Differences between Windows 11 editions and their keys

Windows 11 editions

When it comes to installing Windows, there are many different versions and editions. We use the Microsoft operating system on our home computer or our work computer, in many cases. But not all of them are the same, although they may seem so to you. Therefore, we are going to analyze and review the differences between the editions of Windows. What editions are there, what are the main differences between Pro or Home, what are the editions of Windows for schools and institutes.

If you do not know which one you should buy or which one suits you best, we will explain it to you. We must first bear in mind that there are many different editions, although generally yours will be the Home or the Pro at the user level, but they are not the only ones and it is important that you know that there are others that may interest you if you teach at a school or institute or simply if you have a company and want to buy licenses for all computers.

What to consider

There are several important aspects that we must take into account when differentiating between editions of Windows. First, we differentiate between edition and version of the operating system. But we must also know what OEM, Retail licenses mean…

Differences between edition and version

We must bear in mind that we must know how to differentiate between the version of the operating system and the different type of edition that we have. versions and editions. In other words, you may have Windows 10 as the version of the operating system (as opposed to Windows 11 or Windows 7), but within Windows 10 we find several different editions with different characteristics, advantages and disadvantages, and different prices. We speak of edition when it is the same version (Windows 10, for example, or Windows 11) but with different features focused on a specific area. Each one has a different target audience: to use at home, for companies, for educational institutions…

We find more than ten different versions of Windows 10: Windows 10 Home, Pro, Enterprise, Education, Mobile S, Pro Workstation, Mobile Enterprise, Team, Pro Education… Each one is designed for a different field, although Windows 10 Home is usually the usual and the standard version. In the case of Windows 11, the same thing happens today: the normal thing is to bet on Windows 11 Home or Windows 11 Pro, but there are many others. Other versions of Windows 11 such as: Windows Pro Education, Windows Education, Windows 11 Mixed Reality, Windows 11 Enterprise, Windows 11 Pro for Workstations.

Types of editions

Windows 11 editions
Windows 11

We must also know what is OEM, what is Retail or Volume. They are types of editions when buying them. For example, we can buy Windows 11 Home in retail, OEM or volume but we can only buy Windows 11 Enterprise or Education in volume. Therefore, it is important to be clear about what this means.

  • OEM

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer or, what is the same, Windows OEM licenses are those that have been created for computer manufacturers and that are already pre-installed on the computer when you use it. These are licenses that can only be used on one computer. That is, you buy the computer with Windows already installed. They are the most used and are usually the cheapest. They are the ones you will normally use and buy.

  • Retail

For its part, Retail is a more expensive Windows license but it can serve us better in the long term if we intend to make major changes to the hardware because it will remain valid. It is focused on versions for a single user but if we want it to continue working even if we make changes to the computer.

  • Volume

Volume are licenses that can be used on several computers at the same time and are designed to be used on several computers if, for example, you have a company. They are the ones that we can use in companies or in teams of a school or an institute if we want several independent computers that have access to Windows. Generally we can only buy this type in the case of Windows Enterprise, Education, etc.

Editions of Windows 11

There are common features that all editions of Windows have. That is, they all have the browser, they all have device encryption or tools that allow us to access email, for example. But there are also other characteristics and differences between them and we will review them below.

Windows Home

Windows Home is the basic edition and the one that is intended for any user, at home. The desktop and laptop edition that is designed to satisfy all the needs that we may have in our day to day and that will help us both personally and professionally. We have access to the browser with Microsoft Edge, we have services like Cortana or all the native Microsoft applications are included for its users: the calendar, maps, photos, video, email and everything else.

We have access to the Microsoft Store, Microsoft Edge, and in recent versions of Windows we have docking layouts or the “desktops” feature in addition to widgets. It is also compatible with Microsoft Team, with tablet mode and with basic functions such as parental control or the Game Bar for games.

Windows Pro

The second most common is Windows Pro. A version that is also designed for laptops and desktops and for any user, but here the intention is to go to professional users or SMEs. We can buy it individually and it is focused on a more advanced and complete use but without the need to have a company package to access it. If you usually work with the computer, Windows Pro offers us some extraordinary advantages that improve productivity, that make it easier for us to have groups to work, more security, etc.

It gives us some functions that the first one does not have. For example, Microsoft Store for Business, mobile device management, assigned access… But most importantly, device encryption with BitLocker or Windows Information Protection (WIP). In general, Windows Pro offers us more management, productivity, security and organization tools on devices.

It offers security enhancements like BitLocker to protect hard drive encryption but the vast majority of changes are offered at the corporate level: Windows Update for Business, Active Directory, Azure Active Directory support, full screen settings, Group Policy, dynamic provisioning…

Windows Education

Less common than the previous ones, but its very name tells us who it is aimed at: Windows Education is the version focused on schools. It is a « volume » type license and not for the individual purchase of a boy or a girl. For a school, an institute. Specifically designed for students and with their own tools.

As Microsoft explains from its own website, about its most recent version, “Windows 11 allows you to offer each student, regardless of their level, high-quality learning tools on secure devices, easy to deploy and manage” Tools adapted for students students and that work on educational devices at affordable prices. It is not necessary to have great features for these tools to work correctly on the computer.

It allows access to Microsoft Teams designed for video calls or online classes, it allows access to Microsoft 365 Education with plans that encourage teamwork and collaboration as well as foster creativity among students with immersive and interesting applications and with security and protection. In addition, some versions of Windows Education have included tools such as Microsoft Whiteboard for online training, tools such as Learning Tools or Minecraft: Education Edition, with the popular game among children and young people.

Windows Enterprise

As its name suggests, Enterprise is the version of Windows for companies. The main difference with Windows Pro is that here it is aimed at larger companies. Not to freelancers or SMEs but to large companies that want to have computers with Windows and control of the data that is shared between them, with security control, etc. As in the case of Windows Education, this is not a license that is purchased individually but rather in volume.

In terms of functions, it has the basics: different languages, browser, Cortana, Windows Hello, Remote Desktop… At the user level, the characteristics are practically identical and if you use it at work you won’t notice anything. But it does have additions that make it an essential option for large companies and that allow us to manage content in the cloud, the different teams, online security.

Other versions

Although they are less common than the previous ones, there are other editions. Windows editions that unify some of the previous ones. For example, ProEducation. Or others, like Windows Mobile focused on mobile phones or tablets. Pro Education, as its name suggests, is an advanced and superior version for schools but with more features. It allows manufacturers to have special licenses in some countries to adapt the equipment for primary and secondary education.

In the case of Windows 11 we have Windows 11 SE, a version for education that allows teachers to have a simple and distraction-free environment for students and that allows secure, easy-to-manage computers that always work well. It has controlled application installation, cloud storage, battery life improvement functions… It is a version designed for inclusion and affordability. From the Microsoft website they define it as: “Reimagined for a new era of digital learning. Windows 11 helps unlock the full potential of every student with tools to learn, collaborate and create, all in a secure and trusted environment.”

Other aspects: What is KMS?

Another aspect that we must take into account about Windows editions and licenses is the KMS concept . KMS stands for Key Management System and is the key system that Windows uses to verify that the license is real. Brilliantly, KMS is used by companies that have many computers connected to the same local network and use this technology to activate Windows services using said local network. We can perform the activation without the need to be connected to the Microsoft network.

To use the KMS or Key Management Service, one of the computers on the local network must act as a KMS host so that the others can be activated. Windows makes available to users the KMS client product keys tied to each edition of the operating system. For example:

  • Windows 11 Pro y 10 Pro: W269N-WFGWX-YVC9B-4J6C9-T83GX
  • Windows 11 Pro N y 10 Pro N: MH37W-N47XK-V7XM9-C7227-GCQG9
  • Windows 10 y 11 Pro for Workstations: NRG8B-VKK3Q-CXVCJ-9G2XF-6Q84J
  • Windows 10 y 11 Pro for Workstations N: 9FNHH-K3HBT-3W4TD-6383H-6XYWF
  • Windows 10 y 11 Pro Education: NW6C2-QMPVW-D7KKK-3GKT6-VCFB2
  • Windows 10 y 11 Pro Education N: YVWGF-BXNMC-HTQYQ-CPQ99-66QFC
  • Windows 10 y 11 Education: NW6C2-QMPVW-D7KKK-3GKT6-VCFB2
  • Windows 10 y 11 Enterprise: NPPR9-FWDCX-D2C8J-H872K-2YT43
  • Windows 10 y 11 Enterprise N: DPH2V-TTNVB-4X9Q3-TJR4H-KHJW4
  • Windows 10 y 11 Enterprise G: YYVX9-NTFWV-6MDM3-9PT4T-4M68B
  • Windows 10 y 11 Enterprise G N: 44RPN-FTY23-9VTTB-MP9BX-T84FV

Is KMS the same as KMSPico? We often associate KMS with KMSPico, a software that illegally activates licenses for the operating system. Is not the same. This is an operating system activator, a popular program that gives users the option to access Microsoft services for free. But its use is not legal and can pose a malware risk to your computer.

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