What Windows 11 SKUs are there? Are they the same as Windows 10?
Windows 11 is inching ever closer, and there’s quite a bit we already know about it. Microsoft officially announced the operating system on June 24th, and there was a lot to unpack. But of course, some questions still remain. One that might pop up in your mind is what Windows 11 SKUs exist and what you’ll be able to find on laptops. Based on what Microsoft has shared so far, the SKUs will be almost exactly the same, but there are some minor differences. There could also be an all-new SKU, though Microsoft hasn’t announced it yet.
What are Windows SKUs?
SKU, short for stock keeping unit, is a term used to designate a specific configuration of a product. For example, when you buy a laptop with a certain brand or name, you can still configure it with different components, which makes it a different SKU. It’s a similar story with Windows. You might have Windows 10, but Windows 10 Home is different from Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise. Of course, in this case, the difference is more apparent in the product name. Microsoft usually refers to different Windows SKUs as editions.
Each edition of Windows has tweaked features and capabilities, making them more adequate for specific users. The average consumer will probably be fine with Home editions. Business users might make better use of the Pro edition, with features like Remote Desktop, Hyper-V virtualization, and BitLocker encryption. Then there are even more advanced editions like Pro for Workstations, Enterprise, Education, each with different features and restrictions.
Many of these are also only available through volume licensing for organizations. As a consumer, you can only buy Home, Pro, and Pro for Workstation editions. There are also regional variants of some SKUs, such as the N editions released in Europe without built-in multimedia apps.
Will anything change?
Despite the big name change, Windows 11 still shares a lot with Windows 10. Microsoft has said that receiving the Windows 11 upgrade will be very similar to a Windows 10 feature update, so there probably aren’t any big changes to SKUs, either. In fact, Microsoft has already added Windows 11 SKUs to its lifecycle policy page, and they’re all the same as Windows 10. That includes Windows 11 Home, Pro, Pro Education, Pro for Workstations, Enterprise, Education, and IoT Enterprise. We may also see editions for specific device types, like the Teams edition for the Surface Hub and Windows Holographic for HoloLens.
However, there is one notable change coming to S mode. This is a variant of Windows 10 Home and Pro editions, but in Windows 11, S mode is exclusive to Windows 11 Home. You actually have to switch out of S mode in Windows 10 Pro to be able to receive the upgrade to Windows 11.
There could also be another new edition, though Microsoft hasn’t announced it. Thanks to a leaked build, we’ve already seen mentions of Windows 11 SE. Based on our research, it looks like Windows 11 SE is an enterprise-oriented SKU with many restrictions. The Microsoft Store doesn’t seem to work and many settings are hidden. This could be a variant of Windows 11 Enterprise with added restrictions for end-users, so device management is easier. This is also referred to as Cloud Edition, and it looks like there could be different variants of it as well, since we’ve spotted references to CloudEditionL.
Windows 11 is set to officially launch this holiday season, so we’re likely to hear more about the different editions as we get closer to a release.