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Who needs Windows 10 Pro: 5 reasons to upgrade

Who needs Windows 10 Pro: 5 reasons to upgrade

Windows 10 Professional isn’t just for cubicle dwellers who have no choice in the matter. While users who own a “professional” PC like the Surface Book 2 will automatically be upgraded to this higher-end version of the OS, smaller businesses and PC enthusiasts may also weigh the benefits of the Pro version vs. Windows 10 Home. PCWorld also has a cheap update deal going on which eliminates many of the cost concerns.

Windows 10 Professional doesn’t take anything away from Home users; it simply adds more sophisticated features. Pay attention, though: more and more devices are opting for Windows 10 Home, including Microsoft’s Surface “Pro” hardware. You may need to opt for a “Business” edition of devices like the Surface Book 3 instead to land a pre-installed Windows 10 Pro OS.

What Windows 10 Pro will cost

In general, you can pay $129 to download Windows 10 Home via Amazon, after Microsoft raised the price by $20 at the end of 2018. You can pay $200 to download Windows 10 Pro from Amazon, or pay a little less to buy it from an e-tailer. (Microsoft charges $139 for direct downloads of Windows 10 Home and $199 for Windows 10 Pro.) You may be able to take advantage of PCWorld’s special deal, however: a Windows 10 Pro license for $40.

There’s one more option: buying a “system builder” license from an e-tailer. This is usually the choice of enthusiasts, but it offers no support or even instructions from Microsoft. It’s cheaper: Windows 10 Home (OEM) is $110 at Amazon; while Windows 10 Pro (OEM) is $129 from Amazon. 

(Microsoft used to offer a “Pro Pack” to upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro; that function is now handled by the Microsoft Store app within Windows 10. Enter Windows 10 Pro in the search box and follow the instructions; Microsoft asks $99.99 for the privilege.)

Microsoft created a useful webpage for comparing the different Windows 10 versions, breaking down the reasons to upgrade to Windows Pro into four categories: the fundamentals, management and deployment, security, and Windows updates. All of them have some relevance for power users and more traditional businesses alike. While there are dozens of differences (check our original review of Windows 10 for the details), seven key aspects of Windows 10 Professional will help you decide whether the upgrade is worth it for you. (Yes, seven: Microsoft has added another!)

Mark Hachman

The differences between Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Professional lie under the hood. On the desktop, your experience should be roughly the same.

BitLocker

Microsoft’s encryption software has been developed and updated since Windows Vista, and it’s been built into Windows 10 as well. Since Windows 8.1, BitLocker has offered the option to encrypt the Windows boot drive and other fixed drives within the system, as well as USB keys and external drives.

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windows 10 bitlocker Mark Hachman

Encrypting drives is a snap with BitLocker.

BitLocker is especially handy for traveling, even if it’s just to a local cafe. Locking down your data isn’t 100-percent foolproof, but it’s a start. If a drive is encrypted, BitLocker will encrypt other files that are added to it. You also have the option to suspend encryption or remove it entirely. Files moved from a BitLocker encrypted drive to another drive are automatically decrypted. It’s really not all that complicated: logging in to your Windows PC will automatically make all your files accessible to you. It’s only if your PC is lost that BitLocker works to protect your files from being accessed by an attacker.