Microsoft introduced Windows 10 Pro for Workstation, yesterday the latest variant of its operating system, something that extends a family that theoretically was going to have fewer members than the old editions of Windows.
It has not been like that, and this development has produced more editions than anyone could have imagined. Currently we have up to 12 different editions of Windows 10, so it is worth reviewing them all to find out what they offer.
Windows 10 by dozens
Although Microsoft has literally spent years talking about its ‘One Windows’ approach, in the end the people in charge of the firm have been launching different editions to adapt them to very specific scenarios and in which certain features were unnecessary and others were obligatory.
That has made the diversity of variants of Windows 10 is surprising, and in fact have exceeded the six editions of Windows 7 and the four editions of Windows 8 that, yes, had some additional versions for certain regional markets.
In the case of Windows 10, as we say, the appearance of more and more editions is being singular, and today we have nothing less than a dozen different versions, each with certain specific characteristics. These are its main features …
1. Windows 10 Home
It is the original basic edition aimed at desktops and laptops, tablets and convertibles, and includes all the features aimed at the conventional end user for this type of equipment.
It includes Cortana, the Microsoft Edge browser, tablet mode support and Windows Hello biometric technology. Various native applications are included such as Mail, Photos, Maps, Calendar or Music and Video, and we also have specific options for those users who enjoy games with the Game Bar as the protagonist.
2. Windows 10 Pro
As in the previous case, this edition is aimed at those same types of devices but apart from integrating everything that the Home version already has, several specific options for professionals and SMEs are added.
Among other improvements, there is support to join teams to a work domain, to have the support of group policy management or to be able to use Bitlocker technology and Remote Desktop. Updates are also more frequent and technologies such as Device Guard are applied, which allow companies to secure their devices against external threats in a more powerful way.
3. Windows 10 Enterprise
One step further, in the case of professional users, we have the Enterprise edition, which is aimed at larger companies and which, above all, adds capabilities in the protection of these business teams and the data that is handled in them.
This edition can only be accessed through the Microsoft Volume Licensing program, and among the most outstanding features is the so-called DirectAccess, which allows remote users to access an internal network through a system similar to a VPN. We also have AppLocker, which allows administrators to restrict certain applications on certain devices, something important for highly mobile workers.
4. Windows 10 Education
That name could confuse us, because although this edition is oriented effectively to educational environments, it is not for students, but for the templates that make up those academic organizations.
In fact, the base is Windows 10 Enterprise, so we also have technologies like AppLocker, Device Guard or DirectAccess, and as in that edition, access to this edition of Windows 10 is restricted to Microsoft’s volume licensing program. A singular difference with the previous versions: Cortana is disabled in this edition according to the compilation of Windows 10 used.
5. Windows 10 Pro Education
Small “advanced” edition of the previous one that was launched in July 2016 for hardware manufacturers that could enjoy special licenses for primary and secondary education in countries such as the United States or Australia (known as “K-12”).
The fundamental difference was the provisioning capacity offered through the “Set Up School PCs” application that allows installing the operating system and certain preferences common to an educational / academic environment through a USB drive. It does not include Cortana, nor the suggestions of the Windows store or Windows Spotlight.
6. Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB
Another specialized version, in this case directly derived from the Enterprise edition, and which differs from the latter in long-term support.
These editions with extended support plans are published every two or three years and the most interesting thing is that they guarantee 10 years of support with security updates after their launch, although later (intentionally) they do not receive security updates again. Some native Windows applications and the Windows Store application store are not included in this edition.
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7. Windows 10 Mobile
The edition of Windows 10 oriented to smartphones and small tablets is not having (for now) the success that was expected, but it is still one of the most striking variants of this operating system.
This edition includes all the options oriented to end users of these devices, including the Continuum technology or the mobile (and tactile) version of Office.
8. Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise
We also have a business variant for the Microsoft mobile platform, which, as was the case with the differentiation between the version for end users and business users of Windows 10 for desktop computers, comes with specific features for those business mobile users.
It is also obtained through volume licenses, and among the most important differences are the control and management of updates and the control of telemetry. The management of “fleets” of business devices and some improvements in security features are also among those differences.
9. Windows 10 IoT
The natural successor of what was once the Windows Embedded branch is designed for this new wave of solutions in the Internet of Things and in fact has three sub-editions: IoT Core, IoT Enterprise and IoT Mobile Enterprise.
We know well the first of these three sub-editions, especially for their support of the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3. The Enterprise version is more focused on integrated solutions in production companies of all kinds of products, and here Microsoft has long invited any developer to freely download these versions (which do not include a Windows 10 desktop as such) to work with them and with all kinds of IoT solutions.
10. Windows 10 S
One of the most controversial issues of this operating system has been Windows 10 S, the commitment to the cloud and the education of Microsoft to compete with the benefits of platforms such as Chrome OS.
The result is a variant of Windows 10 that restricts us the installation of applications to the Windows store and that with it looks for a greater security and control. Although the idea is interesting, the status of the Microsoft application store means that for the moment this edition has had a cold reception in the market.
11. Windows 10 Team
Microsoft launched its unique Surface Hub, smart TVs with a very special version of Windows 10 that was aimed at conference rooms. That version is an adaptation of Windows 10 Enterprise.
Among the differences is the use of a touch interface, the presence of a welcome screen that replaces the blocking screen as well as specialized applications such as the whiteboard or, of course, Skype for Business, as well as other adapted ones such as file explorer or the Configuration tool, with certain sections specific to this device.
12. Windows 10 Pro for Workstations
The last of the available editions of Windows 10 has been created for users of workstations and servers with more advanced and ambitious hardware specifications.
Among these improvements is the integration of a file system called Resilient File System (ReFS) specialized for large volumes of data, persistent memory support (NVDIMM-N modules), better transfers in shared folders with SMB Direct and support for hardware configurations specialized with Intel Xeon and AMD Opteron microphones with up to four CPUs (the limit was two previously) and up to 6 TB of memory (the limit was 2 TB).