Windows 8 Editions: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows RT Compared

Microsoft has officially announced Windows 8 editions that will be available when the upcoming operating system is released to the market. The Redmond software giant also announced that Windows 8 is the official name of the new operating system. To keep things simpler and reduce confusion, the software giant will release three editions of Windows 8, namely, Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT.

PCs and Tablets powered by x86 processors (both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms) will have Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. Windows on ARM platform or WOA will be officially called Windows RT. Windows 8 Enterprise edition targeted towards enterprise customers will have all features of Windows 8 Pro plus features required for an IT organization like PC management and deployment, advanced security, virtualization, new mobility scenarios, and more.Windows 8 User Interface

During the announcement, a tabular comparison of the different editions of Windows 8 was also released. Here’s a brief of what a user can expect of the different editions.

  • Windows 8: It is the standard edition and includes all the major features revealed in the Windows 8 preview. Features like the new Metro UI (user interface), updated Windows Explorer, Task Manager, better multi-monitor support and the ability to switch languages on the fly. Windows 7 users running Starter, Home Basic and Home Premium editions can upgrade to this edition. For China and a small set of select emerging markets, a local language-only edition of Windows 8 will be released.
  • Windows 8 Pro: This can be seen as Windows 8 Ultimate just like Windows 7 Ultimate edition. It includes all the features of Windows 8 plus features required by tech enthusiasts and business/technical professionals. Specifically, Windows 8 Pro will include features like BitLocker and BitLocker To Go, support for Boot from VHD, Client Hyper-V, Domain Join, Encrypting File System, Group Policy, and Remote Desktop (host). Windows Media Center though supported, will be available as a separate add-on. Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate users will only be able to upgrade to this version.
  • Windows 8 RT: This is an entire new edition of the flagship operating system. This edition will be only available for the ARM processors platform, and will come pre-installed on existing devices. This edition is meant for tablets and ultra-small devices. WOA will include Microsoft Office as a built-in feature.

We still don’t have any confirmed Windows 8 release date (though its speculated that Windows 8 will be available by the year-end) or pricing details for either new installs or upgrades. From the announcement, it can be presumed that users running earlier editions of Windows, prior to Windows 7 will need to buy a full release. This is obvious since, Maintenance Support for Windows Vista has already ended and Windows XP is already in its Extended Support period. The software giant has already urged users of both these operating systems to upgrade to Windows 7.

Source: Windows Team Blog

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