Q. I am about to buy a new PC and there is an option for Windows XP Home edition and Professional edition. The Pro version costs $100 more. If I get the Home edition what am I missing?
A. The cost difference between XP Pro and Home versions can be significant, both for new systems and upgrades. You are wise to ask what the differences are.
There is a detailed comparison guide on the
Microsoft web site that you can check.
The two versions appear to be identical but the Pro version includes a lot of extras.. The trick is that many of these probably aren't of interest to a typical home user anyway.
If your PC will be connected to a network (especially a server based network) or if you are a "power user" always looking to push your system to the limits, you should buy XP Pro.
The Home version will give you some basic security for having multiple users on the same PC but not as much as the Pro version.
You can connect (via peer-to-peer networking) to other computers but are limited to connecting to 5 computers in the Home version. The Pro version is essential for connecting to a domain and is better for other networking.
The Home version doesn't install the Windows backup by default like the Pro version does, but it is included on the CD if you want to install it.
The Professional version is better for encrypting folders (using NTFS) for greater security and privacy. Pro offers better multi-lingual support, remote access capabilities and more tools and utilities.
Without getting too technical, if you are a business or power user get the Pro version.
If you will not be connecting to other PCs, don't care about security when sharing the PC with other users and don't need some of the other features I mentioned, you can probably get by with the Home version.
If the money doesn't matter (yeah, right) get the Pro version.
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