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Windows 10 Education vs. Pro: What’s the Difference?

Windows 10 logo on a laptop screen

Windows 10 Education vs. Pro: What’s the Difference?

Finding the right Windows program for your computer can be challenging if you’re a working student. If you like Windows 10 and don’t want to upgrade to Windows 11 yet, your options often come down to Windows 10 Education and Windows 10 Pro.

What is the difference between these versions, and which is right for you? Find out in this in-depth comparison. Let’s dive right in!

Windows 10 Education vs. Pro: Side-by-Side Comparison

Windows 10 EducationWindows 10 Pro
Best for…Schools, educators, and studentsProfessionals
Cortana Enabled?NoYes
Remote Desktop?NoYes
AppLocker?YesNo
BranchCache?YesNo
Security Features42
PriceAround $15Around $200
Great for Professionals
Microsoft OEM System Builder | AMD, Windоws 10 Pro
$149.99
  • Upgradeable to Windows 11
  • DVD format
  • Must be installed on a new PC with no prior version of Windows installed and cannot be transferred to another machine
  • Activation key is located under the scratch-off area on label
  • 64-bit
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/17/2024 05:31 pm GMT

Windows 10 Education vs. Pro: What’s the Difference?

Released in 2015, Windows 10 is one of the most popular Windows versions in use. Microsoft discontinued the OS in 2021 after the launch of Windows 11. However, you can still find it preinstalled on numerous laptops and desktop computers.

If you need a new license for a computer without a preinstalled operating system, you can purchase Windows 10 licenses from most computer stores and online marketplaces, including Amazon, but these editions will stop receiving security upgrades after the end of support on October 14, 2025. With this in mind, you might wonder which Windows 10 edition is right for you.

Let’s break down the most important differences between Windows 10 Education and Windows 10 Pro so you can decide which edition to buy.

Purpose

The main difference between Windows 10 Education and Windows 10 Pro is each version’s purpose. Microsoft developed the Education edition specifically for K-12 schools, students, and teachers. This operating system includes features developed exclusively for education use and that you can’t find on any other Windows 10 edition.

Some exclusive options include app limitations and restrictions. Schools or teachers can use the AppLocker feature to prevent students from accessing unapproved apps. You can also limit the navigation options for certain types of users (e.g., restrict student access to certain websites).

On this version, Microsoft also deactivates Windows tips and tricks and removes Cortana (you can enable it from the Settings panel).

Windows 10 Pro is an enhanced version of Windows 10 Home. While this edition includes some features suited for educational purposes, the software focuses mostly on productivity. Cortana integration is a big part of the Windows 10 Pro, the virtual assistant helping professionals with tips, tricks, and quick answers to common questions.

Other unique features designed for professionals include the Client Hyper-V, which is a virtualization solution that allows you to connect to a Windows domain and run multiple operating systems as virtual machines on Windows. The Pro edition also includes remote desktop connectivity for group projects and file sharing, an enterprise mode for the Internet Explorer browser, and group policy management.

Security Features

Aside from different purposes, the two Windows editions are also different when it comes to security. The Education edition includes Microsoft Passport, Windows Information Protection, Credential Guard, and Device Guard security.

Windows 10 Education shares the first two with the Windows 10 Pro, but Credential Guard and Device Guard are unique to the Education and Enterprise editions.

The former is a virtualization-based isolation technology that Microsoft developed for its Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (LSASS). In a nutshell, this technology keeps access credentials secure and prevents unauthorized access to apps and parts of the system.

The Device Guard feature uses code integrity policies and application whitelisting to protect users from malware that could compromise the operating system.

Windows 10 Pro retail packaging on a table
The choice of Windows 10 Education and Windows 10 Pro comes down to your software needs.

Availability

Another crucial difference between the two Windows editions is their availability. Windows 10 Pro comes in retail, OEM, and volume licenses. The retail license is the most common type that you can buy in stores or online and install on a computer that doesn’t have an operating system preinstalled. You can also use it to upgrade your OS from a previous Windows version.

You can only assign a retail license to one computer at a time, but you can transfer it to another computer and activate it again if you change devices. Transferring the license automatically deactivates it on the old computer.

While you can buy a retail license in most stores, their use is not very common. Today, most computers have an OEM license preinstalled. OEM licenses come preactivated on a specific device, meaning that you can’t transfer them to another computer. However, you might be able to recover an OEM license key from its computer partition and install the Windows copy again on the same device after formatting it.

Volume licenses allow large companies and enterprises to share a Windows 10 Pro copy with their employees and collaborators. These licenses can have one or various keys that you can use on a determined number of devices. Once you have reached the volume limit, the key will stop working (it won’t activate the Windows copy anymore).

Windows 10 Education is not as readily available. K-12 customers and other educational institutions can buy a volume license to share with their teachers and students. Teachers might also be able to purchase their own volume licenses, but as a student, you can only get a copy from your teacher or school. Alternatively, you can find Windows 10 Education preinstalled on laptops and desktop PCs designed specifically for schools.

Price

When it comes to costs, students using Windows 10 Education are typically the most advantaged. Most schools offer this edition for free to their students (as a student, you can’t purchase a retail license of this edition anyway). Teachers can purchase a Windows 10 Education license for about $15 if their school doesn’t offer it.

Windows 10 Pro is “free” if it comes preinstalled on a device — even though the license price is included in the computer’s cost. A retail license costs around $200 and you could pay much more for a volume license.

Windows 10 Education vs. Pro: 5 Must-Know Facts

  • Windows 10 Education is developed specifically for schools, teachers, and students. This edition can only be purchased with a volume license.
  • The Education edition of Windows 10 is based on Windows 10 Enterprise. The two variants share all security features.
  • Windows 10 Pro is an edition developed specifically for professionals. It is based on Windows 10 Home and includes unique features designed to boost productivity.
  • The Pro edition of the Windows 10 has fewer security features than Windows 10 Education.
  • Windows 10 Pro can be purchased in retail or volume licenses, or it comes preinstalled on laptops and desktop PCs designed for professionals.
Great for Professionals
Microsoft OEM System Builder | AMD, Windоws 10 Pro
$149.99
  • Upgradeable to Windows 11
  • DVD format
  • Must be installed on a new PC with no prior version of Windows installed and cannot be transferred to another machine
  • Activation key is located under the scratch-off area on label
  • 64-bit
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/17/2024 05:31 pm GMT

Windows 10 Education vs. Pro: Which One Should You Use?

Choosing between Windows 10 Education and Pro comes down to your needs. The Education edition is specifically tailored for educational institutions, teachers, and students. Educators can share this edition with their students to limit their access to certain apps and websites.

However, if you are a student and your school doesn’t offer the Windows 10 Education edition, you might have to settle for Windows 10 Home or Pro.

Windows 10 Pro is the better choice if you’re both a professional and a part-time student. The unique productivity features found in this edition can help you manage both your workload and class assignments without worrying about restrictions. As for any apps unapproved by your teachers, you can simply avoid using them for schoolwork.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Windows 10 Education free for students?

Windows 1o Education is free for students if it is offered by their school. This edition is available in volume licenses that can only be purchased by K-12 customers, other educational institutions, and teachers.

Can I use Windows 10 Education at home?

Yes, you can use Windows 10 Education at home, as long as you received the license from your school or teacher. You can also use this Windows edition for work purposes, but you could encounter disruptions due to access limitations and enhanced security features.

Is Windows 10 Education good for gaming?

Windows 10 Education is not suitable for gaming. The system’s education features typically prevent video games from installing correctly, and you might not be able to access cloud gaming from your browser.

Can I get Windows 10 Pro for free?

You might be able to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free if your computer runs Windows 7 Pro or Windows 8 Pro. Otherwise, you can opt for a computer with Windows 10 Pro preinstalled, or you’ll have to purchase a retail or volume license.

What is the difference between Windows 10 and Windows 10 Pro?

Windows 10 Pro comes with a variety of additional apps developed for productivity and security, including remote desktop support, BitLocker disk encryption, group policy management, and a few other advanced security and business tools.

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