Windows 11 has seven different editions. The most significant editions are the Windows 11 Pro and Windows 11 Home editions.
What are the main differences between Windows 11 Pro and Home editions? Let us take a look at both editions below.
Main differences between Windows 11 Pro and Home editions
The main differences between Windows 11 Pro edition and Windows 11 Home edition are mentioned in brief below:
- Windows 11 Pro is pricier than Windows 11 Home by $60.
- Windows 11 Pro is ideally suitable for business users. This is because it offers features that are required by businesses and enterprise customers.
- Windows 11 Pro supports BitLocker encryption. More details are shared below.
- Windows 11 Pro also supports in-built Hyper-V virtualization. Windows 11 Home does not have Hyper-V.
- Windows 11 Pro computers can join Active Directory while Windows 11 Home computers cannot join Active Directory.
- Group Policy editors are only available on Windows 11 Pro edition computers.
- Windows 11 Pro computers can be used to host Remote Desktop Connections. So, a Windows 11 Pro can be an RDP host or client. Windows 11 Home can only be a RDP client.
- Windows 11 Pro also supports Windows Sandbox. Windows Sandbox is a clean install of Windows 11 and helps in providing a test environment on a single computer. Windows Sandbox can co-exist with the main Windows 11 installation on the same computer.
- Windows 11 Pro can support 2 CPU sockets while Windows 11 Home can work with a single CPU socket. This implies that Windows 11 Pro can support two processors of 64 cores each and Windows 11 Home can only do one processor with 64 cores only.
- Windows 11 Pro offers increased RAM or a memory limit of up to 2 TB. Windows 11 Home is able to go up to a max memory of 128 GB only.
You can see that most differences between Windows 11 Home and Windows 11 Pro correspond to the augmented set of features for enterprises. For a price difference of $60, Windows 11 Pro offers great value for money.
Common features of Windows 11 Pro and Windows 11 Home editions
Windows 11 Pro and Home editions share quite a few features. Most changes in Windows 11 Pro incorporate improved security posture for the endpoints.
The features that are common between Windows 11 Pro and Windows 11 Home editions are given below:
|Features||Windows 11 Pro||Windows 11 Home|
|Firewall and Network Protection||Yes||Yes|
|Parental controls and protection||Yes||Yes|
|Find my device||Yes||Yes|
Let us review the main differences in features of Windows 11 Pro and Home below.
Windows 11 Pro supports Bitlocker encryption while the Home edition is not compatible with BitLocker encryption.
Bitlocker encryption protects against data loss through the encryption of data in a disk volume. It requires TPM version 1.2 or higher for encryption to be successful. There are workarounds available to enable Bitlocker encryption for lower TPM versions. But, the recommended path is TPM version 1.2 or higher version of TPM.
Bitlocker can also be used to improve the boot process security. Bitlocker can enforce PIN at startup. Or, it could mandatorily force the user to supply a USB device during the boot process to establish security and complete the boot process.
Bitlocker will also ensure that the encrypted data is inaccessible once BitLocker-protected devices are decommissioned or recycled.
You can read more about Bitlocker on this Microsoft Learn page.
Hyper-V is a virtualization technology. It allows you to host multiple OS installations on a single computer.
Hyper-V eliminates the need for physical hardware. Once you enable Hyper-V on a Windows 11 Pro computer, you can run many applications and Operating Systems on the same physical machine through virtualization.
You can learn how to enable Hyper-V on a Windows 11 Pro computer from this page.
Windows Sandbox is a sandbox environment running Windows 11 clean installation. WIndows Sandbox is supported on Windows 11 Pro edition.
It allows developers and users to test applications in a simulated environment running Windows 11 operating system.
The main Windows 11 system installation remains unaffected with the Windows Sandbox environment on the Windows 11 Pro computer.
The sandbox functionality in Windows 11 Pro is a very practical and useful feature for testing application changes, new applications and code delivery before deployment.
Active Directory joining
Windows 11 Home edition computers cannot join an Active Directory or Azure AD. Active Directory or Azure AD are enterprise level domain implementation. Therefore, it deems fit for Windows 11 Pro to join Active Directory or Azure AD.
For business users who work in an Active Directory environment, Windows 11 Pro edition is the right edition to access Active Directory and the respources that are managed in the Active Directory domain.
Group Policy Editor
Similar to the concept of Active Directory, the Group Policy implementation and editor are available in Windows 11 Pro.
The Group Policy editor helps in creating policies for computer users in an organization at the group level.
With a Group Policy editor, a system administrator can control access to the resources hosted in a business environment. A system administrator can enforce group policies for login restrictions, printer access, network access and other resource usage through the Group Policy editor.
Windows 11 Pro computers are considered part of group entities within a business organization. A Windows Home computer is considered to be a limited resource for home or standalone usage.
Remote Desktop (RDP) Host
Windows 11 Pro computers can work as RDP hosts and RDP clients. In other words, you can use a Windows 11 Pro computer as a RDP client to access resources on another RDP server.
Or, you could easily use Windows 11 Pro computer as a host computer to accept incoming RDP client connections to the machine.
Windows 11 Home computers can only work as RDP clients. These machines cannot accept incoming RDP client requests.
Windows 11 Pro edition costs $199.99 and the Windows 11 Home edition costs $139.99. You can upgrade to Windows 11 Pro using a local account.
For Windows 11 installations, you will need access to the Internet to download the operating system copy.
We feel that spending an incremental amount of $60 offers many benefits on a Windows 11 Pro operating system.
The Bitlocker encryption and Hyper-V virtialization layer are two very significant improvements. If you are a business user or a developer, you will gain with a subscription to Windows 11 Pro license.
For people looking to use the computer for gaming or other non-business purposes, Windows 11 Home works well for most needs.
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Rajesh Dhawan is a technology professional who loves to blog about smart wearables, Cloud computing and Microsoft technologies. He loves to break complex problems into manageable chunks of meaningful information.