Microsoft Announces Revamped Windows 8 Editions

Microsoft has made dramatic changes to the Windows operating system with its upcoming Windows 8 platform; it seems one change includes re-branding its editions.  Simply put, Microsoft has decided to ditch its old branding (Home Premium, Ultimate, etc.) and condense them. The company is introducing three main editions: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows RT -- but only two of these will be available as upgrades from Windows 7.

The edition known as just Windows 8 condenses what was Home Premium and Home Basic previously. A notable change however is the addition of Language Packs, which were available exclusively on Enterprise/Ultimate editions in the past. The Windows 8 edition will be available as an upgrade from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, and Home Premium.

Windows 8 Pro contains functionality you would find in what was Professional and Ultimate editions in the past. Exclusive features include Bitlocker, VHD Boot, Client Hyper-V, Domain Join, File Encryption, Group Policy, and Remote Desktop (host). The new “Windows 8 Pro” also comes with an available Windows Media Center add-on. This edition is upgradeable from Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate editions.

Perhaps the most interesting edition is Windows RT, which comes preloaded on devices running ARM processors and will not be available as an upgrade. Windows RT includes a bundled, touch-optimized desktop version of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. This edition is designed to offer the fullest experience of Windows 8 on x86 processors, on devices with ARM chipsets.

Microsoft also made note of a Windows 8 Enterprise edition, which expands upon the Windows 8 Pro edition by including features for PC management, security, and more.

According to the blog post, we can expect pricing details and promotions in the coming months.

Feature name

Windows 8

Windows 8 Pro

Windows RT

Upgrades from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium

x

x

 

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

 
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51 comments
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    Top Comments
  • alvine
    Thank you Microsoft, I really didn't like the idea of having 8 versions of the OS
    25
  • thefiend1
    Windows 8 professional shouldnt be set to use the "Metro" look by default. Because that would be, well, professional.
    23
  • gmarsack
    I think the general consensus here is, stick with Windows 7... I know I will be.
    21
  • Other Comments
  • Anonymous
    the can stick win8 metro sh_t where the sun don´t shine... i would not even use a free copy of that crap on my desktop.

    i stick to win7 64 bit until they come to sense....
    3
  • alvine
    Thank you Microsoft, I really didn't like the idea of having 8 versions of the OS
    25
  • killerclick
    How does Microsoft expect Metro to succeed on desktops/laptops when it failed so completely on mobile phones? It was made for mobile phones, it's been available for 18 months now, and it barely reached 1.4% usage share. Even Zune did better than that. Now they expect people to use Metro on desktops, with no touch capability, broken multi-monitor usability and users have to pay for it as well?

    What could possibly go wrong?

    (Cue Microsoft's PR bots downvoting comments to hide them)
    7