How to navigate between the different releases of the new Microsoft operating system and aim for the one that best suits your needs
Windows 10 is available in four editions: Home, Pro, Enterprise, and Education. Each is aimed at a specific audience and has functions that adapt to the needs of those who use the PC at home, small office, business or school. In addition to the specifications, the price and dynamics of the licenses also change. Let’s see in detail what is the best solution for each need, answering some of the most frequently asked questions.
Windows 10 Home
The Home version is aimed at those who use the PC at home and do not need particular management and development functions on local networks or intranets. It costs 135 euros including VAT and integrates all useful features to give you a complete experience for daily productivity: Continuum, Cortana, Windows Ink, support for touch controls and of course the Microsoft Edge browser. However, the administrative tools are kept to a minimum. Apart from Mobile Device Management and Windows Update, you will not find any mention of the Application or Environment Virtualization, nor the ability to manage Group Policies or connect remotely via integrated tools. In Windows 10 Home, you are also required to automatically download and install all updates that Microsoft releases, including the Creators Update.
Is Windows 10 Home safe?
Windows 10 Home is the least gifted in terms of data protection. While it supports Windows Hello and Hello Companion Device for authentication, BitLocker encryption is missing, as are Credential Guard and Device Guard. It is nothing to worry about. Just add these functions with third party programs. As for encryption, for example, just use VeraCrypt to create and lock down virtual volumes. On the other hand, the tools for development are totally absent. Support for Azure Active Directory Domain Join, Remote Desktop and Hyper-V Client is missing.
Can professionals use Windows 10 Home?
If you have a small office with a couple of workstations or are self-employed with only one PC, and you are not interested in the additional features of Windows 10 Pro, you can choose the Home version without problems. As mentioned, you will have to do without Remote Desktop and BitLocker encryption, just to name the most relevant tools, but the savings in economic terms are still considerable: 135 euros for the Home version against 279 for the Pro.
Windows 10 Pro
The professional version of Windows has everything needed to meet the needs of mid-sized offices and individual professional users. In addition to what has already been seen in Home, the management and administration part is supplemented by support for Group Policy and access to the Windows Store for Business. Then there is Dynamic Provisioning and Shared PC Configuration.
UNLIKE WINDOWS HOME, THE WINDOWS UPDATE FOR BUSINESS ALLOWS YOU TO POST UPDATES
To underline the exclusive use of Windows Update for Business which, unlike Home, provides for the selection of updates not to be installed on the spot, allowing for a possible postponement. For example, if you have already installed the Anniversary Update (1607), you can decide whether or not to switch to the Creators Update. In this way you preserve the stability of computers from additions that, at the time of official release, are not always optimized to increase performance. Finally, Windows 10 Pro integrates the Remote Desktop function, useful for working comfortably from home on the office PC.
Is Windows 10 Pro safer than Home?
As for security, we find just what is missing in Home: BitLocker, Device Encryption and Trusted Boot. Microsoft, considering the nature of the data stored in a device for professional use, wanted to strengthen the sector with tools that guarantee a good level of protection. Finally, we should mention the support for the use of domains, the Hyper-V Client, the Azure Active Directory Domain Join and the Enterprise Mode Internet Explorer (EMIE).
Windows 10 Enterprise
The Enterprise version of Windows aimed at companies is the most complete and powerful. The distinction is made between medium / large and small businesses, depending on whether you need more or less than 250 licenses. In both situations we are talking about Volume licensing: thanks to this particular form of purchase, you save on packaging and packaging costs, thus buying only the license to use. Along with volume licenses, in some cases you can also take advantage of Software Assurance, an offer that includes telephone support and product maintenance. Not only that, but it combines the addition of services provided by specific partners with training. IT managers have the security of never being left alone in the face of potential problems or incompatibilities. The main elements to consider when choosing a volume license are the size of the company, the type of products needed and the required use.
Are there any discounts or promotions for those who buy a lot of licenses?
For large companies with more than 250 seats that want to buy licenses for at least three years, Microsoft offers the Enterprise Agreement solution. In addition to the payment plans that can be divided into three annual installments, there is the possibility of reducing costs by 15 to 45%. Software Assurance we just talked about is already included in this formula.
Windows 10 Education
The offer reserved for schools is aimed at an area where there is a need to maximize productivity, while having advanced tools such as in an Enterprise context. Only Cortana is missing, because it is considered a more suitable tool on a personal level. For the rest, we find the same features of the release dedicated to large companies, with all the Microsoft arsenal in full force. Redmond sees schools as macro realities in which IT managers want to optimize delivery, but with a careful eye on costs. According to the needs of the academic complex, there are two dedicated licenses: subscription and perpetual. In the first case, these are renewable use concessions according to needs which may vary. In the second, however, we are talking about a purchase of rights to the software that goes beyond the time validity of the license. The plans are therefore customized and Microsoft itself recommends contacting its support to better define the offer.
Should teachers buy Windows 10 Education?
For students and professors, the purchase of the traditional Home and Pro versions is more suitable. On the Education Store the first is € 121.50 including VAT, while the second is € 251.10. Then there are the N releases without some multimedia features, which could weigh down a system to be exploited for training. For example, Windows Media Player and Camera, Music, Movie TV and Skype apps are not installed.
Windows 10 S
Launched in May 2017, Windows 10 S is a lightweight and low-cost version of Windows, also designed primarily for the education market. It can be installed on modest hardware, and has an important limitation that could, however, represent an advantage, especially if you are thinking of inexperienced and security-conscious users: only applications downloaded from the Windows Store can be installed, and no other software.
This makes the platform safer and less exposed to malware, but you cannot install all the normal Win32 programs available, and you can only connect peripherals that require software available on the Windows Store.
The first products it is sold with are low-cost notebooks, but it is certain that it will not be limited to these. In fact, it equips the Surface Laptop, Microsoft’s “premium” ultrabook with prices above 1,000 euros.
It is possible to upgrade a PC with Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro at a cost of $ 50 in the US (the price in Italy is not known at the moment).
Windows 10 at rock bottom prices
On the web, there are often offers concerning the various versions of Windows 10 at prices significantly lower than those expected by Microsoft. It is not a matter of savings of pennies, but of hundreds of euros. For example, it’s not difficult to find Windows 10 Home even at a tenth of the original cost. Sellers talk about ESD licenses, which stands for Electronic Software Delivery.
These licenses do not provide for the release of any physical media such as CDs or boxes, but only the activation key to be included in a copy of Windows. The problem, however, is whether it is legal to purchase and use licenses of that type.
There are two cases: it can be licenses reserved for particular uses (Microsoft Developers Network (MSDN) developers, professionals accredited in TechNet, volume licenses and more) that are sold outside the boundaries of lawful use, or used software licenses and abandoned by the company that had bought them.
In this second case, if the software has really been decommissioned and sold by a company capable of certifying this, the purchase and use – even within the company – are perfectly legal. We talk about it in more detail in this topic on buying used software for business use.
WIP4Biz: Windows Insider for Business
We learned to associate Windows Insider with the Windows 10 incubation stages. The platform has allowed anyone to get their hands on a working copy of the operating system. Created to help developers create an environment closer to users, the Insider program has split into Windows Insider for Business, also known as WIP4Biz (Windows Insider Program for Business).
In reality, these are not two different paths for individuals and professionals. Rather, it is a communication path created for the Business reality, which thus has a channel to get closer to insiders and the Microsoft development team. For Redmond, the contribution of the professional world in the growth of its system is fundamental. In fact, it allows to meet the needs of a market that sees an ever-increasing presence in other contenders.