Since the early days of Windows, Microsoft has created multiple editions of their operating systems for different users—and Windows 11 is no different.
While there are roughly half a dozen different editions of Windows 11, the two most people will have to choose from are Windows 11 Home and Windows 11 Pro.
But with Pro coming at a higher cost than Home, you’ll want to know what’s different between the two of them if you’re trying to decide between the two.
Let’s go over some major differences between Windows 11 Home and Windows 11 Pro.
Perhaps one of the most jarring changes for most Windows users in Windows 11 is the requirement of a stable internet connection in order to use it. Gone are the days of being able to set up a local account In Windows 11, Microsoft requires users to sign in to a Microsoft account before finishing the initial setup of Window 11
Of course, this doesn’t apply to all editions of Windows 11. With Windows 11 Pro, users are actually able to create a local account during setup, bypassing the Microsoft account and constant internet connection requirements.
Another major difference between Windows 11 Home and Pro is that Pro users can take advantage of BitLocker encryption. This helps secure your computer by encrypting all the files on your hard drive so that no one else can access them without the encryption key. This is especially important for businesses, and can keep your data safe from prying eyes, even if your computer is stolen.
On Windows 11 Home, users are limited to 128GB of RAM and a single processor. Meanwhile, Pro users can utilize up to 2TB of RAM and two CPUs. Most people shouldn’t have to worry about bumping up against the hardware limits of Windows 11 Home, but it’s a notable difference if you’re running a system that exceeds those limits.
Group Policy Editor
The Group Policy Editor is a powerful administration tool for IT admins to take control of Windows, and is another Pro-exclusive feature. With the Group Policy Editor, users can restrict access to certain applications, disable hardware components (such as disc drives and USB ports), and make other low-level changes to the operating system. Users can achieve the same level of control with the registry editor, but the Group Policy Editor is designed to be much easier to use.
Hyper-V support is yet another feature that Windows 11 Pro comes with that Home doesn’t. Hyper-V is a low-level hardware virtualization feature built into Windows, and allows you to create virtual machines on your computer. Of course, there are alternatives for Home users, such as VirtualBox or VMWare, but they don’t offer the same level of features and performance as Hyper-V.
While Hyper-V is a hardware virtualization platform, the Windows Sandbox is a software virtualization platform. And like Hyper-V support, it’s limited to Windows 11 Pro users. In short, it’s a virtual desktop that you can run your applications in, that’s isolated from the rest of the operating system. This can greatly increase your system’s security by adding an extra level of protection, preventing malicious software from hijacking your system.
Remote Desktop Connection
Dating all the way back to Windows XP, Microsoft has packaged its operating systems with its own proprietary Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) tool. This allows computers to remotely access other machines who have RDC enabled. However, Windows 11 Home only allows users to have their computers to be accessed as clients, and cannot access remote systems themselves. If you want to be able to access other machines with RDC, though, you’ll need to upgrade to Windows 11 Pro.
Other Business Management Features
We’ve covered some of the biggest differences between Windows 11 Home and Pro, but there are a number of other features Windows 11 Pro comes with that Home doesn’t. Many of these features are geared towards enterprise environments, including:
- Assigned Access
- Dynamic Provisioning
- Kiosk Mode
- Mobile Device Management
- Windows Information Protection
Ultimately, there are a number of key differences between Windows 11 Home and Pro. Whether the higher price tag of Pro is worth it is up to you. If you’re a business owner or power user that needs access to some of the more advanced features of Windows 11 Pro, then the higher price is worth it. But if you just use Windows 11 to do basic tasks, and don’t need a local account, then the Home edition should be just fine.