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Windows 10 Editions and Upgrades Announced

Microsoft has just announced which editions of the new Windows 10 will be offered. As usual with Microsoft, the announcement is full of uninformative, gee-whiz marketing fluff hedged by the legal department but here is a summary of what I think they said.

The editions will have a common main core of features and share the same Windows Store but will have variations that depend on the device for which they are intended. The method of sale and pricing will depend on the intended market. Upgrades from previous versions of Windows will also depend on the nature of the user. Here are the various choices.

For Home and Small Business Users


There will be two editions for new PCs, Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro. Windows 10 Home will be cheaper but will lack certain features present in Windows 10 Pro. Windows 10 Pro will have additional features such as BitLocker encryption and the ability to join domain networks. This seems to be similar to the present differences between the two consumer versions of Windows 8.1.

There will also be two editions of Windows 10 that will be available as free online upgrades to existing licensed PCs. Consumers and small businesses that have PCs running Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 or Windows 8.1 will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 Home. Consumers and small businesses with Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, and Windows 8.1 Pro systems will be offered a free online upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. There is some kind of one year limitation on getting a free upgrade that I still find murky.

For Large Organizations


An edition called Windows 10 Enterprise will be available as an upgrade for organizations that have a Microsoft Volume License contract. Otherwise, a business or other organization will have to buy a Pro license on a PC to qualify for the Windows 10 Enterprise upgrade. Windows 10 Enterprise will not be available to OEMs as an option for new PCs.

For Educational Institutions


A separate version of Windows 10 Enterprise will be available as an upgrade to large educational institutions with volume licenses.

Mobile devices


Mobile devices running Windows Phone 8.1 will be offered Windows 10 Mobile as a free upgrade.

And there you have it - a quick summary of the various editions of the forthcoming Windows 10.

Added 15 May, 2015 - A Microsoft blog released today says this:
As we announced earlier this year, for the first time ever, we are offering the full versions of Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 Pro as a free and easy upgrade for qualifying Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices that upgrade in the first year after launch. Once you upgrade, you have Windows 10 for free on that device.

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