Microsoft announced that a new version of Windows 10 made specifically for workstations, the aptly named "Windows 10 Pro for Workstations," will debut alongside the consumer-focused Fall Creators Update later this year. The company said this new iteration of Windows 10 Pro "comes with unique support for server grade PC hardware and is designed to meet demanding needs of mission critical and compute intensive workloads."
In its announcement, Microsoft said Windows 10 Pro for Workstations was designed for people "deploying their Workstation PCs in demanding and mission-critical scenarios." The company also made it clear that people have been asking for something like this for a while, especially via the Windows Insider Program, and it seems like the Fall Creators Update offered the perfect opportunity to answer to those requests.
So what separates Windows 10 Pro for Workstations from Windows 10 Pro? One key feature is ReFS, which is designed to offer "cloud-grade resiliency for data on fault-tolerant storage spaces." Other highlights include support for persistent memory via NVDIMM-N and faster file sharing through SMB Direct. All of these changes should make it easier for workstations to handle intense computing tasks and store critical data.
But the flagship change is Windows 10 Pro for Workstations' support for more powerful hardware. Microsoft said much of the feedback it received involved Windows 10's inability to take advantage of increasingly sophisticated and souped-up systems. That's why you'll now be able to use up to four CPUs and up to 6TB of memory, which is double and triple, respectively, what's supported in Windows 10 Pro right now.
Those expansions aren't the only changes Microsoft has made to allow Windows 10 Pro for Workstations to leverage powerful hardware:
Performance is a very important requirement in this new world of fast paced innovation and we will continue to invest on Windows 10 Pro for Workstations to enable Windows power users to maximize every aspect of their high-performance device. Windows 10 Pro for Workstations utilizes significant investments, that Windows has made in recent releases, for scaling up across a high number of logical processors and large amounts of memory. Our architectural changes in the Windows kernel take full advantage of high-end processors families, such as Intel Xeon or AMD Opteron, that package a high number of cores in single or multi-processor configurations.
Windows 10 Pro for Workstations is set to debut alongside the Fall Creators Update. We still don't have a release date for this update, but given the seasonal nature of its name, we don't think we'll have to wait much longer. Also, we can't help but appreciate the "business in the front, party in the back" approach Microsoft has taken here. Creators get what they want via the Fall Creators Update, and IT admins get what they want from Windows 10 Pro for Workstations. Microsoft has either purposely or accidentally stumbled upon the mullet of operating system releases.