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Microsoft Announces Revamped Windows 8 Editions

By - Source: Windows Team Blog | B 51 comments

If you thought they were done changing Windows, think again.

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

 
Discuss
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Top Comments
  • 25 Hide
    alvine , April 17, 2012 4:49 PM
    Thank you Microsoft, I really didn't like the idea of having 8 versions of the OS
  • 23 Hide
    thefiend1 , April 17, 2012 4:54 PM
    Windows 8 professional shouldnt be set to use the "Metro" look by default. Because that would be, well, professional.
  • 21 Hide
    gmarsack , April 17, 2012 5:25 PM
    I think the general consensus here is, stick with Windows 7... I know I will be.
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , April 17, 2012 4:48 PM
    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....
  • 25 Hide
    alvine , April 17, 2012 4:49 PM
    Thank you Microsoft, I really didn't like the idea of having 8 versions of the OS
  • 7 Hide
    killerclick , April 17, 2012 4:54 PM
    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)
  • 23 Hide
    thefiend1 , April 17, 2012 4:54 PM
    Windows 8 professional shouldnt be set to use the "Metro" look by default. Because that would be, well, professional.
  • 0 Hide
    CaedenV , April 17, 2012 4:56 PM
    It is as if they listened to me lol. The whole 6-7 versions of win 7 was just ridiculous and confused people. A standard, and then a business/network friendly version is all you really need, and then the ARM version is simply a necessity for a different platform (glad there is only 1 arm version though).

    For business tablet environment they had better add domain features for the ARM version. I am not sure businesses will want to pay extra for the x86 tablets just to add them to a network.
  • 4 Hide
    jblack , April 17, 2012 5:01 PM
    CaedenV I am not sure businesses will want to pay extra for the x86 tablets just to add them to a network.


    I think they need to add "device encryption" to the x86 options as well...... You will want to encrypt those tablets as they tend to disappear.
  • 16 Hide
    upgrade_1977 , April 17, 2012 5:09 PM
    They need to put the start button back... I was really looking forward to windows 8, but I downloaded it onto my PC, and I really don't like it anymore. Probably stick with windows 7.

    As for the different editions, It seems like each of the 3 editions lacks something the others have, shouldn't they have an ultimate editions with everything?
  • 21 Hide
    gmarsack , April 17, 2012 5:25 PM
    I think the general consensus here is, stick with Windows 7... I know I will be.
  • 11 Hide
    jaber2 , April 17, 2012 5:33 PM
    I'm using the rc now, I think like the rest of sane people I will wait until SP2 of Windows 9 to switch, only upgrade to odd number windows.
  • 14 Hide
    gsacks , April 17, 2012 5:33 PM
    Unless you have a specific need to upgrade...don't.
  • 9 Hide
    igot1forya , April 17, 2012 5:34 PM
    LOL I'm still running the Windows 7 Enterprise Trial :) 
  • -5 Hide
    synd , April 17, 2012 5:35 PM
    The new editions make much more sense now.
    1 - Basic
    2 - Ultimate
    3 - Office/Professional
    If they rename them like that I assure them millions dollars profit and less confused buyers
  • 1 Hide
    besplatan , April 17, 2012 5:43 PM
    killerclickHow 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)


    This is exactly what I said the other day.
  • 10 Hide
    DroKing , April 17, 2012 5:47 PM
    Uhh You may keep your metro.
  • 0 Hide
    ern88 , April 17, 2012 5:55 PM
    Bottom line question. How much is it going to cost for this!!!!!
  • 0 Hide
    megahustler , April 17, 2012 6:11 PM
    Quote:
    “Windows 8 Pro” also comes with an available Windows Media Center add-on.


    WMC will only be available on the Pro version of Win 8? Really? WMC doesn't really seem like a "Pro" feature...

    A quick search on Google reveals it's even likely to be a non-free add-on. Really? I have to pay for a Pro version of Win 8 to get WMC, and then I don't even get it without paying even more? Really Microsoft? If you want to kill off WMC, why don't you just do it already?

    I will avoid Win 8 for as long as possible.
  • 1 Hide
    classzero , April 17, 2012 6:25 PM
    2012 the fall of Windows
  • 2 Hide
    matt_b , April 17, 2012 6:26 PM
    Thank you Microsoft for exercising the "condensing" term, now if you could only make one of the three standing versions; the desktop version!
  • 17 Hide
    Anomalyx , April 17, 2012 6:42 PM
    Did anyone else besides me come here with the hope that there would be "Windows 8: Start Menu Edition"?
  • 4 Hide
    blazorthon , April 17, 2012 6:43 PM
    killerclickHow 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)


    I'm not a M$ PR bot and I downvoted you. You obviously have never tried a WP7 smart phone if you think that they are every bit as great as the mid/high end Androids and iPhones are. Metro doesn't need to succeed, only Windows 8 does for M$ to make money. Metro is not a difficult thing to remove or work around and really, the improvements made in W8 over W7 are worth spending about ten minutes of my time after installing W8 to tweak it's UI with some freeware.

    W8 is faster, uses less memory, has much improved wireless connectivity time, reduced power usage on my laptop and increased it's battery life, has improved features such as a much better Task manager, and more. There are many different ways to get rid of or simply work around Metro and so many of them are quick, easy, and painless to implement.

    upgrade_1977They need to put the start button back... I was really looking forward to windows 8, but I downloaded it onto my PC, and I really don't like it anymore. Probably stick with windows 7. As for the different editions, It seems like each of the 3 editions lacks something the others have, shouldn't they have an ultimate editions with everything?


    You can get the start button and menu back yourself. Should M$ have removed it? I don't think so. However, I think that with whining about Metro, enough is enough. It is not as bad as most people claim, although I do prefer the desktop. Instead of complaining about it at every opportunity, I did something about it on my machines. Also, the W8 Pro edition is supposed to have everything that the Vista/W7 Ultimate and Vista/W7 Pro editions we are used to have, so no, it doesn't need another version for that. We got by without an ultimate version with XP and the others for so long, we don't need something to have such a superficial name. Just by implementing it's features into the Pro version we reduce the confusion/annoyance and get rid of an ego boosting name. I think that it is a win-win scenario there, so long as this W8 Pro isn't missing anything.

    Looking at the list provided in this article, the W8 Pro isn't missing anything besides built in M$ office and device encryption.

    I still do not understand why people are so fixated with Metro. If you don't like it, then don't use it. You don't need to use it if you don't want to. Upgrading to W8 does not mean that you must use Metro. This is supposed to be a site for mostly enthusiasts and otherwise tech heads. Truly, you people should be ashamed to call yourselves enthusiasts, geeks, etc. if you can't even spend a few minutes (not even 15 minutes) to do a quick, easy, and free fix to your problem. This laziness astounds me. I can understand the annoyance factor, but that is all that it is. Here. I'll even make it easy for you. Just go to softpedia.com and download ViStart and ViOrb. Install both programs. Congratulations, you now have a start menu with a start button.

    Those of you who actually care to do more can disable Metro instead of just getting a start menu. I've used MUIT, aka Metro UI Tweaker (also downloaded from softpedia.com. That site is great) do disable Metro completely instead of just working around it.

    Oh, but go ahead, downvote the guy who just told you exactly how to fix your problems in very easy, fast, and completely free ways if you want to. It's not like I actually just helped you all fix the one and only semi-legitimate complaint besides the almost decade old WMC not being included for free.

    Oh wait...
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