Navigating Windows 11: Choosing Between Its Two Versions

Windows 11 logo displayed on a laptop.

If you’re prepared to make the leap and invest in an enhanced edition of Windows, the primary question on your mind is likely, “which one?” Both Windows 11 Pro and Windows 11 Home are robust operating systems with comprehensive feature sets available at reasonable prices.

To assist you in making an informed choice, we will guide you through a feature contrast as well as the distinctions in security, capability, and pricing.

Distinguishing Between Windows 11 Pro and Windows 11 Home

Microsoft endeavors to convey the purpose behind the Windows 11 versions through the nomenclature of the systems.

Windows 11 Pro is tailored for more engaged (Pro) users, such as businesses, corporations, and teams requiring additional security and management functionalities.

Windows 11 Home is designed for typical (Home) users, students, and individuals primarily engaging in emailing, gaming, web browsing, and utilizing everyday applications.

However, as we all know, when faced with choosing between two alternatives, the decision is not always dictated by the name. When it comes to an operating system, it commences with the features, progresses to security and capability, and culminates with the cost.

Feature Comparison

Windows 11 Start menu displayed.

For a comprehensive overview, particularly if you are interested in a specific tool, here is a side-by-side comparison of the features of Windows 11 Pro versus Windows 11 Home in alphabetical order.

Feature Windows 11 Pro Windows 11 Home
Active Directory / Azure AD X
Assigned Access X
Biometrics X X
BitLocker Drive Encryption X
Device encryption X X
Dynamic Provisioning X
Find My Device X X
Firewall and network protection X X
Group Policy X
Hyper-V X
Integrated with Microsoft Information Protection X
Internet protection X X
Kiosk mode X
Mobile device management (MDM) X
Multifactor Authentication X X
Parental controls and protection X X
Remote deployment and compliance X
Resilient File System (ReFS) X
Secure boot X X
Windows Autopilot X
Windows Defender Application Guard X
Windows Hello X X
Windows Hello for Business X
Windows Information Protection (WIP) X
Windows Remote Desktop X With client
Windows Sandbox X
Windows Security (Microsoft Defender) X X

Features Tailored for Business

You may observe that many of the features provided with Windows 11 Pro and not with Windows 11 Home are more oriented towards businesses. While there might be a few features you wish to see on Windows 11 Home, they are more fitting for the Pro version.

Consider Windows Information Protection (formerly known as Enterprise Data Protection), for instance. This feature shields enterprise applications and data from inadvertent leaks on both company-owned and personal devices utilized by employees in and out of the office.

Moreover, functionalities like Windows Sandbox, a controlled environment for running untrusted applications, and Windows Autopilot, aiding IT departments in device setup and configuration, are features that the average computer user may not necessitate.

Reflect on each of these enterprise features when deliberating between these two Windows editions.

Security Measures

Both Windows 11 Pro and Windows 11 Home are equipped with some identical security features, including device encryption, firewall, network and internet protection, Windows Defender, multifactor authentication, and Find My Device.

For enhanced security, Windows 11 Pro offers the aforementioned features like Windows Information Protection and Windows Sandbox, along with BitLocker Drive Encryption. This additional tool enables you to secure a device if it goes missing. While this may seem like a feature beneficial to everyone nowadays, it is primarily intended for businesses to safeguard company data in case of a lost or stolen device.

In essence, both Windows versions incorporate built-in security features to ensure your safety and data protection. Windows 11 Pro goes the extra mile to safeguard businesses in diverse ways and for distinct purposes.

CPU and RAM Support

Windows 11 displayed on multiple devices.

Another aspect to consider when making your decision is the CPU and RAM support provided by Windows 11 Pro and Windows 11 Home.

  • Windows 11 Pro supports up to 2TB of RAM, a maximum of two CPUs, and a maximum of 128 CPU cores.
  • Windows 11 Home supports up to 128GB of RAM, a maximum of one CPU, and a maximum of 64 CPU cores.

While 128GB of RAM is respectable, Windows 11 Pro’s support for 2TB allows for tasks like creating virtual machines and allocating ample RAM to each task.

In terms of CPUs, dual-CPU systems like Windows 11 Pro can significantly enhance performance by increasing ports, sharing memory resources, and distributing workloads. However, for the average user, a single-CPU machine can proficiently handle everyday tasks, applications, and games.

Regarding CPU cores, the more cores a CPU possesses, the more efficient it is at managing tasks. With support for 128 CPU cores, Windows 11 Pro excels in multitasking. Nevertheless, typical users can accomplish their tasks, from emailing to web browsing, with just two or four CPU cores.

Price Disparity

Considering the additional features, RAM and CPU support, and other system specifications, it is evident that Windows 11 Pro comes at a higher price. Presently, Windows 11 Pro is priced at $199, while Windows 11 Home is available for $139.

If you opt for Windows 11 Home initially, you have the option to upgrade to Windows 11 Pro later. However, the upgrade will cost you $99.

Therefore, if you can afford the extra $60 upfront, it proves to be more cost-effective in the long run for the features you require in Windows 11 Pro.

Which Version of Windows 11 Should You Select?

As mentioned earlier, Windows 11 Pro caters more to business users, whereas Windows 11 Home is designed for the average individual. However, exceptions exist to every “rule.”

Being a small-business owner does not necessarily entail needing the advanced security features in Windows 11 Pro. Conversely, you might be a power user outside of your professional role, necessitating more advanced features than those offered by Windows 11 Home.

Evaluate the features based on your requirements. Consider the level of security you need. Factor in the upfront and upgrade costs.

Regardless of your choice between Windows 11 Pro and Windows 11 Home, you will acquire a reliable and robust operating system.

Evan Brooks

Hey there! I'm Evan Brooks, a tech journalist based in New York City. With a knack for distilling complex industry jargon into engaging narratives, I've… More »

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