Difference between Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro & Windows 8 RT

Microsoft has announced the different versions of Windows 8 SKUs. It has also confirmed that Windows 8 will be the official name of the new operating system.

Many will be happy to see that Microsoft has reduced the number of offerings to just three: Windows  8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 RT. Apart from this, it will also offers SKUs for Enterprise and Emerging Markets.

For home users, Windows 8 would be the right choice, as it will offer all the features that a normal Windows home user may need. Apart from all this, Windows 8 Edition  will also offer some features which were earlier offered only in the Ultimate/Enterprise editions of Windows.

Windows 8 Pro edition, will offer a bit more. This edition is meant for tech enthusiasts and  professionals and offers 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.

A local language-only edition of Windows 8 will be offered for China and a select set of other emerging markets.

Microsoft has also introduced Windows 8 RT, the newest member of the Windows family – also known as Windows on ARM or WOA. This single edition will only be available pre-installed on PCs and tablets powered by ARM processors and will help enable new thin and lightweight form factors with impressive battery life.

Microsoft will also offer an edition of Windows 8 specifically for those enterprise customers with Software Assurance agreements. Windows 8 Enterprise includes all the features of Windows 8 Pro plus features for IT organization that enable PC management and deployment, advanced security, virtualization, new mobility scenarios, and more.

Difference between Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro & Windows 8 RT

This chart sourced from Microsoft will show you the diffecence in each of the editions.

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

Good to see that Microsoft  simplified the offerings of Windows SKUs to just 3!

Thanks Vasudev.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com and a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows for the period 2006-16. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.