Microsoft’s Windows 10 is coming to a computer near you in a little more than a week. And, like its two most recent predecessors (the widely reviled Windows 8 and fan favorite Windows 7), Windows 10 will be available in a wide variety of different flavors.
More specifically, Microsoft is going to be selling seven versions of Windows this time around (because making things easy is apparently overrated).
Which of those seven will be right for you? Which ones should you avoid at all costs? You’ve got those and other questions; we’ve got answers.
SEVEN versions of Windows 10? What’s up with that?!
No need to freak, that’s just how Microsoft rolls. They release multiple versions of their operating systems to make sure that the right mix of features go to the right kinds of users. After all, if you’re a solitary gamer at home, your list of Windows requirements will be way different from those of an IT manager at a Fortune 500 company.
Fair enough. So what are these different versions of Windows 10?
Roughly in order of complexity, they are: Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Education, Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise, and Windows 10 IoT Core.
That’s, um, a lot.
If it makes you feel any better, the only versions most end users will need to consider are Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, and Windows 10 Mobile.
What are the differences between those three?
Windows 10 Home is the base version of Windows 10 and comes with all of the cool new features Microsoft has been touting, including Cortana, the classic Start menu, and new Edge Web browser. This is the version of Windows 10 that most people will end up installing on their home computers.
Windows 10 Pro takes all of the features of Windows 10 Home and adds some data encryption tools, remote desktop support, and a few other tools meant for small business users. For most individuals, Windows 10 Pro will be overkill, but for some business folks it’ll be just right.
Windows 10 Mobile, meanwhile, will be the version of Windows 10 that will come installed on Windows Phone. If you’ve got a Windows Phone 8 handset, you’ll be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile on July 29.
What about those four other versions of Windows?
Chances are you won’t spend much time with them. Windows 10 Enterprise is designed primarily for large companies, while Windows 10 Education is meant for use in schools.
Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise is a mobile version of Windows 10 Enterprise for corporate smartphones and small tablets. And Windows 10 IoT Core is meant for people who want to design their own small gadgets, like tiny robots.
Got it. When can I upgrade to Windows 10?
Microsoft will let you upgrade to Windows 10 starting July 29. It will be available as a free download for one year, after which you’ll likely have to fork over some dough for the latest version.
More from 10 Days of Windows 10:
- Windows 10 Reviewed: Microsoft Returns to Sanity
- 10 Reviews of Windows 10: Yes You Should Upgrade, But Not Just Yet
- 6 Reasons Microsoft Edge Is a Better Browser than Internet Explorer
- 5 Reasons Windows 10 Is Good for Gamers
- Windows 10: The Product of a Chastened and Changed Microsoft
- 5 Things Windows 10 Can Do That Apple’s OS X Can’t
- Eight Reasons Not to Upgrade to Windows 10
- Here’s How to Check If Your PC Can Run Windows 10
- Inside Windows Cortana: The Most Human AI Ever
- Windows 10: 6 Excellent Reasons to Upgrade Your PC
- Windows Through the Ages: How Does Windows 10 Stack Up?