You’re deciding on the OS for your PC, and you’re torn between Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro. Should you go Pro?
The term “professional” has really been eroded in recent years: in smartphones, like the Huawei P30 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro, it basically just means “better”. So just who is Windows 10 Pro for?
For Windows users, we’re back to the proper definition of “pro”: Windows 10 Pro is aimed at professionals. If you need to ask whether you need it, the chances are that you don’t.
The main target audience for Windows 10 Pro is small businesses that don’t have enough employees to warrant a volume licenced enterprise version. For home users, as the name suggests, Windows 10 Home should be more than enough.
The exception are “enthusiasts”, who might just want a drop of what Pro offers over Home.
Why would I want Windows 10 Pro over Windows 10 Home?
Distilled into six bullet points, here’s a summary of what Windows 10 Pro offers that Windows 10 Home can’t:
- Windows 10 Pro users can join a Domain network, which allows for a Group Policy to go with it
- It lets other people take control of the PC via Windows Remote Desktop
- It includes Microsoft’s Bitlocker technology for whole-disk encryption
- Windows 10 Pro includes Hyper-V virtualisation software
- It supports PCs of up to 2TB RAM, while the Home version is capped at 128GB
- And it includes a “sandbox” feature that lets you put software through a dry run before installing it properly
You may see a feature in there that’s essential for your home set up (Hyper-V may be necessary for developers, for example), but in most cases they’re simply extras that you won’t need or can find free alternatives for if you do. For example, TeamViewer is an alternative to Windows Remote Desktop that’s free for home use, while whole-disk encryption can be done via open-source software such as Veracrypt.
So, do I need Windows 10 Pro?
Honestly, if you have to ask, the answer is almost certainly “no”. Take a look at the features above, but if you have to look up what anything means, then you’re probably fine with just the Home version of Windows 10 – even if it makes you feel like you’re missing out.