What’s the difference between the Windows 8 Pro, VL and N versions?

Windows 8 Pro

If you count all the Windows 8 32bit and 64 bit versions along with the Pro and Enterprise editions, there ends up being a dizzying array of versions.

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.

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  • Dakhamat Mohammad

    Thank’s
    I have a desktop HP Compaq dc7900 with this spaces:
    wich version run perfecly on my pc

    • Dustin McFadden

      I would say that any of them would run just fine, but the Core version of Windows 8 would probably be the one you’d really need to get. If you plan on upgrading your RAM, make sure you’re buying a 64-bit version of Windows 8 so that you can use more than 4GB of system memory.

      • Dakhamat Mohammad

        ok thank you ❤Dustin McFadden❤

        • Dakhamat Mohammad

          Screenshot.

          • http://www.normonator.com/ Normonator

            You cannot overclock through the bios on that board, as it is a cheap OEM board, and most OEM boards do not support options for overclocking. Your only route would be to try software overclocking, but I would never recommend that as it usually just ends up causing major problems with little to no benefit.

          • Dakhamat Mohammad

            hhhh funny avatar Normonator ❤ please give me the name or link download of this software I dont care if this cpu damaged.

          • http://www.normonator.com/ Normonator

            Here is a link to a list of software that can be used for that purpose. I couldn’t tell you which one would work best on that board, but try at your own risk.

            http://www.techradar.com/news/software/applications/best-overclocking-software-15-top-apps-721381

            CPU Tweaker is one I have used before…

          • Dakhamat Mohammad

            ok but CPU-Tweaker support only these Cpu :

            – Intel Core i3.i5.i7.

            – AMD Phenom
            I cant find a program for intel core 2 duo,please give a name or link of program I can use to Core 2 duo
            thanks

    • Himanshu Gautam

      I have a desktop AMD

  • Snazzy Snook

    Doesn’t even make sense, in one sentence you say: The N means Windows doesn’t have Windows Media Player so you’ll need to buy it separately if you want it. Then in the following sentence you say :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.
    Now I ask does that make sense at all ? Does N have or not have the damn media player ?

    • http://sharepirate.com/ SharePirate

      obviously the person writing the article is either of this one: drunk; got a messed up thoughts; and doesnt know a proper grammar :)

    • David

      He’s saying with free players out there, it doesn’t make sense to buy the N version if you are going to buy windows media player later. Maybe if he/she put “then” before “get windows media player” it would make sense but the point is if you want media player, you probably should just buy the regular version of it instead of the n version.

    • cleopete

      It makes lots of sense if you can read at a fourth grade level. Read your own post. No, it does not have the damn media player, but you would have to be kind of stupid to want to pay extra to get something you really don’t need. VLC is much better anyway.

      • scavenger

        You should start by enrolling in that grade then, the sooner the better.
        The author’s mistake was two-fold. Firstly, Snazzy Snook is right, he contradicts himself by both saying N versions have and don’t have Media Player. What? A quantum OS! Secondly, it would have been much better to explain things plainly and let the user decide what is worth doing or not doing, for example: Microsoft was required to create the “N” editions of Windows after the European Commission ruled in 2004 that it needed to provide a copy of Windows without Windows Media Player tied in.

      • root

        cleopete you are an idiot at fourth grade level

  • Andrew Stephens

    Can someone clarify what is meant by “The VL means Volume License which means a single copy can be activated multiple times with a unique key”?
    Does it mean that a single VL product key can be used to activate multiple installations of this edition of Win8?

  • Swapnil Kashikar

    Nice. thank you for the informative post. cleared lots of doubt. :)

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