Windows 10 editions
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.
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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.
- 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.
- 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).
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. System settings are locked to allow only Microsoft Edge as the default web browser with Bing as its search engine. The operating system may be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro for a fee, to enable unrestricted software installation. 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.
- 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.
- 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. 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.
- Windows 10 Enterprise provides all the features of Windows 10 Pro, with additional features to assist with IT-based organizations. Windows 10 Enterprise is configurable on three branches, Semi-Annual Channel, Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted), and Windows Insider.
- Enterprise LTSC
- Enterprise LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel) is a long-term support variant 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. This edition was first released as Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB (Long-Term Servicing Branch). There are currently 3 releases of LTSC: one in 2015 (version 1507), one in 2016 (version 1607) and one in 2018 (version 1809).
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; 10X 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. 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".
- A rebranded variant of Microsoft's earlier embedded operating systems, Windows Embedded. Designed specifically for use in small footprint, low-cost devices and IoT scenarios. Five editions are currently available: IoT Core, IoT Core Pro, and IoT Enterprise, as well as IoT Core LTSC and IoT Enterprise LTSC.
- A specific edition used by Microsoft's Surface Hub interactive whiteboard.
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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- IoT Mobile
- A binary equivalent of Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise licensed for IoT applications. Also known as IoT Mobile Enterprise.
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.
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.
In May 2017, it was reported that Microsoft, as part of its partnership with China Electronics Technology Group, created a specially-modified variant of Windows 10 Enterprise ("G") designed for use within branches of the Chinese government. This variant is pre-configured to "remove features that are not needed by Chinese government employees", and allow the use of its internal encryption algorithms.
|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)|
|Features||Home||Pro||Pro Education||Education||Pro for Workstations||Enterprise|
|Volume licensing||OEM (workstation PCs),
Retail (upgrade from Home or Pro),
|Has N or KN variants?||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||1||2||4|
|Maximum CPU cores||64||128||256|
|Minimum telemetry level[a]||Required||Diagnostic data off||Required||Diagnostic data off|
|Family Safety and Parental Controls||Yes|
|Cortana[b]||Yes||Yes, disabled by default||Yes, since 1703||Yes|
|Hardware device encryption||Yes|
|Multiple language pack support||Yes|
|Mobile device management||Yes|
|Side-loading of line of business apps||Yes|
|Can pause updates?||Yes, since 1903||Yes|
|Microsoft Store suggestions||Yes||Yes, disabled by default||Yes|
|Remote Desktop||Client only||Client and host|
|Remote App||Client only||Client and host||Client only||Client and host|
|ReFS support||Cannot create,
|Windows Subsystem for Linux||64-bit SKUs only||64-bit SKUs only since 1607|
|Windows Sandbox||No||64-bit |
|Hyper-V||No||64-bit SKUs only|
|Assigned Access 8.1||No||Yes|
|Encrypting File System||No||Yes|
|Enterprise data protection||No||Yes|
|Enterprise Mode Internet Explorer (EMIE)||No||Yes|
|Joining a domain and Group Policy management||No||Yes|
|Joining a Microsoft Azure Active Directory||No||Yes|
|Windows Information Protection||No||Yes|
|Windows Update for Business||No||Yes|
|Remote Direct Memory Access||No||Yes|
|Credential Guard (Pass the hash mitigations)||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP)||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|Start screen control with Group Policy||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|User experience control and lockdown||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|Unified Write Filter (UWF)||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|Long-term servicing option available (LTSC)||No||Yes|
|Windows To Go[d]||No||No, since 2004|
|Features||Home||Pro||Pro Education||Education||Pro for Workstations||Enterprise|
 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.
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.
|Windows version and edition||Windows 10 edition|
|Windows 7 Starter||Home|
|Windows 7 Home Basic|
|Windows 7 Home Premium|
|Windows 8.1 with Bing|
|Windows 7 Professional||Pro|
|Windows 7 Ultimate|
|Windows 8.1 Pro|
|Windows Phone 8.1||Mobile|
The following table summarizes possible upgrade paths that can be taken, provided that proper licenses are purchased.
|Upgrade||Upgrade is possible, preserving apps, settings and data|
|Clean||Upgrade is possible, but all apps, settings and data are lost.|
|Downgrade||Upgrade is possible, but you will lose some features.|
Pro for Workstations
|Pro for Students||Downgrade||Upgrade||Upgrade||Upgrade||Upgrade||Upgrade||N/A|
|Pro with Media Center||Downgrade||Upgrade||Upgrade||Upgrade||Upgrade||Upgrade||N/A|
|Pro for Workstations||Downgrade||Downgrade||N/A||Upgrade||Upgrade||Upgrade||N/A|
|Version||Codename||Marketing name||Build||Release date||Support until (and support status by color)|
|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||April 10, 2018||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||May 11, 2021||N/A|
|1809||Redstone 5||October 2018 Update||17763||November 13, 2018||November 10, 2020||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||October 2020 Update||19042||October 20, 2020||May 10, 2022||May 9, 2023|
|Dev Channel||20262||N/A||Rolling Builds in Development|
|Legend: Old version Older version, still maintained Latest version Preview version|
New releases of Windows 10, called feature updates, 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. 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.
- 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 1903.
- 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.
- Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC)
- This servicing option is exclusively available for Windows 10 Enterprise, IoT Core, and IoT Enterprise LTSC editions. Distribution snapshots of these editions 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). 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.
- Windows Server 2016, the sibling of Windows 10 designed for servers, based on Windows NT 10.0 version 1607
- Windows Server 2019, based on Windows NT 10.0 version 1809
- Xbox One system software, an operating system now based on the Windows 10 core, designed to run on consoles
- Windows 10 version history
- There are three (previously four) telemetry levels, in the order of magnitude: Diagnostic data off (Security), Required (Basic), and Optional (Full). The higher the level, the more information that is sent to Microsoft. Previous Windows 10 versions had a level between Required and Optional, and the older names for the levels are shown in the parenthesis.
- Cortana is available only in certain markets. Experience may vary by region and device.
- Windows Hello requires specialized hardware, such as a fingerprint reader, illuminated IR sensor or other biometric sensor.
- On Windows 10 Pro , a Control Panel applet corresponding to this feature appears, but a Windows 10 Enterprise or Education image is still needed.
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How can Windows To Go be deployed in an organization? [~snip~] A Windows 10 Enterprise or Windows 10 Education image
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