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What is the difference between Home and Pro?

Windows 11 has a completely different look and feel compared to Windows 10, but there is one main area that has remained the same. There are seven major versions of Microsoft’s latest operating system, but only two are available to individuals: Home and Pro.

The former focuses primarily on consumers, while the latter is designed with business users in mind. But Windows 11 Home and Windows 11 Pro work almost identically to each other. What are the actual differences between the two, and what should you look for?

Differences between Windows 11 Home and Pro

In most cases, you won’t notice a difference between the two versions. Windows 11 Pro has the same functionality as Windows 11 Home, plus the following additional features:

  • BitLocker – An encryption tool for entire files and drives
  • Encrypting File System (EFS) – Encryption tool for individual files and folders
  • Windows Information Protection (WIP) – A tool to protect against accidental data leakage from applications and services such as email, social media, and cloud storage, all of which an organization cannot control
  • Group Policy – Tools to remotely access and manage computers, user accounts, file printers, and more
  • Group Policy Editor – An easy-to-use way to enable or disable certain functions or items within Windows 11, without having to make changes to the registry
  • Local Users and Groups – Tools that allow administrators to create local and remote computers in one place
  • Kiosk Mode Setup – Allows you to fully configure a remote device using Microsoft Mobile Device Manager
  • Hyper-V – A built-in virtual machine creation tool, a complete simulation of a Windows 11 device that is completely software-based
  • Custom Access – Runs different apps by user, keeping individual experiences separate and secure
  • Dynamic Provisioning – Makes it easy to set up your Windows 11 device and connect to your organization, with a shorter-than-usual process
  • Enterprise State Roaming – Using Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service, this helps provide a more consistent experience across all Windows 11 devices while reducing required setup time
  • Active Directory – Store details on every Windows domain network, so it is relied upon by a variety of other features, including Standard and Azure editions
  • The ability to set up a device without a Microsoft account
  • Business Editions from Microsoft Store and Windows Update

As you can see, a lot of these features focus on security. But that’s only because companies tend to be more vulnerable to breaches or serious data loss, with more widespread consequences.

Windows 11 Home is still very secure, especially compared to Windows 10. This is reflected in the TPM 2.0 chip and Secure Boot support being among the major hardware requirements.

What features of Windows 11 Pro might Windows 11 Home users want?

There are two main features that you might miss, but solutions are available for both.

First, data encryption can be accessed by installing a free tool like VeraCrypt, which is also available for Linux and macOS. It is regularly updated and available for download from Launchpad.

If you don’t want to use a Microsoft account, the solution is even easier. Make sure to skip the setup page that asks you to connect to the Internet, and then type any information into the Microsoft account fields. This will result in an error message, but you will be able to proceed to local account setup instead.

How to install Windows 11 Pro

Remember, a free Windows 10 upgrade will get you the corresponding version of Windows 11. If you’re seriously considering Windows 11 Pro, one option is to buy Windows 10 Pro first – it’ll cost you £219.99 / $199.99.

But it will be quite affordable if you already have Windows 11 Home installed. In this scenario, head to Start > Settings > System > Activation and click “Upgrade in Microsoft app” next to Open Store.

Alternatively, you can purchase a product key online and enter it here by clicking Change Product Key. Just be sure to check the credibility of the site you’re buying from.

A version of this article was originally published in German on the sister site, PC-Welt.

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