Hang on, how many Windows 8 versions are there?

Apr 17, 2012
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Hang on, how many Windows 8 versions are there?

Microsoft tried to make its Windows 8 range straightforward, but already confusion abounds over quite how many versions of the new OS there are: three, four, or even more than that. The variant headcount began to swell after Microsoft initially confirmed three options: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT, the latter being the freshly-renamed Windows-on-ARM. However, the seeds of disarray were already being sewn.

Microsoft buried mention of a few extra versions in among that initial announcement, including a Chinese-language specific build along with several other iterations for "select markets." Exactly which markets they'll be has not been specified.

Meanwhile, there's also Windows 8 Enterprise, targeted at - as the name suggests - big IT organizations with multiple machines. "Windows 8 Enterprise includes all the features of Windows 8 Pro" the company's Brandon LeBlanc explained, "plus features for IT organization that enable PC management and deployment, advanced security, virtualization, new mobility scenarios, and much more."

So, exactly how many versions of Windows 8 will there be? Upward of five, it would seem, counting language-specific builds. But, consumers will only need to worry themselves about three of those at most - deciding between Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro if they're upgrading, or facing Windows RT on new, ARM-based machines - when it comes to launch time.


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