The plethora of Windows 10 versions is undeniably daunting, especially that you’re looking to get your computer up and running stat. This has been common with Microsoft recently as their Windows releases get more confusing. With over three main editions and four other editions that rely mainly on use and purpose, we’re not surprised how and why you’re probably lost in getting yourself the correct operating system. Before you jump ship and opt for a Mac instead, here’s a quick summary of the differences between the three main Windows 10 editions, along with a quick pass on the four others.
The Battle of The OS Versions
To cut it short and kill most of your skepticism, all of them work the same, but higher versions of Windows 10 only allow for better control for things related to networking, developing, or coding. Let’s start off the list with the simplest one.
Microsoft Windows 10 Home
This Windows 10 version is the one you get pre-installed in laptops or if you have upgraded from Windows 8. This version boasts all the new things Windows 10 has to offer- from Microsoft Edge (Microsoft’s browser and competitor to Google Chrome), Continuum, Cortana (the Siri for your PC), virtual desktop support, the new Windows Start Menu, fingerprint, and facial recognition, among other things.
Some features you can’t find in it would be a group policy editor, the ability to join a Microsoft domain network, Remote Desktop, Client Hyper-V, BitLocker, and Enterprise Mode IE. If you’re going to use the computer for personal use, I doubt you’d be needed to access programs such as these.
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro
You’d usually find a Windows 10 Pro edition installed on office computers, as they would all be interconnected by a Windows Server domain. Added to the features of Windows 10 Home would be BitLocker Encryption, Remote Desktop, Azure for joining an Active Directory, Windows Update for Business (extra layer of security among other features), Enterprise Data Protection, and Group Policy Management.
Most of the applications and features added would only be necessary if you’re running several PCs in one cluster and, most importantly, if you’re using them for work.
Microsoft Windows 10 Enterprise
This is the most expensive version of the three, as Enterprise offers the same features as that of Windows 10 Pro, but it adds Windows To Go Creator, Direct Access, BranchCache, Start Screen control with Group Policy, AppLocker, Device Guard, Long Term Servicing Branch, and Credential Guard.
It’s a version of the OS more fit for use inside big corporations that would usually have a server computer commandeering fleets among fleets of PCs inside a building.
So that’s three, where’s the other four?
With all that being said, we believe it’s clear as to why there are three main versions, and it all entails mostly business purposes. But we had also promised to reveal four more versions that are different given the specificity of their use, so let’s check them out too.
Windows 10 Education
Commonly found in schools, this edition of Windows 10 is basically a tweaked version of Windows 10 Enterprise but is targeted to schools, universities, and other educational institutions. To cut to the chase, it basically has the same functionalities as that of Windows 10 Enterprise – only that it’s rebranded but also given some tweaks to make it “education-friendly” (one of which is Cortana’s departure).
Windows 10 Mobile
You can find this firmware installed on tablets and smartphones designed by Microsoft, as here is where Continuum comes into play – offering seamlessness between the phone and PC. Aside from that, typical Microsoft Windows 10 offerings are also available.
The Suffixes “VL”, “N”, and “KN”
These indicators offer very straightforward meanings, but we do get the looming skepticism about the letters. You can put out all the conspiracy theories you want, but here’s what they really mean:
First off is the “VL” found at the end of some Windows 10 Enterprise editions. It only means to say that the PC is currently running on a “Volume License”, which means that there’s only one key used to activate all installations of Windows 10 in all computers of a given enterprise or corporation.
Up next is “N”, a Windows 10 edition you can find in Europe and Switzerland as it’s meant to comply with European law. It basically means “Not With Media Player”, as a looming data privacy act inhibits the OS to have a pre-installed Windows Media Player, Skype, Music, Video, and even the Voice Recorder.
The same can be said for its Korean counterpart “KN”, as Korean laws also state that the media player and other pre-installed media devices are not allowed to come alongside the installation of the Operating System.
We do hope this clarifies everything you’ve been wondering about the different Microsoft Windows 10 versions and editions. If you want a more concise take on all the differences and so that you can easily identify what’s to come and what’s not to come, here’s a comparison chart for you to peruse. Microsoft also dedicates a support page for this confusing tidbit, so you may also want to check it out.