XDA Basics: How to upgrade from Windows 11 Home to Pro

XDA Basics: How to upgrade from Windows 11 Home to Pro

When Windows 11 arrives later this year, it will come in a few different editions. Just like with previous Windows versions, different editions contain certain different features, which make the operating system more tailored for different users. For the general public, there are two main editions you’ll find — Windows 11 Home and Windows 11 Pro. As the name suggests, Windows 11 Pro is the more feature-rich edition, but most laptops come with the Home edition. Even Microsoft’s own Surface devices come with Windows 10 Home, with the exception of the Surface Pro 7+. In this guide, we’ll show you how to upgrade from Windows 11 Home to Pro, and why you might want to.

If you’re looking to learn a bit more about different editions, you can check out our article about Windows 11 SKUs. In addition to Home and Pro, there are numerous editions for business and education users. There are also specific editions for different kinds of devices.

Why should you want Windows 11 Pro?

As we mentioned, Windows 11 Pro contains certain features that the Home edition doesn’t have, but what exactly are you missing? Well, for most users, you’re probably just fine with Windows 11 Home. As the name suggests, the features in the Pro edition are more geared towards professionals and enterprise-managed PCs. Still, there are valid reasons to want it.

One of the Pro-exclusive features is BitLocker encryption, which helps protect the data on your PC from external attackers. Encrypting your data means only you can access it, and that’s important if you’re worried about data privacy and security.

Another exclusive feature is support for Remote Desktop. This lets you remotely connect to your PC and control it from anywhere, which can be very useful for PCs you leave at the office, for example. There’s also support for Hyper-V virtualization. This lets you create and run virtual machines, so you can test specific environments or risky software without damaging your host PC.

However, it’s worth noting there are a few apps that offer similar tools if you have Windows 11 Home. VMware Workstation Player is an example of an app for running virtual machines, and TeamViewer is good for accessing remote PCs.  You don’t need the Pro edition necessarily.

More niche features for Pro include the ability to join Azure Active Directory or a business domain. You may also like that you can set up Windows 11 Pro with a local account right away, although you can also do that on Windows 11 Home with some trickery. We have a guide on how to do just that if you’re interested.

How to upgrade

If you’re set on upgrading from Windows 11 Home to Pro, here’s what you need to do:

  • Open the Settings app and choose Activation.

Windows 11 settings with activation option highlighted

  • Expand the Upgrade your edition of Windows section to see your options. If you want to buy an upgrade to Windows 11 Pro, click Open Store.

Windows 11 upgrade settings with the Open Store option highlighted

  • You’ll see a feature comparison between Home and Pro editions of Windows with the option to buy the upgrade. The screenshot below still shows Windows 10, since Windows 11 hasn’t officially released yet.
  • Click Buy to get the new license. If you have Windows 11 Home, the upgrade should cost $99.

Windows 11 pro upgrade in the Microsoft Store

  • You’ll need to enter your password and fill in your billing details if you haven’t already.

Microsoft Store billing information

  • Once you buy and apply the upgrade, your PC has to restart to enable the new features. If you already have a product key for Windows 11 Pro, you can click Change next to Change product key.

Windows 11 upgrade settings with the option to enter a product key hihglighted

  • You’ll be asked for administrator permission to run the Windows Activation tool, then you can enter your Windows 11 Pro product key.

Enter a Windows 11 Pro activation product key to upgrade from Windows 11 Home

  • Once the key is validated, you’ll need to restart your PC to enable the Pro features.

Windows 11 Home and Pro are actually based on the same installation files, so you don’t have to reinstall Windows or anything to upgrade. A simple restart will configure your version of Windows, and you’ll be good to go the next time you use your PC.

If you’re looking to buy a new Windows laptop that can upgrade to Windows 11 later this year, you can check out our list of best laptops. Most of them are running Windows 10 Home, which means you’ll also get Windows 11 Home when you get the update. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 would be an exception, since it ships with Windows 10 Pro and will get Windows 11 Pro after the update.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Writer at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.