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Windows 8 Editions

There is no Windows 8 Ultimate. For home users or general consumers, the most feature-rich edition is Windows 8 Pro, though it’s still lacking of few advanced features.

Having said that, if you’re looking for the full-featured edition, it has to be Windows 8 Enterprise, which is only available to “special” channels, such as MSDN, TechNet, Microsoft Software Assurance, Volume License consumers, etc.

4 major editions

If excluding the K, N, and KN editions as well as 64-bit and 32-bit version, there are 4 major editions.
Both Windows 8 N edition and Windows 8 KN edition do not include Windows Media Player and related technologies (c.f. Windows 8 K edition).

Windows 8 editions comparison

Windows RT

1) Not available for purchase or download from legitimate channel, as it’s only come with tablet powered by ARM processor, e.g. Microsoft Surface, ASUS Vivo Tab RT, etc.

2) There is no 64-bit Windows RT, but Microsoft might consider to have one when the 64-bit ARM processor available in market.

3) Bundles the touch-friendly Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 RT which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. When the final version is available, the preview version will be automatically updated for free.

4) Missing features: cannot join Windows domain, no Remote Desktop service (RDP server) but includes Remote Desktop client (Windows Store app), cannot run legacy Windows program except Windows Store apps (the Modern UI style apps available in Windows Store), no EFS and BitLocker except Device Encryption, and other premium features.

Windows 8

Prior to 1st of Feb 2013, this basic edition is only available preinstalled on select tablets and PCs (with reference to Compare Windows 8 editions.)

It’s almost identical to Windows RT, except that it can run legacy Windows programs as well as Windows Store apps, not bundled with Microsoft Office 2013 RT but included Storage Space and Windows Media Player.

Windows 8 Pro

This premium edition is good for most home and corporate users who are interested on BitLocker/BitLocker To Go, Encrypting File System (EFS), Remote Desktop service (RDP server), Windows Domain, Group Policy, and Hyper-V (running virtual machine), Windows Media Center (available as optional purchase and only installable on Windows 8 Pro edition; Microsoft offers free product key of Windows Media Center for a limited time only and must be activated before end of January 2013.)

Windows 8 Enterprise

This is the ultimate edition of Windows 8, if not considering the missing of Windows Media Center which is only available as an optional component for Windows 8 Pro.

With reference to Windows 8 Enterprise features, this edition includes whatever Windows 8 Pro can provide, plus few advanced features, namely AppLocker, Windows To Go (sort of LiveCD; boot and run Windows 8 from USB drive), DirectAccess, BranchCache, RemoteFX, Side-load Windows Store apps (a process to install Windows Store app created by by in-house development team but not published to Windows Store).

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