update now available for Microsoft Surface Hub". Neowin. Retrieved May 3, 2017. 
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  15. ^ Warren, Tom (August 10, 2017). "Microsoft reveals new Windows 10 Workstations edition for power users". The Verge. Vox Media. 
  16. ^ Valdez Ruggiero, Augusto (December 15, 2017). "Windows 10 Pro for Workstations: Power through advanced workloads". Windows For Your Business. Microsoft. 
  17. ^ Lindsay, Greg; Huang, Yufei; Brower, Nick; de Guzman, Celeste; Lich, Brian (January 18, 2018). "Windows 10 edition upgrade". Windows IT Pro Center. Microsoft. 
  18. ^ Turner, Rich. "Will Linux distros run on Windows 10 S?". Microsoft. Retrieved May 26, 2017. 
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  25. ^ "Windows 10 Cloud looks just like Windows 10 in leaked screenshots". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  26. ^ "Leaked Microsoft document confirms Windows 10 Cloud and a Chromebook competitor". PC World. IDG. Retrieved April 23, 2017. 
  27. ^ "Microsoft admits Windows 10 S was confusing, new 'S Mode' upgrades will be free". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-03-08. 
  28. ^ Tung, Liam. "Windows 10 to permit block on apps installing if they're not from Microsoft Store". ZDNet. Retrieved 2018-03-08. 
  29. ^ Ron (August 2, 2015). "Grab the Media Feature Pack for Windows 10 N and Windows 10 KN editions". WinBeta. Retrieved March 11, 2016. 
  30. ^ Slater-Robins, Max. "Microsoft is helping manufacturers make cheap tablets that can run Windows as well as Android". Business Insider UK. Business Insider UK. Retrieved April 23, 2016. 
  31. ^ "Microsoft made a version of Windows 10 for the Chinese government". Engadget. Retrieved May 28, 2017. 
  32. ^ Myerson, Terry (May 23, 2017). "Announcing Windows 10 China Government Edition and the new Surface Pro". Windows 10 blog. Microsoft. 
  33. ^ Dudau, Vlad (June 10, 2015). "Microsoft shows OEMs how to market Windows 10; talks features and SKUs". Neowin. Neowin LLC. Retrieved June 19, 2015. 
  34. ^ "Compare Windows 10 Pro & Enterprise (E3 & E5) Commercial Editions". microsoft.com. Microsoft. Retrieved July 2, 2015. 
  35. ^ "Compare Windows 10 Editions & Versions | Home & Pro". microsoft.com. Microsoft. Retrieved October 30, 2017. 
  36. ^ Howse, Brett (July 2, 2015). "Windows 10 Editions Compared". AnandTech. Purch. 
  37. ^ "Configure Windows telemetry in your organization". docs.microsoft.com. Microsoft. May 22, 2017. 
  38. ^ Foley, Mary Jo (June 9, 2015). "Some Windows 10 Enterprise users won't get Microsoft's Edge browser". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 10, 2015. 
  39. ^ "Features that are removed or deprecated in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update". Support (28 ed.). Microsoft. October 17, 2017. 
  40. ^ a b Thurrott, Paul (February 10, 2017). "Ask Paul: Is Windows To Go Coming to Windows 10 Pro?". thurrott.com. BWW Media Group. 
  41. ^ a b c Niehaus, Michael; Lich, Brian. "Windows To Go frequently asked questions (Windows 10)". docs.microsoft.com. Microsoft. Retrieved July 30, 2017. How can Windows To Go be deployed in an organization? [~snip~] A Windows 10 Enterprise or Windows 10 Education image 
  42. ^ "TrendForce Adjusts Notebooks' Unit Memory Capacity for 2015 Down by 3~5% due to Microsoft's New License Fee Arrangement for Windows 10". DRAMeXchange. TrendForce Corp. July 27, 2015. Retrieved March 11, 2016. 
  43. ^ a b Trent, Rod (June 9, 2015). "Windows 10 Upgrade Paths". SuperSite for Windows. Penton. 
  44. ^ Lindsay, Greg; Lich, Brian (April 5, 2017). "Windows 10 upgrade paths". Microsoft Docs. Microsoft. 
  45. ^ Warren, Tom (April 20, 2017). "Microsoft will now release major Windows 10 updates every March and September". The Verge. Vox Media. 
  46. ^ Leonhard, Woody (March 1, 2017). "Put Windows 10 updates on hold—now available in Creators Update build 15046". Computerworld. IDG. Retrieved May 6, 2017. 
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  48. ^ Keizer, Gregg (November 17, 2015). "How to defer upgrades and updates in Windows 10 Pro". Computerworld. IDG.