aNewDomain.net – With the release of Windows 8, many home users are again confronted with different versions of the operating system. While there are fewer versions of Windows 8 than there were in previous releases, the decision between Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro can still seem confusing.
Part of this confusion lies in the naming. The standard, or “home” version of Windows 8 carries no identifying tag for the version. It is, simply, Windows 8. Microsoft has spent years conditioning people to purchase the correct version of the product. Changing this naming convention has created some confusion. Home users are looking for a Windows 8 Home version, which doesn’t exist.
While there are a large number of differences between Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro, here are the four most important for home users. This list will help you decide which version is right for you.
Remote Desktop Host – Windows 8 does not allow you to use your computer as a host computer for Remote Desktop, sometimes referred to as Terminal Services or RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol). While this is not a feature most users would be interested in, I’ve known a number of home users who use this function in simple networking environments.
Encryption – Windows 8 Pro has some integrated encryption features that save you from using third-party products. Not a deal-breaker for most users, but the convenience of using Bitlocker drive encryption is valuable to some. You’re not going to get Bitlocker with Windows 8.
Active Directory Domain –The use of Domains is almost exclusive to workplace environments, but it’s still important to note that Windows 8 doesn’t allow you to connect. If you’re buying an off-the-shelf computer that you’ll be bringing to work, check with the IT department to see if part of its set up involves Active Directory. If it does, you’ll need Windows 8 Pro.
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RAM Limitations – Windows 8 limits you to 128GB of RAM while Windows 8 Pro lets you go up to 512GB. While these amounts are massive now, Windows 8 computers will be in place for a while. If you’re a home user who doesn’t like to buy a new version of the operating system every few years, you might want to spring for Windows 8 Pro as insurance that your new computer will be able to use all the RAM you’d ever want.
Windows 8 Pro adds about $50 to the cost of a computer and roughly the same amount to an OEM/System Builder copy.