Thursday, December 20, 2012

Compare versions of Windows 8 features

The below is a little information about the different versions of Windows 8. Microsoft did a little rebranding of the versions from Vista and 7. They attempted to make it easier to understand the versions from the names alone instead of 'Starter', 'Home Basic', 'Home Premium', 'Ultimate', etc.

If you already have Windows 8 installed you can find out your version by going to the control panel, then selecting 'System and Security' then 'System'. The screen and version is in Figure 1.

You can navigate to the control panel 3 ways:
  1. In the Windows 8 start screen, start typing 'Control Panel' then you will see the icon
  2. In Desktop mode (click the desktop icon in W8 view), move your cursor to the bottom left corner, then right click. You will see a Control Panel option to click
  3. Right click inside W8 start screen, select 'All Apps'. The Control Panel option will be available there
Figure 1 - The Windows version that is being run

Windows 8 
Windows 8 is the basic edition of Windows for the IA-32 and x64 architectures. Some people refer to this edition as 'Core' Windows. This edition contains features aimed at the home market segment and provides all of the basic new Windows 8 features.

Windows 8 Pro (or Windows 8 Pro with Media Center)
Windows 8 Pro is comparable to Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate and is targeted towards enthusiasts and business users; it includes all the features of Windows 8. Additional features include the ability to receive Remote Desktop connections, the ability to participate in a Windows Server domain, Encrypting File System, Hyper-V, and Virtual Hard Disk Booting, Group Policy as well as BitLocker and BitLocker To Go. Windows Media Center functionality will be available only for Windows 8 Pro as a separate software package.

Windows 8 Enterprise 
Windows 8 Enterprise provides all the features in Windows 8 Pro (except the ability to install the Windows Media Center add-on), with additional features to assist with IT organization (see table below). This edition is available to Software Assurance customers, as well as MSDN and Technet Professional subscribers, and was released on August 16, 2012.

Windows RT
Windows RT will only be available pre-installed on ARM-based devices such as tablet PCs. It will include touch-optimized desktop versions of the basic set of Office 2013 applications to users—Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, and support device encryption capabilities. Several business-focused features such as Group Policy and domain support are not included.

Comparison of Windows 8 editions
Features Windows RT Windows 8 Windows 8 Pro Windows 8 Enterprise
Availability Pre-installed on devices Most channels Most channels Volume License customers
Architecture ARM (32-bit) IA-32 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit) IA-32 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit) IA-32 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit)
Maximum physical memory (RAM) ? 4 GB on IA-32
128 GB on x64
4 GB on IA-32
512 GB on x64
4 GB on IA-32
512 GB on x64
Trusted boot Yes Yes Yes Yes
Picture password Yes Yes Yes Yes
Start screen, Semantic Zoom, Live Tiles Yes Yes Yes Yes
Touch and Thumb keyboard Yes Yes Yes Yes
Language packs Yes Yes Yes Yes
Updated File Explorer Yes Yes Yes Yes
Standard apps Yes Yes Yes Yes
File History Yes Yes Yes Yes
Refresh and reset of OS Yes Yes Yes Yes
Play To Yes Yes Yes Yes
Connected standby Yes Yes Yes Yes
Windows Update Yes Yes Yes Yes
Windows Defender Yes Yes Yes Yes
Better multi-monitor support Yes Yes Yes Yes
New Windows Task Manager Yes Yes Yes Yes
ISO image and VHD mounting Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mobile broadband features Yes Yes Yes Yes
Microsoft account integration Yes Yes Yes Yes
Internet Explorer 10 Yes Yes Yes Yes
SmartScreen Yes Yes Yes Yes
Windows Store Yes Yes Yes Yes
Xbox Live app (including Xbox Live Arcade) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Exchange ActiveSync Yes Yes Yes Yes
Snap Yes Yes Yes Yes
Can connect to a VPN? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Desktop Partial Yes Yes Yes
Supported third-party apps Windows Store apps only Windows Store and desktop Windows Store and desktop Windows Store and desktop
Remote Desktop Client only Client only Client and host Client and host
Storage Spaces No Yes Yes Yes
Windows Media Player No Yes Yes Yes
Encryption features Device encryption[b] Unavailable BitLocker and EFS BitLocker and EFS
Sideload Windows Store apps Partial[c] No Partial[c] Partial[c]
Boot from VHD No No Yes Yes
Can join a Windows domain? No No Yes Yes
Group Policy No No Yes Yes
Hyper-V No No On 64-bit versions only with SLAT capable CPU
AppLocker No No No Yes
Windows To Go No No No Yes
DirectAccess No No No Yes
BranchCache No No No Yes
Can be virtualized by RemoteFX? No No No Yes
Services for Network File System No No No Yes
Microsoft Office apps bundled with OS Yes No No No
Windows Media Center No No Via an add-in[25] No
Feature Windows RT Windows 8 Windows 8 Pro Windows 8 Enterprise 

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