Windows 10 Home vs Windows 10 Pro: The Key Differences Explained
Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system is split into a few different forks. There’s Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 in S mode, and Windows 10 Pro. Each version of the Windows 10 license runs the same operating system for the computer, but with different access to features within Windows.
In general, computers purchased from a retail store or online come pre-installed with Windows 10 Home, unless you are purchasing a newer model with Windows 11 or the product states it has 10 Pro. For most computer users, Windows 10 Home is sufficient to handle tasks. It doesn’t stop users from installing productivity software or third-party applications. Users may not even notice the difference in Windows 10 Home versus Windows 10 Pro if they never find a need for features like bit locker, remote desktop, and streamlined business accounts.
For PC gaming, Windows 10 Home is more than sufficient. The Xbox application and Gamepass for PC programs run great without the added features of Windows 10 Pro. Windows 10 Home can even be sufficient for small businesses that only use payroll, tracking, and tax software.
Windows 10 Home vs Windows 10 Pro Side by Side Comparison
|Windows 10 Home||Windows 10 Pro|
|What it is||Computer Operating System||Computer Operating System|
|Primary Use||Creates graphical user interface and all interactions between computers hardware components and software||Creates graphical user interface and all interactions between computers hardware components and software|
|Name||Windows 10 Home||Windows 10 Pro|
|Initial Release||July 29, 2015||July 29, 2015|
|Open Format||Closed source||Closed source|
|Technologies Influenced||PCs, laptops, desktops, servers||PCs, laptops, desktops, servers|
What is Windows 10 Home?
Windows 10 Home is the operating system released by Microsoft on July 29, 2015, to replace Windows 8 for use on newer devices with touch screens, pens, digital assistants, and new user interface features. Like most new versions of Windows released, users were hesitant to adopt the new technology on release, but most of the consumer fears around Windows 10 were put to rest after years of its existence.
The Windows 10 era of Microsoft operating systems saw the evolution of technology for cloud computing, cloud streaming, gaming, processors, user interfaces, and smart assistants. Microsoft showcased the new features of Windows 10 with premium device lineups like the Surface Pro, Book, Laptop, and Studio series as well as similar products from other manufacturers like Lenovo, Asus, Acer, Dell, HP, LG, Samsung, Razer, and more.
The goal of Windows 10 Home was to integrate the previous attempt at touch-screen controls along with modern features while keeping the platform familiar to legacy users. In the long run, Windows 10 succeeded. However, the advent of mobile technologies and the supremacy of Google on mobile platforms has given Microsoft reason to continue improving its system to include the ability to run mobile applications and Linux kernels. Linux kernel support was added to Windows 10, but support for ARM processes didn’t quite make it to Windows 10, but it is expected to be available in Windows 11.
What is Windows 10 Pro?
Windows 10 Pro was released on the same day as Windows 10 Home. It was meant to be a more expensive version of the software that can handle advanced tasks commonly used for small businesses and big businesses. 10 Pro has security features like Bitlocker, Windows Information Protection (WIP), and Hyper-V virtualization for running applications in a secure sandbox environment.
The most common reason for non-business users to purchase Windows 10 Pro is for built-in remote desktop client applications and Hyper-V. These two features can be used for far more purposes than business security and operational scaling. Home use of remote desktop allows for wireless access, or streaming, of your desktop to another device. Any program installed on your PC can be used from any internet-connected screen like tablets and smartphones.
Hyper-V virtualization is another feature some home-users may wish to have. It allows for a virtual computer to be run inside your installed operating system. Any virtualized environment is kept separate from the true operating system on the computer. This means tinkerers and hackers can play around with programs and tools without worrying about accidentally corrupting their operating system install.
Many of the features of Windows 10 Pro are aimed specifically at businesses. Remote work has proliferated in the last few years. Businesses across the board have found creative ways to allow employees to work at home. 10 Pro’s built-in remote desktop client allows for this remote connection with premium security.
In general, if a computer user needs to ask “should I purchase Windows 10 Pro?”, the answer is no. Most 10 Pro users have need of specific functionality that requires Pro. This means that their software or operations performed on the computer will not operate on Windows 10 Home. These users are well aware of their need for 10 Pro. However, the only negative to purchasing Windows 10 Pro without the need for its features is that it costs an additional $99 to upgrade to.
Windows 10 Pro’s extra features:
- Hyper-V virtualization
- Remote Desktop Client
- Bitlocker Encryption
- Windows Information Protection
- Mobile device management
- Kiosk mode setup
- Group policy
- Assigned access
- Dynamic Provisioning
- Microsoft Store for Business
- Windows Updates for Business
- Support for Active Directory
- Enterprise state roaming with Azure
- Support for Azure Active Directory
Windows 10 Home vs Windows 10 Pro: Ten Must Know Facts
- It costs $99 to upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro.
- Most home computer users will not require Windows 10 Pro such as word processing, web search, gaming, and third-party applications.
- New computers with Windows 10 typically have 10 Home installed by default.
- Windows 10 Pro Remote Desktop Client is not the only method to remote access your computer.
- Windows 10 Pro is not the same as Window 10 Enterprise, even though 10 Pro has advanced business features.
- Features from Windows 10 Pro are viewable on Windows 10 Home, but not used without upgrading.
- Windows 10 Home and Pro updates are regularly released and free to Windows 10 users.
- Windows 10 Telemetry options can be deactivated in both Home and Pro, but it is easier to disable in Pro.
- Cortana has been discontinued in Windows 10 Home and Pro.
- Despite Microsoft’s previous claims, Windows 10 is not the last Windows operating system.