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Windows 11 Pro vs Home: 6 Key Differences

Every major version of Windows often launches in three different variants, Home, Pro and Enterprise. While the variant names themselves are enough to suggest their uses, their differences can be hard to spot for the untrained eye. 

In this article, we’re comparing Windows 11 Pro and Windows 11 Home on the following parameters to figure out which one suits you best. 

  • Windows 11 price and availability
  • Setup
  • CPU and RAM support
  • Virtualisation and remote connection
  • Security
  • Enterprise features

Also read: Should I upgrade to Windows 11? 7 taking points


Windows 11 Price and availability

The first significant difference between the two versions is pricing. Windows 11 home retails for $139.99, while the Pro variant comes in at $199.99. If you’re looking to upgrade to Pro from Windows 11 Home, that’ll be $99.99.

As for availability, most new computers and laptops will come with Windows 11 Home preinstalled and for a good reason. Windows 11 Home will do just about everything most people would require it. As the name suggests, the Pro variant is for professionals and has specialised features that don’t have many daily uses. 


Setting up

Another significant difference comes right as you start setting up your new PC. Windows 11 Home has a rather annoying restriction that forces users to require an internet connection and a Microsoft account to set up the OS. While you can create local accounts on Windows 11 Home, you can’t set up the OS with one. 

Windows 11 Pro, on the other hand, has no such restrictions and for a good reason. The OS is meant to be used in environments where it’ll be repeatedly deployed and reinstalled. Having to have an internet connection and account credentials every time can be a headache. It’s much easier to set up the OS with a local account instead, something Windows 11 Pro lets you do without a problem. 

Also read: Windows 11 vs Windows 10: 5 key differences


CPU and RAM support

While both version have the same minimum requirements and will work just fine on most computers, Windows 11 Home is limited in terms of how much hardware it can utilise. 

Windows 11 Home PCs can only have one CPU socket, meaning one CPU. Windows 11 Home is also limited to 64 CPU cores, while the Pro variant pushes this to 128. 

Windows 11 Pro vs Home: 6 Key Differences

This is true for RAM usage as well. The Home variant is limited to 128GB of RAM, while the Pro variant can support up to 2TB. That might sound a lot on paper, but when you’re out in the field deploying virtual machines left and right, you’re going to need that much RAM. 


Virtualisation and remote connections

Speaking of virtual machines, virtualisation is yet another major difference between the two versions. Windows 11 Home doesn’t support Hyper-V, a virtualisation tool built into Windows that lets you create virtual machines. Windows 11 Home doesn’t get the Windows Sandbox either, and while it can connect to a Remote Desktop host, it can’t act as a host itself. 

These are all problems that can be solved by using third-party programs like VMware’s VirtualBox and TeamViewer or Anydesk, but having this functionality built right into Windows not only makes the entire setup easier, but the features themselves are more stable, a requirement in several environments where Windows 11 Pro is used. 


Windows 11 Security

Yet another difference between the two Windows 11 versions is security. Windows 11 Pro gets additional security features like BitLocker encryption and  Windows Information Protection (WIP). WIP is a data protection tool that allows companies to prevent users from sending internal data outside the company’s infrastructure. 

WIP also separates business and personal data on devices and allows remote control over business data, meaning in case of theft; sensitive information can be remotely removed. 

Also read: Windows 11 lid controls explained


Windows 11 Enterprise features

Last but not least, the biggest gaps between Windows 11 Home and Pro are the enterprise features the latter offers. For context, here are a few features exclusive to Windows 11 Pro

Windows 11 Pro vs Home: 6 Key Differences
The Microsoft Store for Business is exclusive to Windows 11 Pro or higher
  • Group Policy Editor
  • Mobile device management
  • Enterprise State Roaming
  • Kiosk mode
  • Windows Update for Business
  • Assigned Access
  • Dynamic Provisioning
  • Active Directory
  • Microsoft Store for Business

Windows 11 Pro vs Home: Comparison table

Here’s a table comparing Windows 11 Home and Windows 11 Pro features. 

FeaturesWindows 11 HomeWindows 11 Pro
Application ControlYesYes
BiometricsYesYes
Device encryptionYesYes
Find my deviceYesYes
Firewall and network protectionYesYes
Multifactor authenticationYesYes
Parental controlsYesYes
Protection from fileless based attacksYesYes
Secure BootYesYes
Security by defaultYesYes
Windows DefenderYesYes
Windows HelloYesYes
Windows SecurityYesYes
Bitlocker encryptionYes
Microsoft Information Protection integrationYes
Remote deployment and complianceYes
Windows Hello for BusinessYes
Windows Information Protection (WIP)Yes
Windows SandboxYes
Resilient File System
Hyper-VYes
Delivery Optimisation YesYes
Express UpdatesYesYes
Assigned AccessYes
Azure Active Directory JoinYes
Hybrid Azure Active Directory JoinYes
Cloud-managed updatesYes
Enterprise State Roaming with AzureYes
eSIM Enterprise SolutionsYes
Group PolicyYes
Kiosk mode setupYes
Mobile Application ManagementYes
Mobile device managementYes
Local and virtual appsYes
Active Directory supportYes
Azure Active Directory supportYes
Windows AutopilotYes
Windows Server Update ServiceYes
Windows Update for BusinessYes
Maximum supported RAM128GB2TB
Maximum supported CPUs12
Maximum supported CPU cores64128

Windows 11 Home vs Pro: Which one should you pick?

The answer here is quite simple. Unless you’re looking to deploy a machine for your business, you’re better off using Windows 11 Home. Not only will you save money on your license, but a lot of the additional features offered in Windows 11 Pro also aren’t of much daily use. 

So unless you’re an IT admin, Windows 11 Home is the way to go. If you know what you’re doing and have a legitimate need for the additional features offered, Windows 10 Pro is the obvious choice.

Also read: USB power management in Windows 11 explained 

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