The vast majority of PCs and laptops are sold with Windows 11 Home. However, if you want extra features, such as the ability to run virtual machines within Windows itself, you’re going to need to upgrade to Windows 11 Pro. Whatever you do, don’t do that directly through the Microsoft Store or you will end up paying at least twice as much as you need to. Here’s how to get the best price on Windows 11 Pro.
What’s in Windows 11 Pro?
For most home users, Windows 11 Home will be fine. People using their PC for business or techies who like to tinker may well benefit from the features in Windows 11 Pro, however. The key features that are in Windows 11 Pro, but not the Home version, are:
- BitLocker disk encryption
- Remote Desktop
- Virtual machines via Microsoft’s Hyper-V (free alternatives are available for Windows 10 Home)
- The ability to join Azure Active Directory or a corporate network
There are many other advantages for those in a corporate environment, although anyone working in a such a business should contact their IT department about getting the upgrade, not attempt to do it themselves.
How much does Windows 11 Pro cost?
Windows 11 Home allows you to dive into the Settings and upgrade to Windows 11 Pro. If you got to Settings > System > Activation you’ll see the option to Upgrade your edition of Windows. That will send you to the Microsoft Store, where (deep breath) you’ll see something like this:
£120 is an awful lot to pay for an operating system upgrade, but you don’t need to pay anywhere near that much.
What’s the best price for Windows 11 Pro?
Your best bet is to buy a Windows 11 Pro license from a third party.
Beware – this market is full of charlatans. If you search for “Windows 11 Pro license” on Google or even Amazon, you’ll be presented with all kinds of too good to be true offers. It’s very difficult to tell apart the genuine sellers from the cons.
The PC Pro Store is selling Windows 11 Pro licenses for £79.99, and it routinely has offers that are even cheaper than that. (To be 100% transparent, I work for PC Pro, but don’t benefit directly from Store sales.) Note that this is what’s called an OEM license, so it can only be installed on a single computer and not transferred to a new PC.
If you’re buying a new PC that’s listed as Windows 11 Home and you want Windows 11 Pro, it’s worth asking the PC retailer. They may well be able to offer you a cheaper upgrade than going through Microsoft’s official upgrade process, and they might be able to get it pre-installed too.