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Getting to Know the Various Editions of Windows 10

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More information has been released from Microsoft about the various editions of Windows 10 that will be shipped.  In all, there will be 7 primary versions of Windows 10.  The first two are probably the most expected: Home and Pro.  Home features all of the main highlights of Windows 10:  Cortana, the Microsoft Edge web browser, greater Xbox integration, and Windows Continuum for touch-enabled devices.  To those features, Pro adds tools for using and managing Windows 10 in a small business setting.  It includes Windows Update for Business, and the ability to join Active Directory domains.

For larger organizations and corporate settings, there is Windows 10 Enterprise, which expands on Windows 10 Pro to provide Windows to Go, App Locker, and DirectAccess.  Enterprise administrators can also choose to follow the Long Term Servicing branch which will only install security updates and ignore any updates that provide new functionality.  This should prove useful for machines whose uptime and accessibility is paramount.

Academic environments will see the rollout of Windows 10 Education, which is similar to Enterprise but intended for school systems.  Microsoft states that users of Windows 10 Home or Pro will be able to upgrade to the Education version if desired.

Enterprise administrators will also have Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise available for deployment to handheld devices like phones and small tablets.  Windows 10 Mobile is the non-enterprise version of Windows 10 for use on these portable devices.  The new interesting angle for this edition is Continuum for Phones (note this is a direct link to a YouTube video). 

This technology allows a Windows 10 based phone to connect to a regular display, mouse, and keyboard.  Apps running on the phone will automatically scale up to use the peripherals and expanded screen real estate.  Microsoft states that when using a phone in this capacity (like a PC), the phone remains fully usable to take or make calls, and compose text messages or email.  Unfortunately, per ZDNet’s Ed Bott, Windows 10 Mobile is not expected to launch until the fall.  However the good news is that Bott also reports that with Windows 10 Microsoft will be taking charge of updating Windows Phones directly, removing wireless carrier delays from the upgrade timeline.

The seventh edition is Windows 10 IoT for smaller devices that may be embedded or considered dedicated hardware (such as network routers).  An additional and unnamed version of Windows 10 will be released for industrial applications including machine, and point of sale machines.

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