What is the difference between Home and Pro?

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Windows 11 looks and feels very different than Windows 10, but one key area has remained the same. There are seven major versions of Microsoft’s latest OS, but only two are available for home users: Home and Pro.

The former focuses primarily on consumers, while the latter is designed for business users. But Windows 11 Home and Windows 11 Pro work almost the same. What are the real differences between the two, and where should you look?

Differences between Windows 11 Home and Pro

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

  • BitLocker – encryption tool for files and entire drives
  • Encryption File System (EFS) – encryption tool for individual files and folders
  • Windows Information Protection (WIP) – tool to protect against accidental data leaks from applications and services such as email, social media and cloud storage, all of which cannot be controlled by the company
  • Group Policy – tools to remotely access and manage PCs, user accounts, file printers and more
  • Group Policy Editor – a user-friendly way to enable or disable specific features or items in Windows 11, without having to edit the registry
  • Local Users and Groups – tools that allow administrators to create local and remote computers in one place
  • Kiosk mode configuration – allows you to configure a device completely remotely using Microsoft’s mobile device management
  • Hyper-V – integrated tool for creating virtual machines, a complete simulation of a Windows 11 device based entirely on software
  • Assigned access – runs different applications depending on the user, keeping individual experiences separate and secure
  • Dynamic Provisioning – makes it easier to set up your Windows 11 device and connect with your organization, with a shorter than usual process
  • Enterprise State Roaming – using Microsoft’s Azure cloud service, this helps provide a more consistent experience across all Windows 11 devices while reducing setup time required
  • Active Directory – storing details about every Windows domain network, so relies on a variety of other features, with standard and Azure versions included
  • The ability to set up a device without a Microsoft account
  • Enterprise-specific versions of the Microsoft Store and Windows Update

As you can see, many of these features focus on security. But that’s only because businesses tend to be more vulnerable to serious data breaches or losses, with generally more widespread consequences.

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

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

There are two key features you might miss, but workarounds are available for both.

First, data encryption can be accessed by installing a free tool such as 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 simpler. Make sure to skip the setup page asking you to connect to the internet, then enter any information in the Microsoft account fields. This will produce an error message, but you can proceed to local account setup instead.

How to install Windows 11 Pro

Remember that Windows 10 free upgrade will get you the corresponding version of Windows 11. If you are serious about Windows 11 Pro, one option is to buy Windows 10 Pro first – it will cost you £219.99/ $199.99.

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

You can also purchase a product key online and enter it here by clicking “Change Product Key”. Just be sure to check the reliability of the site you are buying from.

A version of this article originally appeared in German on our partner site, PC-Welt.

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