Differences between Windows 10 Professional, Home, Enterprise, & Education versions

Each generation of Windows systems always divided into multiple versions for different markets as per their functional characteristics and Windows 10 is no different. Microsoft offers four major versions for Windows 10 with different features.

At present, Windows 10 is divided into seven versions. The most common ones are Home Edition, Professional Edition, Education Edition, and Enterprise Edition. Their prices and functions are also different. As an ordinary consumer, facing so many versions, know which one should you go for?

Differences between Windows 10 Professional, Home, Enterprise, and Education versions

Differences between Windows 10 Professional, Home, Enterprise, and Education versions 2

Prior to Windows 10, Microsoft had never launched an educational version, a version designed for large academic institutions with security, management, and connectivity features in the enterprise edition.

In addition to the differences in update options, Windows 10 Education is no different than Windows Enterprise.

Windows 10 Enterprise Edition has one more feature – the long term servicing branch. This long term servicing branch allows the system to only update security patches without updating functional patches. In other words, Windows 10 Enterprise can choose to fix only security patches, and new versions of IE or Edge browsers will not be updated. So from this point of view, Windows 10 Education Edition and Enterprise Edition are not fundamentally different and are the most powerful version.

Windows 10 Home Edition

Windows 10 Home Edition is the most popular version for regular users, and almost all PCs come pre-installed with Windows 10 Home Edition. This version has all the core features of Windows, such as Edge browser, Cortana Nana voice assistant, virtual desktop, Microsoft Windows Hello, iris, fingerprint login, Xbox One streaming game. Support PC, tablet, laptop, two-in-one computer and other uses.

Of course, in order to improve system security, the home version of the user can not make their own judgments on the patch from Windows Update, and can only receive all the updates. The system will automatically install any security patches and no longer ask the user.

The Home Edition also includes a feature called “Continuum” for tablets that provides users with a simplified taskbar and start menu, and the app will run in full-screen mode. In addition, there will be a return button on the taskbar, the entire interface is optimized for touch operation, the start menu will enter full-screen mode. This feature provides a seamless transition between desktop and tablet devices.

Microsoft Windows Hello is a smart feature that allows Windows 10 users to use their faces to log in to their devices. However, this feature is currently only available in new device configurations with depth-sensing cameras, or users have purchased the Intel RealSense Developer Kit.

Windows 10 Professional

Windows 10 Professional is mainly for computer technology enthusiasts and enterprise technicians. In addition to the application store included in Windows 10 Home Edition, Edge Browser, Xiaona Assistant, Windows Hello, etc., it mainly adds some security and office functions… For example, allowing users to manage devices and applications, protecting sensitive corporate data, supporting remote and mobile productivity scenarios, cloud technology support, and more. A range of Windows 10 enhanced technologies are also built in. It mainly includes group policy, BitLocker drive encryption, remote access service, and domain name connection.

BitLocker is an encryption software that comes with Windows. Microsoft started from the era of the Vista system and until now Windows 10 system. BitLocker uses TPM (Trusted Platform Module Technology) to help in protecting the Windows operating system and user data and helps ensure that computers are not tampered with even if they are unattended, lost or stolen. BitLocker can also be used without a TPM.

To use BitLocker on a computer without using a TPM, you must either change the default behaviour of the BitLocker Setup Wizard by using Group Policy or configure BitLocker by using a script. When using BitLocker instead of TPM, the required encryption key is stored on the USB flash drive and must be provided to unlock the data stored on the volume.

Group Policy is the primary editing tool for administrators to define and control the hierarchy, network resources, and operating system behaviour for users and computers. Various software, computer, and user policies can be set up by using Group Policy. For example, set the shutdown time, adjust the network speed limit, block access to the command prompt, and so on.

Windows 10 Enterprise Edition

Windows 10 Enterprise Edition is a version for enterprise users. Compared to the home version, the Enterprise Edition provides powerful features designed for enterprise users, such as Direct Access that can be connected without a VPN, AppLocker that supports whitelisting applications, and peer-to-peer Connect to BranchCache with Group PC Control and download and update with other PCs.

Granular UX Control allows IT managers to customize and lock down the user experience of specific Windows devices through device management policies to better perform specific tasks.

As for Credential Guard and Device Guard, it is used to protect Windows login credentials and to limit the applications that a particular PC can run.

The Long Term Servicing Branch option allows the PC to receive only security updates and ignore other forms of updates. This feature is especially useful for PCs that need to work long hours and do not want to be affected by new features.

Windows 10 Enterprise Edition will also have Windows Update for Business, but a new service called Long Term Servicing Branches allows companies to reject functional upgrades and only get security-related upgrades.

More importantly, users can’t upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise Edition for free. This version will only be released through the VOL (Volume channel license) channel, which cannot be purchased directly by ordinary consumers. This Volume channel license can only be purchased by the organizations in bulk, further, these are not-transferable and non-retail license.

Windows 10 Versions Comparision table

Comparison of Windows 10 editions
Features Home Pro Education Enterprise
Architecture IA-32, x86-64
Availability OEM, OEM, Volume licensing Volume licensing
Retail Retail,
Volume licensing
N or KN support Yes Yes Yes Yes
Maximum physical memory (RAM) supported by Windows 10 4 GB on 32-bit systems 4 GB for 32-bit systems
128 GB on x86-64 (64-bit) 2 TB (2048 GB) on x86-64 (64-bit)
Continuum Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cortana Artificial assistant Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hardware device encryption Yes Yes Yes Yes
Microsoft Edge Yes Yes Yes Yes
Multiple language pack support Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mobile device management Yes Yes Yes Yes
Side-loading of  business apps Yes Yes Yes Yes
Virtual desktops Yes Yes Yes Yes
Windows Hello Yes Yes Yes Yes
Windows Spotlight Yes Yes Yes Yes
Remote Desktop Client only Client and host Client and host Client and host
Remote App Client only Client only Client and host Client and host
Windows Subsystem for Linux 64-bit SKUs only, 64-bit SKUs only, 64-bit SKUs only, 64-bit SKUs only,
Hyper-V No 64-bit SKUs only 64-bit SKUs only 64-bit SKUs only
Assigned Access 8.1 No Yes Yes Yes
BitLocker No Yes Yes Yes
Business Store No Yes Yes Yes
Conditional Access No Yes Yes Yes
Can switch to CBB (defer updates)? No Yes Yes Yes
Device Guard No Yes Yes Yes
Enterprise data protection No Yes Yes Yes
Enterprise Mode Internet Explorer (EMIE) No Yes Yes Yes
Joining a domain and Group Policy management No Yes Yes Yes
Microsoft Azure Active Directory support No Yes Yes Yes
Private catalogue No Yes Yes Yes
Windows Analytics No Yes Yes Yes
Windows Information Protection No Yes Yes Yes
Windows Update for Business No Yes Yes Yes
Windows To Go No Yes Yes Yes
AppLocker No No Yes Yes
BranchCache No No Yes Yes
Credential Guard (Pass the hash mitigations) No No Yes Yes
DirectAccess No No Yes Yes
Microsoft App-V No No Yes Yes
Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) No No Yes Yes
Microsoft UE-V No No Yes Yes
Start screen control with Group Policy No No Yes Yes
User experience control and lockdown No No Yes Yes
Unified Write Filter (UWF) No No Yes Yes
LTSC servicing option available No No No Yes

Which Windows version is good for you?

As an ordinary consumer, the most easily available version is Windows 10 Home and Professional. Basic usage computer users for games, audio and video, entertainment,  can choose the Windows Home. Computer heavy users, technology enthusiasts and enterprise technicians can choose the professional version.