Windows 8 has been out for a while now but people are still bewildered by this OS. There are even reports coming out that even though there are plenty of people who purchased the new version of the beloved operating system, few people might actually be activating it.

The main reason for this is probably consumer confusion. Windows 8 is drastically different from Windows 7, especially with its mobile component.

What’s not helping is that there are also quite a few versions of the OS out there.

So what are these different versions of Windows 8 and what is the one most suited for you?

Windows 8

This is the home version of Windows 8 or the most basic version of the OS. This is for your computers running on x86 Intel and AMD. Paul Thurrott’s book on Windows 8 also calls this as the “Core.” As the basic version, this OS is to be marketed to casual users for their home PCs. With this version, you can use BitLocker to encrypt your disk, join a domain, and combine multiple hard drives in one storage pool. You can even mount VHD and ISO Images like they were hard drives, but, of course, you cannot boot up from a VHD file.

You can also access your computer remotely though the OS. Consequently, you can also access your work computer from a Windows 8 system through VPN or remote desktop. One thing that is missing is Windows Media Center, which will only be available to Windows 8 Pro.

Windows 8 Pro

You can consider this as the equivalent of Windows 7 Professional. This version of Windows 8 is also for x86 Intel and AMD computers but instead of the casual fans, this is aimed more towards enthusiasts and business users. It allows you to do all the same things you can do under the Windows 8 version and more. Aside from the core features, you can also participate in a Windows server domain, encrypt file systems, and do a virtual hard disk boot.

This is also the version for fans of Windows Media Center, which will come as an economical media pack add-on exclusively for Windows 8 Pro.

Windows 8 Enterprise

This version allows you to do almost anything you can do on Windows 8 Pro except for the ability to install the Windows Media Center add-on. Aside from that, the thing that separates it from the Pro version is that it is more suited for assisting IT organizations.

Windows 8 RT

You can’t really choose RT but you can choose a device that runs on RT. This Windows 8 version is designed for mobile devices that run on the  more energy efficient ARM processors. The most famous device using this version is, of course, the first Microsoft Surface. Like the previous versions, this one also has the same start screen. The main difference, however, is that it cannot run legacy apps that are found on standard PCs. From games, to RingCentral VoIP services, and even Microsoft Office products, this version will only run mobile apps that are optimized for the ARM processor. Microsoft Surface RT, however, does come pre-installed with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote that are ARM specific.

Now that you have a general idea about the differences of the various Windows 8 iterations, which do you think is right one for you?

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  • artfudd

    In fact Windows 8 Pro is for both x86 and x64 Intel and AMD computers.