4 Windows 8 Editions Announced By Microsoft

Windows 8 will remain Windows 8. Yes! Microsoft has officially announced that Windows 8 is the official product name of their next Operating System which is currently in beta. There has been a lot of speculation on the editions of Windows 8 when it will be launched. If you go through Windows 8 Consumer Preview registry, you’ll still see the following editions added in the registry:

  • 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

But this was just guess work and prediction. Microsoft has finally released details about the editions of Windows 8 which will be available after release to manufacturing. The good news is that Windows 8 will not come with confusing and technically complex SKUs (Stock Keeping Units). This will help in choosing the right edition of Windows 8 for consumers.

Windows 8 will come in the following editions:

  1. Windows 8
  2. Windows 8 Pro
  3. Windows 8 RT
  4. Windows 8 Enterprise

Let’s first discuss in more detail about each edition of Windows 8 then we’ll show one to one feature comparison of each edition of Windows. This will make everything clear about each edition.

Windows 8

Windows 8 is the standard edition which will run on x86/x64 tablet and desktop processors. This will most probably be the equivalent of Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic and Home Premium editions. This edition of Windows will consist of all the features of Windows 8 that a single user needs including updated Windows Explorer, task manager and better multi-monitor support. Users will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 standard edition from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic and Home Premium editions.

One thing to note here is that there will be a separate localized edition of Windows 8 specifically for China and a small set of emerging markets not mentioned by Microsoft now.

Windows 8 Pro

Windows 8 Pro includes all the features of Windows 8 standard and will also obtain a broader range of Windows 8 technologies geared towards IT professionals and geeks. Some of the additional features that Windows 8 Pro will include are BitLocker technology, Boot from VHD, joining a domain, EFS (Encrypting File System, group policy, remote desktop etc.

Windows 8 RT

Windows 8 RT (not to be confused with WinRT (Windows Runtime)) is a new edition added to Windows 8 and will be able to be installed on ARM or WOA based devices. This edition of Windows 8 will probably not be available for sale separately but will only be pre-installed on selective PCs and tablets. Windows 8 RT will come with touch optimized versions of Microsoft Office.

Windows 8 Enterprise

As always, Windows 8 Enterprise edition will include all the features of Windows 8 Pro plus features for IT organizations to enable central PC management and deployment. This edition of Windows is generally meant for organizations only.

The pricing structure of Windows 8 is yet to be revealed and Microsoft says it will reveal the pricing structure very soon.

Windows 8 Editions feature comparison

Now let’s do a visual comparison of features of each Windows 8 edition:

Feature name Windows 8 Windows 8 Pro Windows RT
Upgrades from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium

x

x

Upgrades from Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate x
Start screen, Semantic Zoom, Live Tiles x x x
Windows Store x x x
Apps (Mail, Calendar, People, Messaging, Photos, SkyDrive, Reader, Music, Video) x x x
Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote) x
Internet Explorer 10 x x x
Device encryption x
Connected standby x x x
Microsoft account x x x
Desktop x x x
Installation of x86/64 and desktop software x x
Updated Windows Explorer x x x
Windows Defender x x x
SmartScreen x x x
Windows Update x x x
Enhanced Task Manager x x x
Switch languages on the fly (Language Packs) x x x
Better multiple monitor support x x x
Storage Spaces x x
Windows Media Player x x
Exchange ActiveSync x x x
File history x x x
ISO / VHD mount x x x
Mobile broadband features x x x
Picture password x x x
Play To x x x
Remote Desktop (client) x x x
Reset and refresh your PC x x x
Snap x x x
Touch and Thumb keyboard x x x
Trusted boot x x x
VPN client x x x
BitLocker and BitLocker To Go x
Boot from VHD x
Client Hyper-V x
Domain Join x
Encrypting File System x
Group Policy x
Remote Desktop (host) x

For more information about the editions of Windows 8, please refer to the blog post on Microsoft team blog.