Windows 10 Versions, Editions and Features

Windows 10 is available in several editions for desktop computers. They are:

  • Home
  • Pro
  • Enterprise
  • Education
  • Windows 10 Internet of Things Core

As the name suggests the Home version is designed for home environments. The Pro version is designed for businesses and has most of the features needed in a corporate environment. Enterprise is designed for large business and has basically every feature available. The Home and Pro edition can be bought easily online or at most stores that sell software. The enterprise edition is only sold in volume license sets. This means that large businesses buy a large number of licenses from Microsoft at one time. That is the preferred way for Microsoft to sell enterprise edition.

Education edition basically has the same features as Windows 10 Enterprise edition. The difference between Education and Enterprise edition is the licensing. Windows 10 Education edition is only available for purchase by schools.

Windows 10 Internet of Things Core edition is a simplified version of Windows 10. It has a smaller footprint and is designed to run on low-cost devices, with or without video. Example hardware supported by the Internet of Things Core edition include Raspberry Pi, MinnowBoard, and DragonBoard.

Available Features in Specific Editions

Windows Defender and Windows Firewall are available in all three additions and work the same. Tablet mode is available in all three additions. The new voice activated Cortana feature is available in all editions  and also new Edge web browser.

There are hundreds of different features that vary from version to version, and here are some of the them.  The ability to join a domain is not available in the Home version. It is available in Pro and Enterprise edition. Remote Desktop is also not available on the Home edition, while it is available on Pro and Enterprise. By this we mean to be able to connect to a PC that is running Windows 10. The PC receiving the connection will need to be either Pro or Enterprise. So, we can load the Remote Desktop client on Home and connect to a remote PC, but to receive connections we need to be running Pro or Enterprise.

The BitLocker hard drive encryption is not available in Home, but is available on Pro and Enterprise editions. Direct Access feature, that functions similar to a VPN allowing users to make secure remote connections to a network, is only available on the Enterprise edition.

Mobile Editions

Windows 10 is available in two mobile editions:

  • Mobile
  • Mobile Enterprise

On both of them applications will update automatically. Updating the operating system in Windows Mobile has to be done manually, while it is an automatic process in Windows Mobile Enterprise.  In general, Mobile edition is meant to run phones. Mobile Enterprise is designed to do something retail point-of-sale, handheld terminals and industrial robotics.

Features and Special Hardware

Windows Hello feature requires either one of two pieces of hardware:

  • fingerprint reader
  • illuminated infrared camera

If we’d like to use fingerprint for authentication, we will need a fingerprint reader. The other choice is to use facial recognition for authentication. This will require an illuminated infrared camera. These cameras have sensors that allow them to determine the depth of what they’re looking at to prevent someone from authenticating using a photograph of you.

To use some of the secure boot features we’ll need hardware that is compatible with you UEFI version 2.3.1. UEFI stands for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, an industry standard on how an operating system communicates with firmware.

To use the BitLocker drive encryption we need to store the encryption key somewhere other than on the drive. We have two options for that. The first is to use hardware that supports the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2, or TPM 2.0. This hardware provides a specialized chip for storing the encryption keys. The other option is to simply put the encryption keys on a USB flash drive.

To get the most out of the speech recognition features of Windows 10, Microsoft recommends using hardware that supports Microphone Array Geometry. This takes input from multiple microphones and tries to distinguish between voice versus background noise. This is recommended but not required.

Finally, to install Client Hyper-V (hyper-visor software) on Windows 10, we will need a processor that supports Second Level Address Translation (SLAT). This is a fairly common feature on the most current generation of processors.

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