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Windows 11 Pro vs Pro N: Differences and Similarities

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  • 6 min read

If you are looking for a new operating system for your PC, you might be wondering which version of Windows 11 to choose.

Windows 11 is the latest and most advanced version of Microsoft’s flagship Windows OS, and it comes in different editions.

In this article, we will compare two of the most popular editions: Windows 11 Pro and Windows 11 Pro N. We will explain what they are, what they offer, and how they differ.


Windows Pro N explained

Windows Pro N is a special edition of Windows 11 Pro designed for the European market. It is essentially the same as Windows 11 Pro, except that it does not include any media-related technologies, such as:

  • Windows Media Player
  • Voice Recorder
  • Groove Music
  • Movies & TV

Windows 11 Pro N does not have these media-related technologies because of a legal dispute between Microsoft and the European Commission over antitrust issues.

The European Commission accused Microsoft of abusing its dominant position in the market by bundling its media software with its operating system, which harmed competition and innovation. As a result, Microsoft agreed to offer a version of Windows without its media software in Europe.

However, this does not mean you cannot use any Windows 11 Pro N media software. You can still download and install any media software you want from the internet, such as VLC Media Player, Spotify, Netflix, etc. Moreover, you can also download the Media Feature Pack from Microsoft’s website, which will restore all the media-related software missing from Windows 11 Pro N.

Also read: Windows 11 Enterprise vs Pro: Key Differences


Windows 11 Pro vs Windows 11 Pro N

In this section, following the table, we’ll analyse several key differences and similarities between the two operating systems to understand clearly which one you should buy.

Also read: Intel K vs KF vs F: Quick Comparison


Similarities

As seen above, Windows Pro N is a Windows Pro sans media software. So, there are a lot of similarities between the two operating systems.

The similarities include the overall layout of the operating system, widgets, Secure Boot, virtual desktop, Windows Security, and Parental Control. You will have all these features and more if you buy either Windows 11 Pro or Pro N.

Moreover, Windows 11 Pro and Pro N have the exact system requirements, updates, support, and compatibility. They can run the same apps and programs except for those that depend on media-related technologies.

Let us deeply analyse more similarities:


Performance

Windows 11 Pro is optimized for peak performance, providing superior multitasking capabilities and faster boot-up and shutdown times compared to the base version of Windows 11. It also supports multiple virtual desktops, making working with multiple monitors convenient.

Windows 11 Pro N, despite excluding media utilities, maintains a smooth and efficient performance similar to Windows 11 Pro. It delivers a seamless user experience with minimal delays, bugs, or performance issues, including fast boot-up and app responsiveness.


Security

Windows 11 Pro offers advanced threat prevention and detection protocols, including an enhanced version of Microsoft Defender. This ensures higher protection when connected to public or professional networks.

Windows 11 Pro N incorporates similar security measures as Windows 11 Pro, providing a secure operating system suitable for most users’ needs.

However, that being said, there are some features that you can use in Windows Pro N, albeit with some limitations:

  • The Microsoft Store app store in Windows 11 Pro N has audio and video content issues.
  • Some video streaming websites are not supported in the Edge browser on Windows 11 Pro N.
  • Cortana speech interaction is unavailable in Windows 11 Pro N.
  • Audio and video calling in Microsoft Teams chat may fail in Windows 11 Pro N.
  • Playback issues with videos in Microsoft OneDrive and photos apps on Windows 11 Pro N.
  • The wireless display feature is not functional in Windows 11 Pro N.
  • The Game DVR feature is not supported in Windows 11 Pro N. However, Auto HDR works perfectly fine.
  • The voice typing feature is unavailable for Windows 11 Pro N users.
  • Windows Hello biometric recognition may not work properly in Windows 11 Pro N.
  • Various functionality issues in Windows 11 Pro N, including alarm sounds, application sync, and webcam usage, may also not work properly in Windows 11 Pro N.

As you can see from the above list, it is clear that most of the features limited in Windows 11 Pro N are somehow related to audio and video. You should note that several of these features can work if you download the Windows Media Pack from the Microsoft Store. However, the success is not guaranteed.

Also read: Babbel vs Duolingo vs Memrise: Brief Comparison


Differences

Now that we have understood the similarities let us head to the differences. Here are some major differences between the two operating systems.

Before we delve into the differences between Windows 11 Pro and Windows 11 Pro N, let’s take a quick look at the excluded features of the N version of Windows 11:

  • Windows Media Player application
  • Windows Media Player Runtime
  • Windows Media Format
  • Windows Media DRM
  • Media Sharing and Play To
  • Media Foundation
  • Windows Portable Devices (WPD) infrastructure
  • AAC, FLAC, ALAC, MPEG, WMA, AMR, and Dolby Digital audio codecs
  • C-1, MPEG-4, and H.263, H.264, and H.265 codecs
  • Windows Voice Recorder

Let us head to more deep analysis of the differences:


Productivity

Windows 11 Pro excels in productivity with features tailored to professional environments. It allows for seamless transitions between apps, windows, tabs, and monitors, enhancing workflow efficiency.

In contrast, Windows 11 Pro N does not prioritize productivity, lacking the extensive capabilities and utilities found in Windows 11 Pro. Users seeking maximum productivity may find Windows 11 Pro more suitable for their needs.


Gaming

While Windows 11 Home remains the preferred option for intense hardcore gaming, Windows 11 Pro offers efficient performance and capabilities, contributing to a satisfying gaming experience. It includes utilities like Game DVR for recording gameplay and ensures smoother gameplay with reduced lag.

On the other hand, Windows 11 Pro N is not optimized for high-intensity gaming. Aside from lacking features like Game DVR, it does not support media playback. As a result, gaming performance may be slightly compromised compared to Windows 11 Home and Windows 11 Pro.

In conclusion, Windows 11 Pro is ideal for professionals seeking enhanced productivity, security, and gaming capabilities. For users in Europe or Korea, Windows 11 Pro N or Pro KN may be required by regional regulations, but it is also a comprehensive choice for most users.

Also read: Uber X vs Uber Comfort: Quick Comparison

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: kumarhemant@pm.me

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