Windows 8 Editions Announced

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Microsoft made a blog post announcing the editions on next version of Windows, namely Windows 8. Compare to Windows 7 Editions, Windows 8 offers fewer editions with a no-compromise experience.

First, Windows 8 is the official product name for both 32bit and 64bit version of Windows.

Second, there are only 2 editions for x86 processors, again both 32 and 64 bit), Windows 8  and Windows 8 Pro.

The 3rd edition, namely Windows RT, is the newest member of the Windows family, previous known as Windows on ARM, or WOA. It will only be available pre-installed on PCs and Tablets powered by ARM processors. What’s interesting is that it will include a touch-optimized desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. It’s the only edition that has Microsoft Office applications preloaded.

In a nutshell,

  • Windows 8 Pro has everything, except the touch-optimized next version of Office, and device encryption capability.
  • Windows 8 doesn’t have, in addition to Office and device encryption,
    • BitLocker and BitLocker To Go
    • Boot from VHD
    • Client Hyper-V
    • Domain Join
    • Encrypting File System (EFS)
    • Group Policy
    • Remote Desktop (host)
  • Windows RT doesn’t have, in adding to the list above under Windows 8,
    • Storage Spaces
    • Windows Media Player

In terms of upgrade path,

  • Windows 8 can be upgraded from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium but cannot be upgraded directly from Windows 7 Pro and Ultimate.
  • Windows 8 Pro can be upgraded from any Windows 7 editions.
  • Windows RT cannot be upgraded directly from any version of Windows 7.

Microsoft suggested that for most of the consumers, Windows 8 will probably be the right choice. See the detailed comparison chart below for more information.

Feature nameWindows 8Windows 8 ProWindows RT
Upgrades from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium

x

x

Upgrades from Windows 7 Professional, Ultimatex
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)x
Internet Explorer 10xxx
Device encryptionx
Connected standbyxxx
Microsoft accountxxx
Desktopxxx
Installation of x86/64 and desktop softwarexx
Updated Windows Explorerxxx
Windows Defenderxxx
SmartScreenxxx
Windows Updatexxx
Enhanced Task Managerxxx
Switch languages on the fly (Language Packs)xxx
Better multiple monitor supportxxx
Storage Spacesxx
Windows Media Playerxx
Exchange ActiveSyncxxx
File historyxxx
ISO / VHD mountxxx
Mobile broadband featuresxxx
Picture passwordxxx
Play Toxxx
Remote Desktop (client)xxx
Reset and refresh your PCxxx
Snapxxx
Touch and Thumb keyboardxxx
Trusted bootxxx
VPN clientxxx
BitLocker and BitLocker To Gox
Boot from VHDx
Client Hyper-Vx
Domain Joinx
Encrypting File Systemx
Group Policyx
Remote Desktop (host)x

Windows RT seems to be the answer to the tablet market but to be honest, with a native Office app, which is still on the desktop environment, I don’t see a sign of any tablet powered by this version of Windows 8 can make a dent on the hot tablet or Post-PC market.

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