Windows 11 Home vs Windows 11 Pro: Here are the differences


Trying to choose between Windows 11 Home vs Pro? These are the main differences between the two editions you should be aware of.

As you may know, every major version of Windows comes in a few different editions. The same applies to Windows 11, which has mostly the same editions as Windows 10 aside from the upcoming Windows SE for education. For most people though, it’s going to come down to Home and Pro. These are the two editions you’ll be able to find in stores or pre-installed on computers. If you’re looking for a comparison of Home vs Pro, we’ve rounded up all the major differences here.

Summary of feature differences

If you want to see the major feature differences at a glance, here’s a quick rundown:

Feature Windows 11 Home Windows 11 Pro
Set up with a local account No Only when set up for work or school
Join Active Directory/Azure AD No Yes
Hyper-V No Yes
Windows Sandbox No Yes
Microsoft Remote Desktop Client only Yes
Windows Hello Yes Yes
Device encryption Yes Yes
Firewall and network protection Yes Yes
Internet protection Yes Yes
Parental controls/protection Yes Yes
Secure Boot Yes Yes
Windows Defender Antivirus Yes Yes
BitLocker device encryption No Yes
Windows Information Protection No Yes
Mobile device management (MDM) No Yes
Group Policy No Yes
Enterprise State Roaming with Azure No Yes
Assigned Access No Yes
Dynamic Provisioning No Yes
Windows Update for Business No Yes
Kiosk mode No Yes
Maximum RAM 128GB 2TB
Maximum no. of CPUs 1 2
Maximum no. of CPU cores 64 128

Windows 11 Home vs Pro: Setting up

With the initial release of Windows 11, the first major difference between the Home and Pro editions was that Home didn’t let you set up the PC with a local account, while Windows 11 Pro did. However, Microsoft has since changed this so that a Microsoft account is still required when setting up a Windows Pro device for home use. You can forgo a Microsoft account when setting the device up for work or school use, or you can use a workaround to bypass a Microsoft account on both Home and Pro editions.

Another difference that will be noticeable for business users is that Windows 11 Home PCs can’t be joined to Active Directory. Active Directory solutions are necessary for managing business devices, such as configuring access to certain resources, deploying apps, etc. That also includes Windows 11 features like Group Policy. Those are all professional tools, so they don’t make sense for most Windows Home users.

Windows 11 Home vs Pro: Virtualization and remote desktop

The next major difference between Home and Pro editions of Windows 11 is support for virtualization features in Windows. Windows 11 Home doesn’t support Hyper-V (officially, though you can enable it) or Windows Sandbox. Plus, while it can be used as a Remote Desktop client, it can’t be a host, so you can’t access a Windows 11 Home PC remotely using Microsoft Remote Desktop. However, you can use third-party tools like TeamViewer for similar purposes.

Meanwhile, Windows 11 Pro supports all of these features. Hyper-V is a virtualization tool built into Windows, which means you can create virtual machines with it. If you want to try a different operating system or use an older version of Windows for some reason, you can do it using Hyper-V. Virtual machines don’t make changes to your host PC, so you can do it all risk-free. Again, there are third-party apps, such as VMware Workstation Player, that let you do this on Home editions.

Windows Sandbox is an extension of this idea, but instead of running other operating systems, it just creates a clean copy of the OS you’re running. With Windows Sandbox, you can quickly install and try a potentially risky app and see if it’s dangerous before actually installing it on your machine. Windows Sandbox resets every time you open it, so it’s always a fresh start for testing.

Windows 11 Home vs Pro: Security

As business users often deal with especially sensitive information, there are also some extra security features in Windows 11 Pro. First, there’s support for BitLocker encryption. This feature encrypts data stored on your hard drive so no one else can access it. Even if your computer is stolen, your files are protected from users other than yourself.

Windows 11 Pro also comes with Windows Information Protection, or WIP. This is a data loss prevention tool, which can help prevent data from leaking from within a company. Using WIP policies, companies can prevent users from forwarding content outside of the company, for example. Since it’s built right into Windows, WIP offers a more hassle-free experience compared to third-party solutions. WIP can also separate personal and business data on a device, so if the PC is lost or stolen, business data can be deleted remotely without affecting personal data on it.

CPU and RAM support

Windows 11 Home and Pro share the same minimum system requirements, so they will mostly work on the same PCs. However, Windows 11 Home actually has different upper limits compared to Windows 11 Pro. For example, Windows 11 Home PCs can only have one CPU socket, and thus only one CPU, while the Pro edition supports two. Similarly, Windows 11 Home only supports up to 64 CPU cores, while Windows 11 Pro can have up to 128.

Windows 11 Home is also limited to “just” 128GB of RAM. Of course, that’s going to be enough for just about any regular user — even the most advanced gaming PCs don’t need this much RAM. However, Windows 11 Pro takes that up to 2TB, and that’s mostly going to be useful if you want to create lots of virtual machines with plenty of RAM assigned to them.

Enterprise management features

Of course, the bulk of the differences between Home and Pro editions of Windows 11 are for businesses. Most device management capabilities aren’t available in Windows Home at all. Windows Pro, however, supports things like Group Policy, which lets IT admins configure certain policies for groups of devices in one go. There’s also Windows Update for Business, which lets companies control how updates are rolled out to their users to avoid unexpected issues.

Features exclusive to Windows 11 Pro include:

  • Mobile device management
  • Group Policy
  • Enterprise State Roaming
  • Assigned Access
  • Dynamic Provisioning
  • Windows Update for Business
  • Kiosk mode
  • Active Directory/Azure AD


These are the core differences in Home vs Pro editions. As we’ve mentioned, most of them revolve around features meant for business users. Some are designed to protect especially sensitive information, while others have to do with quickly setting up devices for users and managing them remotely. For the average person walking into a store, you’re probably going to be just fine with Windows Home. The odds are if you need Windows Pro, you already know you need it and why.


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