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Microsoft details which features Windows 10 Home and Pro users don’t get

If you plan to buy Windows 10 when it comes out, either retail, as a system builder copy or through a PC or tablet, you have the choice between Windows 10 Home and Pro as a consumer.

These are the two main retail versions of Windows 10 and naturally, they differ in some aspects. While Microsoft has not revealed official pricing yet, it is likely that it will match that of Windows 8.1, so that retail copies of Windows 10 Home will be available for $119 and of Windows 10 Pro for $199 in the US.

The question that should come up naturally is whether the $80 extra for the Pro edition are worth it.

Microsoft released a comparison chart for the four major Windows 10 editions, Home, Pro, Enterprise and Education that details the features they include.

While all versions share the same Core Experience according to Microsoft, with Cortana, Windows Hello biometric support, Microsoft Edge and Continuum, it is the business experience where they diverge.

windows 10 feature comparison editions

Windows 10 Home users get the fewest features of all editions. It is for instance still the case that Group Policy and Bitlocker are not available in Home editions.

Feature Home Pro Enterprise Education
Device Encryption yes yes yes yes
Domain Join   yes yes yes
Group Policy Management   yes yes yes
Bitlocker   yes yes yes
Enterprise Mode   yes yes yes
Assigned Access 8.1   yes yes yes
Remote Desktop   yes yes yes
Direct Access     yes yes
Windows To Go Creator     yes yes
Applocker     yes yes
Branchcache     yes yes
Start Screen Control     yes yes
Side-loading of business apps yes yes yes yes
Mobile device management yes yes yes yes
Join Azure Active Directory   yes yes yes
Business Store   yes yes yes
Granular UX Control     yes yes
Upgrade Pro > Enterprise   yes yes  
Upgrade Home > Education yes     yes
Microsoft Passport yes yes yes yes
Enterprise Data Protection   yes yes yes
Current Branch for Business   yes yes yes
Long Term Servicing Branch     yes  
Windows Update yes yes yes yes
Windows Update for Business   yes yes yes
Current Branch for Business   yes yes yes
Long Term Servicing Branch     yes  

Pro users get additional features that Home users won't. The feature set mimics that of Windows 8.1 for the most part as features such as Bitlocker, Group Policy Management or Remote Desktop are available in the Pro version of Windows 10.

As far as new features are concerned, it is how Windows gets updated that may be of interest when making the decision. As mentioned earlier, it appears that updates may become mandatory on Windows 10 Home devices while better control options are provided on devices running Windows 10 Pro.

It is still too early to tell if Microsoft will really go down that route and enforce updates without giving users options to block some or control when these get deployed on their systems, but it looks as if that is what is going to happen.

Windows users who are eligible for a free upgrade get either a Home or Pro version depending on the existing license they have. Device that get updated to Windows 10 Home can be upgraded -- for a price -- to Windows 10 Pro if that is desired.

Closing Words

While most users may not have issues running Windows 10 Home on their devices, others may have two main areas of concern.

The first has been part of the Windows family for a long time: Group Policy is not available. This may not be a huge issue depending on how the system is used but for some, it is important to have access to policies on devices running Windows 10.

More problematic than that is how updates are handled in Home versions. If early predictions are correct, control over updates and when they get installed is removed from Windows 10 Home. Considering that the past has shown that updates may sometimes break systems or features, it could be a recipe for disaster.

This article was first seen on ComTek's "TekBits" Technology News


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