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Windows 8 developer preview has been released some time ago and we are waiting for the consumer preview to be released some time in late February. Windows 8 version have yet to be announced by Microsoft but HP has revealed Windows 8 SKUs (versions) rather mistakenly. It was revealed in a driver update document. There are at least two drivers pages on which Windows 8 SKUs have been listed out. Here are the Windows 8 SKUs revealed by HP:

Windows 8 SKUs

  • Microsoft Windows 8 32 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 8 64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 8 Enterprise 32 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 8 Enterprise 64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 32 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 64 Edition

You can see the actual driver pages here and here. Both these documents are dated to 2011 when the Windows drivers kit has not even been released yet. This makes the matter more suspicious. SKUs and editions are something that are announced very late when the final version of Windows is launched. So we may see a different picture when Windows 8 is released finally. There is a difference between each SKU or edition. For example if we look at Windows 7 SKUs, we can compare the difference in features on the Microsoft comparison site.

At this time we should wait for Windows 8 consumer preview (Windows 8 beta) which is only a week or so away to be released. Windows 8 SKUs will be a priority when we will be purchasing Windows 8 because they will tell us which edition of Windows 8 will be best suited for us. But this news and revelation can clearly tell us that Microsoft has already done their homework on Windows 8 SKUs and will be releasing Windows 8 Final in a very short span of time.

I wonder since Windows 8 has been designed for the tablets as well as PCs, will there be a separate SKU for Windows 8 for tablets? Or Microsoft will continue the same strategy like in Windows 7. Microsoft didn’t release a separate SKU for Windows 7 for netbooks but Windows 7 Starter edition was modified to serve this very purpose. What’s your opinion about this Windows 8 SKUs Microsoft strategy?

Update: With the release of Windows 8 Consumer Preview, new Windows 8 SKUs have been identified. The SKUs have been found from the Windows registry. You can see the following screenshot of the Windows 8 registry detailing about the SKUs:

Windows 8 SKUs from Windows 8 registry

You can clearly see that the following Windows 8 SKUs will be possibly available:

  1. Windows 8 Enterprise Edition
  2. Windows 8 Home Basic Edition
  3. Windows 8 Home Premium Edition
  4. Windows 8 Professional Edition
  5. Windows 8 Professional Plus Edition
  6. Windows 8 Starter Edition
  7. Windows 8 Ultimate Edition
  8. Windows 8 ARM Edition

If you are using Windows 8 Consumer Preview, you can go to the following registry key to find all these SKUs:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionComponent Based ServicingPackageIndexProduct

Update: Microsoft has officially announced 4 editions of Windows 8.