Windows 8 flavors announced: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT

Microsoft today announced flavors of Windows 8 versions on Windows blog. Windows 8 becomes the official name for the next version of Windows. Windows 8 will come in three flavors Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT, which is previously known as Windows on ARM or WOA.

If you have used Windows XP you know it comes in two editions Windows XP and Pro. Windows Vista and 7 came in several flavors which caused confusion among users. Now Microsoft has reversed its strategy and announced only two editions 8 and Pro like XP.

Brandon LeBlanc from Microsoft writes that “All editions of Windows 8 offer a no-compromise experience” and Windows is the official product name for the next x86/64 editions of Windows. Windows 8 will have an updated Windows Explorer, Task Manager, better multi-monitor support and the ability to switch languages on the fly, which is earlier available only in Enterprise/Ultimate editions. The last one is a welcome addition, as it is pain to get language packs for Vista and 7 versions of Windows home premium.

Windows 8 Pro is for tech enthusiasts and business/technical professionals, it will have all the features of Windows 8 plus features for encryption, virtualization, PC management and domain connectivity.

Windows 8 media center is know available as “media pack” add-on for Windows 8 Pro users.

Windows RT is for tablets running ARM processors, it will come pre-installed with PCs and tablets powered by ARM processors. Windows RT will include touch optimized versions of Office desktop apps including, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

There is also a version of Windows 8 for enterprise customers with Software Assurance agreements that will include all the features of Windows 8 Pro plus features for PC management and deployment, advanced security, virtualization, new mobility scenarios and more according to Microsoft.

See the below table for the list of features in each version of Windows 8.

Feature Name Windows 8 Windows 8 Pro Windows RT
Upgrades from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium x x
Upgrades from Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate x
Start screen, Semantic Zoom, Live Tiles x x x
Windows Store x x x
Apps (Mail, Calendar, People, Messaging, Photos, SkyDrive, Reader, Music, Video) x x x
Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote) x
Internet Explorer 10 x x x
Device encryption x
Connected standby x x x
Microsoft account x x x
Desktop x x x
Installation of x86/64 and desktop software x x
Updated Windows Explorer x x x
Windows Defender x x x
Windows Defender x x x
Windows Update x x x
Enhanced Task Manager x x x
Switch languages on the fly (Language Packs) x x x
Better multiple monitor support x x x
Storage Spaces x x
Windows Media Player x x
Exchange ActiveSync x x x
File history x x x
ISO / VHD mount x x x
Mobile broadband features x x x
Picture password x x x
Play To x x x
Remote Desktop (client) x x x
Reset and refresh your PC x x x
Snap x x x
Touch and Thumb keyboard x x x
Trusted boot x x x
VPN client x x x
BitLocker and BitLocker To Go x
Boot from VHD x
Client Hyper-V x
Domain Join x
Encrypting File System x
Group Policy x
Remote Desktop (host) x


  1. […] Windows Vista and Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium and Professional editions come with one language pack, but if you want to install another language pack you have no option to do so with out using third party software. Vistalizator has been updated to version 2.5, it supports Windows Vista SP1/SP2 and Windows 7 SP1. The next version of Windows that is Windows 8 will remove this limitation and allow you to switch languages on the fly. […]