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.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Feature nameWindows 8Windows 8 ProWindows RT
Upgrades from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home PremiumxxRow 0 - Cell 3
Upgrades from Windows 7 Professional, UltimateRow 1 - Cell 1 xRow 1 - Cell 3
Start screen, Semantic Zoom, Live Tilesxxx
Windows Storexxx
Apps (Mail, Calendar, People, Messaging, Photos, SkyDrive, Reader, Music, Video)xxx
Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote)Row 5 - Cell 1 Row 5 - Cell 2 x
Internet Explorer 10xxx
Device encryptionRow 7 - Cell 1 Row 7 - Cell 2 x
Connected standbyxxx
Microsoft accountxxx
Installation of x86/64 and desktop softwarexxRow 11 - Cell 3
Updated Windows Explorerxxx
Windows Defenderxxx
Windows Updatexxx
Enhanced Task Managerxxx
Switch languages on the fly (Language Packs)xxx
Better multiple monitor supportxxx
Storage SpacesxxRow 19 - Cell 3
Windows Media PlayerxxRow 20 - Cell 3
Exchange ActiveSyncxxx
File historyxxx
ISO / VHD mountxxx
Mobile broadband featuresxxx
Picture passwordxxx
Play Toxxx
Remote Desktop (client)xxx
Reset and refresh your PCxxx
Touch and Thumb keyboardxxx
Trusted bootxxx
VPN clientxxx
BitLocker and BitLocker To GoRow 33 - Cell 1 xRow 33 - Cell 3
Boot from VHDRow 34 - Cell 1 xRow 34 - Cell 3
Client Hyper-VRow 35 - Cell 1 xRow 35 - Cell 3
Domain JoinRow 36 - Cell 1 xRow 36 - Cell 3
Encrypting File SystemRow 37 - Cell 1 xRow 37 - Cell 3
Group PolicyRow 38 - Cell 1 xRow 38 - Cell 3
Remote Desktop (host)Row 39 - Cell 1 xRow 39 - Cell 3
  • 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....
  • alvine
    Thank you Microsoft, I really didn't like the idea of having 8 versions of the OS
  • 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)
  • thefiend1
    Windows 8 professional shouldnt be set to use the "Metro" look by default. Because that would be, well, professional.
  • CaedenV
    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.
  • jblack
    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.
  • upgrade_1977
    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?
  • gmarsack
    I think the general consensus here is, stick with Windows 7... I know I will be.
  • jaber2
    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.
  • gsacks
    Unless you have a specific need to upgrade...don't.