Chapter 13: What are the different versions of Windows 8?

Now that you know about Windows 8's main features and all-new design, you might be wondering what different versions are available to you. Unlike Windows 7, which has multiple consumer versions that cater to different users — from Home Premium, which has all the basic features you'll need, to Pro, which has more advanced features, to Ultimate, which has all the available features — Windows 8 only has two consumer versions that can be purchased. The two versions are simply Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro.

Windows 8 is designed for home users who don't require any advanced features. It offers the updated version of Windows Explorer, the new version of the Task Manager, it has multi-monitor support, and it gives you the ability to change languages on-the-fly. In Windows 7, changing languages was reserved for the Ultimate and Enterprise editions only.

Windows 8 Pro has all of the features of Windows 8, but it's designed for business users and tech enthusiasts who need more advanced features. It includes more network features, such as Domain connectivity, it supports virtualisation and encryption as well as more PC management features, and it allows you to install Windows Media Centre as an optional add-on pack. Indeed, Windows Media Centre is not offered with Windows 8 as a standard feature; it can't play DVDs and Blu-ray discs natively, so Windows Media Centre or third-party decoding software will be needed.

Windows RT, or Windows on ARM (WOA), is not an operating system that you will be able to purchase on its own, but it's another version of Windows that will be available for low-cost tablets. Windows RT will only be pre-installed on tablet devices that run an ARM processor. These tablets won't be able to run x86-based apps such as the Microsoft Office suite that you might have installed on your desktop computer; instead, Windows RT tablets will run touch-based applications and optimised versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, and these specific apps will not be able to run on the desktop (x86) versions of Windows 8.

Finally, Windows 8 Enterprise will also be available for corporations that will be deploying Windows 8 across vast networks of computers. It will offer all the features of Windows 8 Pro, in addition to better security and mobility features. One of these mobility features is called Windows To Go, which essentially lets IT administrators run a Windows 8 environment off an external storage device on practically any computer.

Proudly sponsored by Trend Micro

Previous chapter: The Control Panel and other system settings

Next chapter: How do I get Windows 8?

Go back to the index

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Elias Plastiras

Elias Plastiras

PC World

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?