Windows 11 is available in multiple editions (“SKUs”), each aimed at a specific audience. As for the “standard” work environments and PCs to use at home, users have to choose mainly between the “Home” and the “Pro”. In this article, we will therefore see what are the differences between the various editions of Windows 11 and we will answer the classic question that everyone asks when it is time to buy a new PC: is it better to choose Windows 11 Home or Windows 11 Pro?
Let’s start by clarifying that Windows 11 comes in the same editions of Windows 10, and with the same, differences between the various editions. Microsoft has for many years abandoned the bankruptcy of Windows 10 Mobile, which remains without a match for Windows 11. But, in the strictly PC environment, the editions have remained the same.
Therefore, those who have consciously chosen a specific edition of Windows 10 in the past, will be able to choose the same edition of Windows 11, obtaining and giving up the same features.
Windows 11 Pro vs Windows 11 Home
|Features||Windows 11 Pro||Windows 11 Home|
|Local account setup||Yes||No|
|Join Active Directory/Azure AD||Yes||No|
|Microsoft Remote Desktop||Yes||Client Only|
|Firewall and network protection||Yes||Yes|
|Windows Defender Antivirus||Yes||Yes|
|BitLocker device encryption||Yes||No|
|Windows Information Protection||Yes||No|
|Mobile device management (MDM)||Yes||No|
|Group Policy Editor (Gpedit.msc)||Yes||No|
|Enterprise State Roaming with Azure||Yes||No|
|Windows Update for Business||Yes||No|
|Maximum number of CPUs||2||1|
|Maximum number of CPU cores||128||64|
Windows 11 Home
Windows 11 Home is the edition aimed at those who use the PC/notebook at home or in the office and do not need the specific functions reserved for the Pro edition.
Windows 11 Home can run both “classic” and “modern” style programs taken from the Windows Store and, except for the specificities indicated in the major editions.
Nothing prevents you from using Windows 11 Home for work. On the contrary: professionals who do not need the specific additional features of Windows 11 Pro can easily settle for Windows 11 Home and save a hundred dollars.
Windows 11 Home supports a single physical CPU, with up to 64 cores, and 128 GB of RAM: more than enough for any “normal” computer, even the very high-end ones.
If you do not need to log on to an NT domain or Active Directory (if you don’t know what that means: suffice it to say that in the home and small-medium business you will certainly not need it) and you are not interested in using the PC from a distance via Remote Desktop, Windows 11 Home is the edition for you. If not, you have to prefer Windows 11 Pro.
Windows 11 Pro
Windows 11 Pro is the edition aimed at professionals who require certain features expressly absent in Windows 11 Home.
First, Windows 11 Pro supports up to 2 physical CPUs, for a maximum total of 128 cores, and 2 TB ( terabytes ) of RAM. No type of PC aimed at the general public can even come close to these specifications, but specialized workstations for tens of thousands of dollars can.
The other main features present in Windows 11 Pro and absent in Windows 11 Home are the following:
- Remote Desktop: You can connect via Remote Desktop only to PCs running Windows 11 Pro. With Windows 11 Home, you can connect to other computers equipped with Windows 11 Pro, but not accept connections
- Domain log-on: join Windows Server and Active Directory domains
- BitLocker and EFS: technologies to encrypt the hard disk and prevent data from being stolen simply by connecting the mass memory to another system
- Hyper-V: Virtual machine manager similar to the more famous VirtualBox
- Group policy: a tool for advanced system configuration. It also allows you to apply restriction of use
- Boot from VHD: Ability to boot from a different operating system, saved within a .vhd file
- Postpone updates: freedom to block the installation of updates for an extended period of time
- Windows Update for Business – Allows technical support personnel to manage updates in a more granular way
- Windows Server Update Services (WSUS): Ability to manage updates through a local server
- Assigned access: allows you to turn your PC into an information kiosk
- NFS: ability to access NFS shares typical of the Linux / Unix world
Formally, only Windows 11 Pro offers Windows Sandbox. However, we have seen that this function can easily be activated even on the Home edition.
Which One is Better, Windows 11 Home or Pro?
A false belief that, unfortunately, cannot be eradicated is that the Pro edition is faster than the Home. This statement is completely incorrect.
In fact, all editions of Windows 11 guarantee the same performance. What really makes the difference are the hardware characteristics of the PC and, in particular:
- CPU and GPU model
- Amount and speed of installed RAM
- Use of an old hard drive versus a SATA SSD or a more modern NVMe SSD
In addition, the performance of a PC may vary depending on the version of the various device drivers installed and the number and type of programs running in the background, such as antivirus or other utilities that use the processor heavily or continually access the hard drive or SSD.
The Windows 11 edition does not affect the speed of the PC in any way.
The choice to buy the Windows 11 Home over Windows 11 Pro must therefore be dictated solely by the features included.