Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Home

Windows 10 is the most advanced and secure Windows operating system to date with its universal, customized apps, features, and advanced security options for desktops, laptops, and tablets. New editions and automatic updates for your favorite apps and features make it easy to be more efficient and relax knowing your device is secure. In short, Windows 10 is a game changer.

If you’re planning to upgrade to Windows 10, you might be wondering which edition is right for you. The answer depends on your goals. Do you need just the basics for everyday use? Or are you looking for something more robust? While the editions might seem similar, there are distinct differences.

When upgrading to a new Windows 10 edition, there are several things you should ask yourself, such as:

  • Are you going to use your device primarily for entertainment and common tasks?
  • Are productivity features like Sticky Notes and Microsoft Office important?
  • Will you use your device for business?
  • What security features do you need?

Let’s explore some common scenarios to help you choose the best Windows 10 edition for your needs.

Windows 10 Home: The everyday user

Windows 10 Home

If you use your device for tasks like browsing the internet, paying bills, checking email, or streaming, Windows 10 Home might be right for you.

Windows 10 Home has an extensive collection of universal apps and features that you can use across platforms with a Microsoft account on a Windows-compatible device. Plus, the apps and features your family uses most come with built-in security. Windows 10 Home includes widely used entertainment, productivity, and security apps and features. Let’s review the most popular ones so that you can evaluate them for your needs.

Entertainment

Windows 10 Home features internet protection to guard against potentially dangerous apps or websites when streaming movies or playing games. Parental controls also provide an extra layer of protection to manage your children’s screen time and restrict access to adult content when using a Microsoft account.

Productivity

Home edition includes all the familiar tools, such as Microsoft Edge, Mail, Cortana personal assistant, the familiar Windows Start Menu, digital pen and touch, and the ability to download non-Microsoft Store apps.

If you want to use Microsoft Store for Business, which allows a business to find, manage, and distribute apps to multiple devices, try Windows 10 Pro.

Security

Windows 10 Home includes built-in security with Windows Hello that lets you sign in to your device using facial recognition or your fingerprint. It also includes Windows Security Center, which protects your device and automatically scans for viruses. That way, you can keep your device updated to ensure it's always protected from threats.

If you’re looking for business features such as Windows Update for Business, BitLocker device Encryption, or Enterprise Data Protection, try Windows 10 Pro.

Requirements

If you’re upgrading from an earlier version of Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, there are some basic requirements that you’ll need to upgrade to Windows 10.

Windows 10 Home has the following system requirements:

  • 1 GHz or faster compatible processor
  • 1 GB RAM for 32-bit; 2 GB for 64-bit
  • Up to 20 GB available hard disk space
  • Video card: 800 x 600 screen resolution or higher. DirectX® 9-compatible graphics processor with WDDM driver
  • Internet access

Note: You’ll need to create a Microsoft account (MSA) to use some features in Windows 10.

Windows 10 Pro: The small business owner

Windows 10 Pro

Windows 10 Pro is ideal for small business owners or people who need enhanced security and functionality. It’s a good choice for small- to medium- sized businesses with little or no technical support who want to protect their data and have remote access and control of devices.

Consider whether you need the following features, such as:

  • Cloud security support
  • Enhanced productivity features and apps
  • Remote access to a device
  • Extra data control protection
  • Ability to connect to a corporate or school network

If you do, Windows 10 Pro might be the best choice for you. Windows 10 Pro offers enhanced security protection and device management for companies with limited or no IT department. Let’s explore some of the features.

Flexible management

Windows 10 Pro has all the features of Windows 10 Home and more device management options. You’ll be able to manage devices that have Windows 10 using online or on-site device management services.. Manage your company’s devices with the Pro edition over the internet and across Microsoft services. If you need a dedicated device, like a kiosk, you can lock specific apps for increased productivity and security once you set up a Shared Device.

If you need to access your files, documents, and programs remotely, install Windows 10 Pro on your device. Once you’ve set it up, you’ll be able to connect to it using Remote Desktop from another Windows 10 PC.

As a note, Windows 10 Pro allows you to use the cloud to manage user experiences and automatically upgrade all your company’s devices from one version of Windows 10 to another.

Security

Windows 10 Pro features enhanced built-in security that protects your business data. Prevent unwanted access to the computer long before sign-in when you use BitLocker or BitLocker to go. Use Windows Hello for Business to sign in to Windows, Office, and other Microsoft services without a password.

If you set up a local intranet for your business, you and your employees need Windows 10 Pro edition to access your secure network. Only authorized users will be able to sign in and you’ll protect any sensitive files that your business has.

Requirements

Windows 10 Pro has the following system requirements:

  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) processor or faster
  • Up to 20 gigabytes (GB) of available hard disk space
  • 1 GB of RAM for 32-bit, 2 GB for 64-bit
  • Required video card: 800 x 600 screen resolution or higher. DirectX® 9-compatible graphics processor with WDDM driver
  • Internet access

Note: You’ll need to create a Microsoft account (MSA) to use some features in Windows 10.

Windows 10 Home vs. Pro at a glance

 

1. Windows Fundamentals:

Table comparing Windows 10 Home and Pro fundamentals

 

2. Windows Security:

Table comparing security features of Windows 10 Home and Pro editions

 

3. Business Management and Deployment:

Table displaying business management and deployment features

Windows 10 in S mode

If you’re looking to make your Windows experience simpler and more secure, consider getting a device with Windows 10 in S mode. Windows 10 in S mode is a collection of curated features and settings that streamline the Windows experience. To increase security, allows only apps from the Microsoft Store and requires Microsoft Edge for safe browsing.

Not all Windows devices offer S mode. When looking to buy a new device, ask the manufacturer, your retailer, or check the device specifications to see if the device you want includes S mode. Windows 10 in S mode is available for Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro editions, so be sure to pick the edition that fits your needs best.

Features for Windows 10 in S mode include quick startup, built-in security software updates, Microsoft verified applications, and integrated protection against phishing and malware. To increase security, S mode allows only apps from the Microsoft Store which prevents unwanted programs from installing on your device. S mode also requires you to use Microsoft Edge to ensure a safe browsing experience.

If you need to install an app that isn't available in the Microsoft Store, you can always switch out of S mode. There’s no charge to do so. However, if you choose to switch, you won’t be able to go back to Windows 10 in S mode.

How to determine if your device can run the latest version of Windows 10

Before upgrading to Windows 10, determine which edition and version your device is running to ensure the upgrade will work with your device. The edition is the type of Windows (Home or Pro) and the version is the latest update of that edition.

To find out which version of Windows your device is running, select Start, Settings > Systems and click About.

Under Device specifications, System type shows what version of Windows your device is running. It also specifies whether this version is 32-bit or 64-bit.

Under Windows specifications, you can see the edition and version running on your Windows device.

Security status, device specifications, and Windows specifications

Other things to consider when upgrading your device:

  • Does your device have the required hardware for a successful upgrade? Check your device settings to verify that your device meets the requirements for an upgrade.
  • Is your device backed up? We strongly recommended that you back up your device before you upgrade. Backing up your device ensures you don’t lose any data when you upgrade.
  • Are your drivers compatible? To avoid incompatibility issues, make sure you have the most recent versions of your required drivers. Go to your device’s manufacturer website and search for Windows 10 drivers. Consider storing driver updates on external storage in case there are issues after you upgrade.
  • Do you have enough hard drive storage? Make sure your hard drive storage is adequate for your upgrade. Not having enough space can prevent your device from installing Windows 10. Specific hard drive storage requirements depend on the edition of Windows 10 you choose.

How to upgrade to Windows 10

You can get Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro by upgrading your current device or buying a Windows 10 device. If you use Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, you can upgrade to Windows 10. However, your device performance might be slower due to age, condition, or technical issues. Please refer to the frequently asked upgrade questions before upgrading to Windows 10.

Note: If you upgrade to a Windows 10 Pro and decide you want Windows 10 Home instead, you’ll need to do a clean install.

Deciding which Windows 10 edition is right for you can be intimidating, but comparing different features and apps can help find a solution that suits your needs. Ask yourself about how you use your device to determine if Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro is right for your personal and business needs.

Whichever edition you choose, feel confident knowing that you’re running the most powerful and secure Windows operating system to date.

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