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Windows 8 has four editions, with varying feature sets.[1]

EditionsEdit

Windows 8
Windows 8 is the basic edition of Windows for the IA-32 and x64 architectures. Documentation obtained from the ImageX tool and Paul Thurrott's book on Windows 8 also refer to this edition as "Core".[2][3] This edition contains features aimed at the home market segment and provides all of the basic new Windows 8 features including the Start screen with semantic zoom, live tiles, Windows Store, Internet Explorer 10, connected standby, Microsoft account integration, the Windows desktop and more.
Windows 8 Pro
Windows 8 Pro is comparable to Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate[4][5] and is targeted towards enthusiasts and business users; it includes all the features of Windows 8. Additional features include the ability to receive Remote Desktop connections, the ability to participate in a Windows Server domain, Encrypting File System, Hyper-V, and Virtual Hard Disk Booting, Group Policy as well as BitLocker and BitLocker To Go. Windows Media Center functionality will be available only for Windows 8 Pro as a separate software package.[6]
Windows 8 Enterprise
Windows 8 Enterprise provides all the features in Windows 8 Pro (except the ability to install the Windows Media Center add-on), with additional features to assist with IT organization (see table below).[4] This edition is available to Software Assurance customers, as well as MSDN and Technet Professional subscribers, and was released on August 16, 2012.[7]
Windows RT
Windows RT is only available pre-installed on ARM-based devices such as tablet PCs.[8] It includes touch-optimized desktop versions of the basic set of Office 2013 applications to users—Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, and supports device encryption capabilities. Several business-focused features such as Group Policy and domain support are not included.
Windows RT only runs third-party WinRT software.[9] Desktop software that run on previous versions of Windows cannot be run on Windows RT.[10] According to CNET, these essential differences may raise the question of whether Windows RT is an edition of Windows: In a conversation with Mozilla, Microsoft deputy general counsel David Heiner was reported to have said Windows RT "isn't Windows anymore." Mozilla general counsel, however, dismissed the assertion on the basis that Windows RT has the same user interface, application programming interface and update mechanism.[9]

Unlike Windows Vista and Windows 7, there are no Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, or Ultimate editions.[11]

Regional restrictions and variationsEdit

All editions have the ability to use language packs, enabling multiple user interface languages.[5] (This functionality was previously only available in Windows 7 Ultimate or Enterprise.) However, in China and a small number of other emerging markets, an edition of Windows 8 without this capability will be offered.[4] In China (not including Hong Kong), a region-specific edition, Windows 8 for China, will be released, as confirmed by Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President.[12] It will be offered at relatively low price in an attempt to curb rampant software piracy in China. On emerging markets, a similar edition called Windows 8 Single Language (SL) was released as well.

Additional Windows 8 editions specially destined for European markets have the letter "N" suffixed to their names and do not include a bundled copy of Windows Media Player. Microsoft was required to create the "N" editions of Windows after the European Commission ruled in 2004 that it needed to provide a copy of Windows without Windows Media Player tied in.

Upgrade compatibilityEdit

The following in-place upgrade paths are supported from Windows 7.[4] Note that it is only possible to upgrade from an IA-32 version of Windows 7 to an IA-32 version of Windows 8; an x64 version of Windows 7 can only be upgraded to an x64 version of Windows 8. It is possible to upgrade Windows XP SP3 or Windows Vista to Windows 8 Pro. The retail package entitled Windows 8 Pro Upgrade is restricted to upgrading a computer with licensed Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista or Windows 7. Finally, there is no upgrade path for Windows RT, as it is the only version of Windows that currently supports the ARM architecture.[13]

Windows 8 upgrade path[14]
Windows 7 edition Can upgrade to
Windows RT?
Can upgrade to
Windows 8?
Can upgrade to
Windows 8 Pro?
Can upgrade to
Windows 8 Enterprise?
Enterprise No No No Yes
Ultimate Yes No
Professional Yes
Home Premium Yes No
Home Basic
Starter

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Comparison chartEdit

Comparison of Windows 8 editions[4][15]
Features Windows RT Windows 8 Windows 8 Pro Windows 8 Enterprise
Availability[16] Pre-installed on devices[8] Most channels Most channels Volume License customers
Architecture ARM (32-bit) IA-32 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit) IA-32 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit) IA-32 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit)
Maximum physical memory (RAM)[17] 4 GB[18] 128 GB on x64
4 GB on IA-32
512 GB on x64
4 GB on IA-32
512 GB on x64
4 GB on IA-32
Secure boot Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Picture password Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Start screen, Semantic Zoom, Live Tiles Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Touch and Thumb keyboard Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Language packs Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Updated File Explorer Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Standard appsTemplate:Efn Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
File History Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Refresh and reset of OS Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Play To Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Connected standby Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Windows Update Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Windows Defender Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Better multi-monitor support Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
New Windows Task Manager Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
ISO image and VHD mounting Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Mobile broadband features Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Microsoft account integration Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Internet Explorer 10 Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
SmartScreen Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Windows Store Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Xbox Live (including Xbox Live Arcade)[19][20] Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Exchange ActiveSync Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Snap Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Can connect to a VPN? Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Desktop Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Supported third-party apps[4][21] Template:Partial Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Remote Desktop Template:Partial Template:Partial Template:Yes Template:Yes
Storage Spaces Template:No Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Windows Media Player Template:No Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes
Device encryptionTemplate:Efn[22] Template:Yes Template:Yes2 Template:Yes2 Template:Yes2
BitLocker and EFS Template:No Template:No Template:Yes Template:Yes
Sideload Windows Store apps[15][23] Template:PartialTemplate:Efn Template:No Template:PartialTemplate:Efn Template:PartialTemplate:Efn
Boot from VHD Template:No Template:No Template:Yes Template:Yes
Can join a Windows domain? Template:No Template:No Template:Yes Template:Yes
Group Policy Template:No Template:No Template:Yes Template:Yes
Hyper-V[24] Template:No Template:No Template:Yes2 Template:Yes2
AppLockerTemplate:Efn Template:No Template:No Template:No Template:Yes
Windows To Go Template:No Template:No Template:No Template:Yes
DirectAccess Template:No Template:No Template:No Template:Yes
BranchCacheTemplate:Efn Template:No Template:No Template:No Template:Yes
Can be virtualized by RemoteFX? Template:No Template:No Template:No Template:Yes
Services for Network File System[25] Template:No Template:No Template:No Template:Yes
Subsystem for Unix-based Applications Template:No Template:No Template:No Template:Partial[26]
Windows Media Center Template:No Template:Yes2[6]Template:Efn Template:Yes2[6] Template:No
Microsoft Office apps bundled with OS Template:YesTemplate:Efn Template:No Template:No Template:No
Features Windows RT Windows 8 Windows 8 Pro Windows 8 Enterprise

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NotesEdit

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ReferencesEdit

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  12. Zac (10 April 2012) Windows 8 China edition confirmed by Microsoft employee? Winbeta.org. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
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