Most business users are familiar with Microsoft Windows and understand the difference between the home and pro versions. Windows Pro also offers a variety of features that are designed for businesses and professional users. These include connecting to a workplace domain and accessing advanced networking tools like Remote Desktop. It also allows for granular control over updates so they can be delayed or skipped altogether.
When choosing an operating system for a work computer, you’ll find that Microsoft Windows is the most popular choice. It’s the platform that nearly everyone is familiar with and can use without training. This means your employees will be more productive using systems they are already comfortable with, which can help reduce training costs and the need for IT support staff. Unlike the version of Windows found on consumer laptops, Windows 10 Pro versions of the OS come with several advanced features that can be particularly beneficial for businesses. One of the most important is group policies, which can be used to set up rules that apply to every machine on a network. This could include IT security measures, such as blocking access to certain websites, to more creative features, like setting a custom branded wallpaper for every employee’s machine. Another feature is the ability to defer Windows updates, which can be particularly helpful if you’re running a mission-critical business and need time to test new software before rolling it out for all employees. Finally, Windows Pro offers a particular version of the Microsoft Store for Business that provides a wide selection of productivity and security apps that can be easily distributed to employees. Kiosk Mode is another tool geared exclusively to businesses, which allows administrators to lock down a device to run a single app or to a limited set of apps that can be controlled remotely. This can be useful for business kiosks, store point-of-sale systems, and airport self-checkout terminals.
Employees constantly access business information and files when working from home, in the office, or on the go. Remote access software allows them to do this seamlessly and securely. It also helps technical support teams troubleshoot devices remotely. Besides remote access, the Pro version of Windows has other features that make it an ideal choice for businesses. These include the ability to connect to a workplace domain and BitLocker encryption. These tools protect data from theft and unauthorized access and benefit small businesses lacking dedicated IT departments. The Pro edition of Windows also has an Update for Business feature, which lets administrators simultaneously update multiple laptops on a domain from a central PC or via the cloud. This saves time and ensures that all work devices are updated with the latest security patches. Other features of the Windows Pro edition that can help your small business include file-sharing apps, allowing employees to collaborate on projects and share files even when working offsite or out of the office. Programs such as Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive enable this collaboration from anywhere with an internet connection. This enhances productivity and can even lead to new business opportunities.
Virtualization allows a single system to emulate multiple hardware systems. These “virtual machines” can have their own Operating System and desktop and can use separate software applications for different tasks. Each VM is isolated from the host system and can only access hardware resources through virtualized drivers. This eliminates software conflicts and ensures that problems with one VM do not spread to other VMs. Virtualized systems can be “spun up” in minutes when the original machine is offline, which minimizes downtime and provides a powerful fail-safe for your business. In addition, updates and patches can be applied automatically to virtual servers, eliminating the need for scheduled downtime to apply these critical fixes. Virtualization also saves money by reducing the number of physical hardware systems needed to meet workload demands. This lowers hardware costs, reduces data center space requirements and power consumption, and extends the lifespan of your equipment by avoiding frequent replacement cycles.
Powerful Management Tools
As a version of Windows designed for businesses, Pro includes features that can help business users manage their computers. These include primary security tools such as Bitlocker, which makes it easy for users to encrypt external flash drives, and Assigned Access 8.1, which gives administrators the ability to lock specific apps on devices (similar to what Kiosk Mode would do in a point-of-sale system or self-checkout at an airport). Also included is Client Hyper-V, which offers a built-in virtualization solution. Additionally, the Enterprise edition of Windows 10 provides even more management tools for medium to large businesses. These features can help enterprises manage IT systems more efficiently by allowing them to defer Windows updates and create custom profiles for specific applications or groups of users. However, these features are unlikely to be valid for regular home use. After all, home users typically do not need powerful computer hardware or advanced security features to carry out their work or hobbies. For these reasons, most home users should consider using the standard version of Windows instead of Pro.