Windows 11 has a very different look and feel compared to Windows 10, but one key area has remained the same. There are seven main versions of Microsoft’s latest OS, but only two are available to individuals: Home and Pro.
The former primarily focuses on consumers, while the latter is designed with business users in mind. But Windows 11 Home and Windows 11 Pro perform almost identically to one another. What are the actual differences between the two, and which should you go for?
The differences between Windows 11 Home and Pro
In most situations, you won’t notice a difference between the two versions. Windows 11 Pro has all the same functionality as Windows 11 Home, plus the following extra features:
- BitLocker – encryption tool for entire files and drives
- Encryption File System (EFS) – encryption tool for individual files and folders
- Windows Information Protection (WIP) – tool to protect against accidental data leaks from apps and services such as email, social media and cloud storage, all of which can’t be controlled by the enterprise
- Group Policy – tools to access and manage PCs, user accounts, files printers and more remotely
- Group Policy Editor – a user-friendly way to enable or disable specific functions or elements within Windows 11, without the need to make Registry changes
- Local Users and Groups – tools which allow administrators to make local and remote computers in one place
- Kiosk mode setup – lets you configure a device fully remotely using Microsoft’s Mobile Device Management
- Hyper-V – built-in tool for creating virtual machines, a full simulation of a Windows 11 device entirely based on software
- Assigned Access – runs different apps depending on the user, keeping individual experiences separate and secure
- Dynamic Provisioning – makes it easier to set up your Windows 11 device and get connected with your organisation, with a shorter process than usual
- Enterprise State Roaming – using Microsoft’s cloud computing service Azure, this helps provide a more consistent experience across all Windows 11 devices whilst reducing the setup time required
- Active Directory – storage of details on every Windows domain network, so is relied on by a variety of other features, with standard and Azure versions included
- The ability to set up a device without a Microsoft account
- Business-specific versions of the Microsoft Store and Windows Update
As you can see, a lot of these features focus on security. But that’s only because businesses tend to be more vulnerable to breaches or serious data loss, with the consequences usually more widespread.
Windows 11 Home is still very secure, especially compared to Windows 10. That’s reflected in a TPM 2.0 chip and Secure Boot support being among its key hardware requirements.
Which Windows 11 Pro features might Windows 11 Home users want?
There are two key features you might miss, but workarounds are available for both.
First up, the encryption of data can be accessed by installing a free tool such as VeraCrypt, which is also available for Linux and macOS. It’s regularly updated and available to download from Launchpad.
If you don’t want to use a Microsoft account, the solution is even easier. Make sure you skip the setup page asking you to connect to the internet, then type any information in the Microsoft account fields. This will produce an error message, but you’ll be able to proceed to local account setup instead.
How to install Windows 11 Pro
Remember, the free upgrade from Windows 10 will get you the corresponding version of Windows 11. If you’re seriously considering Windows 11 Pro, one option is to buy Windows 10 Pro first – that’ll cost you £219.99/$199.99.
But it’s more affordable if you already have Windows 11 Home installed. In this scenario, head to Start > Settings > System > Activation and click ‘Upgrade in the Microsoft app’ next to ‘Open Store’.
Alternatively, you can purchase a product key online and enter it here by clicking ‘Change product key’. Just make sure you verify the trustworthiness of the site you’re buying from.
A version of this article was originally published in German on our sister site, PC-Welt.