This is confusing, especially as you’re considering which version to buy based on offered features.
The VL means Volume License which means a single copy can be activated multiple times with a unique key. Usually, Windows 8 Enterprise is sold under the VL type but it’s not impossible for Windows 8 Pro to share the same designation.
The N means Windows doesn’t have Windows Media Player so you’ll need to buy it separately if you want it. But, to be honest, with free players like VLC player that supports almost every codec known to man, it doesn’t make sense to purchase Windows 8 Pro N just to get Windows Media Player.
This is how the Windows 8 version break down:
- Windows RT
- Windows 8
- Windows 8 Pro
- Windows 8 Enterprise
Windows RT is installed on the Microsoft Surface tablet. Since it’s built for tablets it doesn’t have all the features of the other Windows editions. For example, it only has a partial desktop, only supports Windows Store Apps, doesn’t come with Windows Media Player and can’t join a corporate domain. On the positive side, Surface does comes bundled with Microsoft Office and despite a $900 million dollar write down on the tablet, Microsoft is allegedly working on a faster, sleeker Surface tablet called the Surface 2.
Windows 8, without any suffixes, is what most people have in mind when considering Windows 8. This is what’s known as the Core or Basic edition of Windows and is aimed at the home market. The majority of consumers will purchase Windows 8 Core.. Unless you’re buying Windows 8 for your company or prefer the Surface tablet, you’ll want this version of Windows. The upgrade is currently $119.99 USD.
Windows 8 Pro is analogous to Windows 7 Pro and Ultimate. Businesses and gadget geeks will buy this edition so they can use integrated features such as Remote Desktop, Group Policy and BitLocker,
Windows 8 Enterprise is geared toward businesses like Pro but also contains extra features such as BranchCache and Windows To Go to help IT departments organize their Microsoft assets.