If you're upgrading the operating system on your computer or buying a brand new one, you'll be met with a decision: Windows 10 or Windows 10 Pro?
As the name suggests, the Pro version is the more advanced of the pair, but what are the exact differences? And are they worth the extra price? We'll explain everything for you here.
- The best Windows 10 laptops: Our pick of the top Windows 10 notebooks to buy today
- Best laptop: All the top notebooks, 2-in-1s and ultraportables to buy today
Windows 10 vs Windows 10 Pro: the basics
The standard version of Windows 10 is actually Windows 10 Home, and it's aimed at home users. If you're running a business, you're perhaps more likely to be interested in Windows 10 Pro.
A lot of features are shared between these two OSes, all the basics that you're probably familiar with from previous versions of Windows. Both can work across desktops, laptops, and tablets, and both come with features like Cortana and Microsoft's new browser, Microsoft Edge.
The smart login tech known as Windows Hello is included in both Home and Pro editions, as is the Xbox app for streaming games from your Xbox One. You don't miss out on gaming features (like DirectX 12) if you go for the Pro version of Windows 10.
In fact, if you booted up Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro side by side, you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference unless you really dig into the features. For the most part, both OSes work in exactly the same way.
Windows 10 vs Windows 10 Pro: The features
With all those similarities between the two versions of the OS, what exactly are the differences? The extras you get with Windows 10 Pro are all aimed at advanced users, and may not mean much to the average home user.
You get a tool called Bitlocker, for example, which lets you encrypt the data on your drives (making it harder for others to access). You also get Group Policy, which can set different rules and privileges for different Windows users on a network (very handy if you're running an office).
There's also Assigned Access (controlling app access), Dynamic Provisioning (managing storage between users), and Domain Join (for logging into a large network like a school or office remotely). Plus, Windows 10 Pro includes a built-in Remote Desktop tool for logging into a computer from somewhere else on the web, and Client Hyper-V, a program that lets you run virtual computers on top of Windows.
As you can see, while these features can be very useful if you're in charge of Windows installations across a whole organisation, you're not really going to miss them if you're just a normal Windows user at home.
Windows 10 vs Windows 10 Pro: Prices and summary
That should give you some idea of the differences between the Home edition of Windows 10 and Windows 10 Pro. You get all the familiar Windows goodies in both versions, but the Pro upgrade adds features useful for businesses and other organisations: device encryption, user management, integrated remote desktop access, and so on.
If you're buying Windows without a computer, you'll have to pay £119.99/$119.99 for the Home version and £219.99/$199.99 for the Pro version (both OSes come as a download or on a USB stick). If you want to upgrade from Home to Pro, which you can do through the Windows Store, that'll cost you £119.99/$99.99.
For most users the extra cash for Pro isn't going to be worth it. For those who do have to manage an office network, on the other hand, it absolutely is worth the upgrade.
Adding a slight complication to the mix is Windows 10 S, a cut-down, lightweight version of the operating system that only runs apps from the Windows Store. You won't have to worry about Windows 10 S for much longer though, as it's rolling into the main version of Windows during 2019.