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Windows 8.1 Editions – What Are The Differences Among Them?

Windows 8.1 is coming soon to rescue Windows 8 that fails with poor acceptance. For those who are going to own this new Microsoft operating system, you should know what editions are available and the differences among them.

With reference to the official site, there are 4 Windows 8.1 editions, namely:

1. Windows 8.1 RT
2. Windows 8.1
3. Windows 8.1 Pro
4. Windows 8.1 Enterprise

The RT edition is bundled with tablet that powered by ARM CPU and there is no download available for DIY users. For Intel-based tablet, you have choice to run any editions except the RT edition. Only RT edition entitled to have free Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 RT edition, that includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook.

The standard edition sounds like the basic edition of Windows 8.1, but it contains almost all necessary features available in Pro edition. What it lacks of, as compare to Pro edition, are these features (do you want them?):

1. Assigned access and Applocker (Device Lockdown), join domain and group policy, sideloading LOB apps (for installing in-house developed app that are not published to Windows Store), Start screen control (let the domain admin to control Start screen customization – home user want this?).

2. Client Hyper-V and VDI boot. Well, please use the free virtual machine software like VMware Player or Oracle VM VirtualBox.

3. Windows To Go that enables user to install and run Windows 8.1 on USB flash drive (only works on pricy, fast USB flash drive).

4. Bitlocker and Bitlocker To Go. Wait for Windows 8/8.1 support from TrueCrypt – a free, open-source, on-the-fly disk encryption solution for Windows.

5. Branch cache, direct access, and VDI (Virtualization Desktop Infrastructure) – only work with the latest Windows Server.

6. Remote Desktop server – install a VNC server or TeamViewer, if you really want to access your Windows remotely.

For student / educator who have access to DreamSpark, you already have the free product key (license) to run Pro edition – make use of it, don’t waste the chance to pick up more skills!

The Enterprise edition is not available for home users or retailers. It’s only available through volume license, TechNet channel, Microsoft Partner Network, etc. The Enterprise edition contains all Windows 8.1 features, except of no free Microsoft Office 2013 RT edition (and the ability to install Windows Media Center).

Which Windows 8.1 edition to buy?

Compare Windows 8.1 editions

In my view, the standard edition is good for most home users. Get the pro edition if you afford to spend extra dollars or if you’ve access to DreamSpark.

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