Windows 8: Choosing the Right Version Made Easier

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has now revealed that most buyers will choose between just two versions of Windows 8. It's a big change from earlier Windows launches, in which choosing the right version could be a daunting and confusing experience.

One version of Windows 8, known as simply 'Windows 8', is aimed at consumers and small businesses.

The more expensive and expansive option will be called 'Windows 8 Pro'. As with previous "premium" or "business" editions of Windows, it will include features that are most useful in a corporate setting.

These additional features include extra network controls, a remote desktop capability (for when staff are working away from their usual computers), and enhanced security and file encryption tools. (Source:

Farewell to Home Premium, Ultimate Editions

Offering just two choices is a big change from previous Windows launches. With Windows 7, for example, most buyers were offered three different options. The standard version, intended for the average home and small business user, was confusingly labeled 'Home Premium'.

Actually, there will be four editions of Windows 8 in total, still fewer than the six versions offered with Windows 7.

Windows 8 Enterprise, the third version, will simply be a variant of Windows 8 Pro and is designed only for users of a specific Microsoft licensing scheme known as Software Assurance.

With 'Enterprise,' businesses pay an annual subscription for the Microsoft software of their choice and automatically get all the relevant upgrades.

Mobile Devices Granted Their Own Version

Windows 'RT' will be available only pre-installed on mobile devices, such as touchscreen tablets. This version will be specially-coded to work with the ARM processors in mobile devices, rather than the Intel processors in most home and business computers.

Windows RT will boast some unique features, such as the ability to encrypt all the content on its device. In addition, RT will be the only version of Windows 8 to come with Microsoft Office already uninstalled.

However, Windows RT users will be able to add extra software only through the new Microsoft app store, a restriction which may upset some software developers.

There has already been some criticism of the Windows RT name, because it refers to a technical process in the way software developers can create applications that work on both RT and the other versions of Windows 8.

One explanation for the name is that calling the OS Windows 8 Mobile, instead, could have caused it to be confused with the company's existing smartphone software (Windows Phone). (Source:

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