Microsoft Keeping Windows 8 Versions to a Minimum

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-04-17 Print this article Print


5. Consider the upgrade policy

As one might expect, Microsoft won't force current customers to buy all new versions of Windows 8. Instead, the company says current Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic and Home Premium customers will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate users will only be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro. Windows RT comes with no upgrading support.

6. Remote Desktop isn't universal

Remote Desktop support is arguably one of the most compelling features in Windows 8 for both tech enthusiasts and enterprise users. However, the option is not universal. In fact, Microsoft says Remote Desktop (host) will only be available in the Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise editions. Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT customers will be out of luck.

7. Simplicity reigns supreme

Remember all of the versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7 that Microsoft launched over the years? It was extremely difficult for customers to keep them straight. With Windows 8, however, just four versions are available, and only two of them are even available to consumers. It's a nice departure from the past, and it should help Microsoft increase revenue.

8. Office comes with Windows RT (but no others)

Surprisingly, Microsoft will be preinstalling Office (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote) in Windows RT. But in the standard Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro builds, that will not happen. Microsoft doesn't say why it's bundling Office in Windows 8 RT, and there's no word on how it might impact its Office-related revenue. But folks using that platform should be quite pleased to see that they won't need to dole out any more cash to get the productivity suite.

9. Windows RT will only come preinstalled

Although customers can buy Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro and install them on their computers at will, Windows 8 RT won't come with the same option. Instead, Microsoft says that platform will be available solely as a preinstalled option on tablets and other devices that might use it. Too bad.

10. We still don't have a price or release date

Finally, and perhaps most importantly to customers, we still don't know how much the Windows 8 versions will cost nor when they will launch. In a blog post announcing the versions, Microsoft said it plans to make more information available "in the coming months." Until then, you can try out the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 to find out if it's right for you.

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Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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