Microsoft has created no fewer than seven editions of Windows 11, but there are only two most consumers will care about.
Windows 11 Home is the core experience most people will be familiar with, and the version we use for most Windows 11 content on the site. As the name suggests, it’s designed for people who primarily use Windows at home or in their personal life.
However, for some people, it’s also worth considering Windows 11 Pro. It might be built with business use in mind, but there are some useful features that individuals may use. Everything in Windows 11 Home is also available in Pro, but what do you actually get if you upgrade? Here’s everything you need to know.
The differences between Windows 11 Home and Pro
In most situations, you won’t notice a difference between the two versions. Alongside all the regular features, the following extra functionality is also available in Windows 11 Pro:
- BitLocker – encryption tool for entire files and drives
- Encryption File System (EFS) – encryption tool for individual files and folders
- Windows Information Protection (WIP) – tool to protect against accidental data leaks from apps and services such as email, social media and cloud storage, all of which can’t be controlled by the enterprise
- Group Policy – tools to access and manage PCs, user accounts, files printers and more remotely
- Group Policy Editor – a user-friendly way to enable or disable specific functions or elements within Windows 11, without the need to make Registry changes
- Local Users and Groups – tools which allow administrators to make local and remote computers in one place
- Kiosk mode setup – lets you configure a device fully remotely using Microsoft’s Mobile Device Management
- Hyper-V – built-in tool for creating virtual machines, a full simulation of a Windows 11 device entirely based on software
- Assigned Access – runs different apps depending on the user, keeping individual experiences separate and secure
- Dynamic Provisioning – makes it easier to set up your Windows 11 device and get connected with your organisation, with a shorter process than usual
- Enterprise State Roaming – using Microsoft’s cloud computing service Azure, this helps provide a more consistent experience across all Windows 11 devices whilst reducing the setup time required
- Active Directory – storage of details on every Windows domain network, so is relied on by a variety of other features, with standard and Azure versions included
- The ability to set up a device without a Microsoft account
- Business-specific versions of the Microsoft Store and Windows Update
As you can see, a lot of these features focus on security. But that’s only because businesses tend to be more vulnerable to breaches or serious data loss, with the consequences usually more widespread.
Windows 11 Home is still very secure, especially compared to Windows 10. That’s reflected in a TPM 2.0 chip and Secure Boot support being among its key hardware requirements.
Which Windows 11 Pro features might Windows 11 Home users want?
There are two key features it might be worth upgrading for, but workarounds are available for both.
High-quality encryption can be achieved using a free tool such as VeraCrypt, which is also available for Linux and macOS. It’s regularly updated and available to download now.
If you don’t want to use a Microsoft account, the solution is even easier. Make sure you skip the setup page asking you to connect to the internet, then type any information in the Microsoft account fields. This will produce an error message, but you’ll be able to proceed to local account setup instead. Learn more in our separate guide on how to set up Windows 11 without a Microsoft account.
How to install Windows 11 Pro
If you already have Windows 11 Home installed, it’s easy to upgrade to Pro.
Just head to Start > Settings > System > Activation and click ‘Upgrade in the Microsoft app’ next to ‘Open Store’. This will cost you $199/£219.99.
But if you’re still running Windows 10 Home, you can upgrade to Pro before installing Windows 11 instead. That’ll cost you $199.99/£219.99.
Another option is to purchase a product key online and enter it in Settings by clicking ‘Change product key’. This might work out cheaper, but make sure you verify the trustworthiness of the site you’re buying from.
Related articles you may like