Windows 8 Pro vs Enterprise – What’s the Difference?

Earlier today, my friend and colleague, Harold Wong, did a great job outlining the requirements for installing the various editions of Windows 8 along with noting the additional requirements for key product features. 

Be sure to check out Harold’s BLOG ARTICLE for the details.

BUT ... What extras do I get with Windows 8 Enterprise?

Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise are both designed for business network environments.  However, at many of my events, a common question among IT Pros relates to the specific differences between Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise.  Below, I’ve included a chart that summarizes the key differences between the Professional and Enterprise editions for Windows 8.

Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise – Key Business Features

Both Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise support critical business features such as Active Directory domain join, Group Policy, BitLocker encryption and Client Hyper-V

BUT … only Windows 8 Enterprise provides these extra cool business features:

  • Windows-To-Go – Provision a bootable USB key as a Windows 8 Enterprise “computer” that can be booted from any PC meeting the Windows 8 hardware requirements – a great way to provision an inexpensive, bootable, and secure environment for vendors, contractors, and home users.
  • DirectAccess – Always-on client-to-site VPN connection that integrates with Active Directory security.  DirectAccess provides a secure tunnel for remote users to access corporate resources AND a secure tunnel for IT to manage remote computers – always ensure that your remote users stay up-to-date with patches.  All, without needing to maintain a separate VPN client!
  • BranchCache – Got multiple sites on your corporate wide area network (WAN)? BranchCache can keep a warm cache of your centralized file shares close to users at remote locations to prevent pulling lots of data over the wire.  This can provide a “big time” payback in terms of reduced WAN bandwidth charges.
  • AppLocker – Want to make sure users are only running “authorized” business software on their work PCs? Don’t bother with hard-to-manage “blacklists” of software to block … AppLocker allows you to maintain a “whitelist” of just your allowed business applications prepared from one or more of your standard workstation images.  Much easier to maintain, and deployed centrally via Group Policy!
  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure ( VDI ) – Considering a VDI deployment of Windows 8? Only Windows 8 Enterprise provides Virtual Desktop Access ( VDA ) licensing rights for VDI scenarios when licensed via a volume licensing agreement with software assurance.

How do I get Windows 8 Enterprise?

Easy! You can obtain Windows 8 Enterprise in any of the following ways:

  • For EvaluationDownload a FREE evaluation copy of Windows 8 Enterprise suitable for studying and testing in your lab.
  • For Small Organizations – Obtain Windows 8 Enterprise by purchasing a Windows Intune subscription.  With Windows Intune, you’ll be able to deploy Windows 8 Enterprise and also manage your PCs and mobile devices from the cloud!
    DO IT: Try Windows Intune for FREE for 30-days.
  • For Mid-size and Enterprise Organizations – Obtain Windows 8 Enterprise via a Volume Licensing Agreement with Software Assurance through your licensing reseller.

Want to learn more?

Continue your learning on Windows 8 with these great additional resources:

Hope this helps!


Comments (5)
  1. KeithMayer says:

    Hi Justin,

    Windows 8 Enterprise is intended as a business OS solution.  For home use, I'd recommend going down the path of getting retail copies of Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro.  Here's a good comparison chart to help you decide between Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro ……/compare

    Hope this helps!


  2. KeithMayer says:

    Hi Hussein,

    Windows 8 Pro can be upgraded to Windows 8 Enterprise while retaining your personal files, settings and applications.  You'll want to make sure you purchase a laptop with Windows 8 Pro if you'll ultimately be going to Enterprise.

    Hope this helps!


  3. justin says:

    Hi Keith

    What about some of the multi-media applications, as in what does Windows 8 Enterprise NOT have?

    I'm contemplating updating my home desktop from Windows 7 to 8 – I just want to make sure its the best edition for me, since I use it for both training, experimentation AND typical home use.


  4. Hussein Williams says:

    I'm planning on buying a windows 8 laptop. Can I upgrade the windows 8 to windows 8 enterprise while retaining all my personal files, settings and applications?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Pingback from Ask About Upgrading Windows 8.1

Comments are closed.

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