Windows 8 Versions: Just Two… or three… or four depending on how you count

Microsoft announced that Windows 8 will ship this year and will come in two common forms at retail and OEM outlets:

  1. Windows 8
  2. Windows 8 Pro

Microsofts Brandon LeBlanc explains the difference:

Windows 8 Pro is designed to help tech enthusiasts and business/technical professionals obtain a broader set of Windows 8 technologies. It includes all the features in Windows 8 plus features for encryption, virtualization, PC management and domain connectivity. Windows Media Center will be available as an economical ‘media pack’ add-on to Windows 8 Pro. If you are an enthusiast or you want to use your PC in a business environment, you will want Windows 8 Pro.

There are two other editions which will be available for companies and licencing:

  1. Windows 8 Enterprise
  2. Windows RT

Windows RT is the ARM processor version of Windows 8 which will be used on many low cost tablets and phones.

Windows RT will include touch-optimized desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.  For new apps, the focus for Windows RT is development on the new Windows runtime, or WinRT, which we unveiled in September and forms the foundation of a new generation of cloud-enabled, touch-enabled, web-connected apps of all kinds.

RT will NOT ship with the classic desktop interface; it has the Metro style tiles only.

One further note is that Windows Media Center will be available as an “economical add-on pack to Windows 8 Pro”.  This means it will cost a few dollars if you want Media Center on the PRO edition.

Below is Microsofts table of features:

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



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  


Questions or Comments?