As some of you know, Windows 8 comes in four editions: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Enterprise, and Windows 8 RT. While Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise are for traditional PCs, the other edition Windows 8 RT is designed for tablets that run on ARM chips.
Computer users who plan to install Windows 8 on a desktop or laptop need to choose an edition between just two: Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro.
If you are going to use your PC at home, it’s highly likely you want the Windows 8 edition. It’s the basic edition of Windows 8 (compared to Pro) but includes every feature present in Windows 8 Pro edition except BitLocker and BitLocker To Go, Group Policy, Domain Join, Client Hyper-V, Encrypting File System, and Remote Desktop (host).
So, if you are a home user and don’t need above mentioned advanced features, Windows 8 is the ideal edition for you. The only catch is that none of Windows 8 editions include Windows Media Center program by default and only Windows 8 Pro edition users will be able to purchase and install Media center add-on. That is, if you can’t live without Windows Media Center, you need the Pro edition to purchase and install the Media Center add-on. Users of Windows 8 edition can, of course, install third-party media center programs such as the XBMC.
The other edition, Windows 8 Pro is designed for tech enthusiasts and business/technical professional users. This edition includes all the features in Windows 8 plus some advanced features such as Client Hyper-V, Group Policy, and Domain Join.
And the best thing is that users running any edition of Windows 7 (Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional & Ultimate) can upgrade to Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro without losing files, installed programs, and Windows settings. While upgrading from XP and Vista are also supported, XP & Vista users won’t be able to bring along installed programs. You can check out our upgrading from XP, Vista, & Windows 7 to Windows 8 guide for more details on the upgrade options.
Check out the official chart detailing the key differences:
In simple words, go for Windows 8 edition if you are upgrading from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, or Home Premium edition, and chose Windows 8 Pro if you’re coming from Professional or Ultimate edition.