Pro features that
aren't in Home Edition
The following features are not present in Windows XP Home
Remote Desktop - All versions of Windows XP--including
Remote Assistance, which is an assisted support
technology that allows a help desk or system administrator
to remotely connect to a client desktop for troubleshooting
purposes. But Only Pro supports the new Remote Desktop
feature, which is a single-session version of Terminal
Services with two obvious uses: Mobile professionals who
need to remotely access their corporate desktop, and remote
administration of clients on a network. You can access a
Windows XP Remote Desktop from any OS that supports a
Terminal Services client (such as Windows 98 and,
interestingly XP Home). XP Home can act as the client in a
Remote Desktop session; only Pro can be the server.
- Multi-processor support - Windows XP Pro supports up to
two microprocessors, while Home Edition supports only one.
- Automated System Recovery (ASR) - In a somewhat
controversial move, Microsoft has removed the Backup utility
from the default Windows XP Home Edition, though it is
available as an optional installation if you can find it on
the CD-ROM (hint: it's in the /valueadd folder). The reason
for this the integration of Microsoft's new Automated System
Recovery (ASR) tool into Backup. In Pro, ASR will help
recover a system from a catastrophic error, such as one that
renders the system unbootable. ASR-enabled backups are
triggerable from XP Setup, allowing you to return your
system to its previous state, even if the hard drive dies
and has to be replaced. Unlike consumer-oriented features
such as System Restore, ASR is not automatic: It must
manually be enabled from within the Backup utility in
Windows XP Pro. In any event, while there is a Backup
utility available for Home Edition, you cannot use ASR, even
though mentions of this feature still exist in the UI.
Confusing? Yes. But it's better than no Backup at all, which
was the original plan.
- Dynamic Disk Support - Windows XP Professional (like its
Windows 2000 equivalent) supports dynamic disks, but Home
Edition does not (instead, HE supports only the standard
Simple Disk type). Dynamic disks are not usable with any OS
other than Windows 2000 or Windows XP Pro, and they cannot
be used on portable computers. Likewise, Home Edition does
not include the Logical Disk Manager.
- Fax - Home Edition has no integrated fax functionality
out of the box, though it is an option you can install from
the XP Home CD.
- Internet Information Services/Personal Web Server - Home
Edition does not include the IIS Web server 5.1 software
found in Pro.
- Encrypting File System - Windows XP Professional
supports the Encrypting File System (EFS), which allows you
encrypt individual files or folders for local security (EFS
is not enabled over a network). EFS-protected files and
folders allows users to protect sensitive documents from
access control - Any user with Administrator privileges
can limit access to certain network resources, such as
servers, directories, and files, using access control lists.
Only Windows XP Professional supports file-level access
control, mostly because this feature is typically
implemented through Group Policy Objects, which are also not
available in Home Edition.
- "C2" certification - Microsoft will attempt to have
Windows XP Professional certified with the "C2" security
designation, a largely irrelevant status, but one which will
not be afforded to Home Edition.
- Domain membership - Home Edition cannot be used to logon
to an Active Directory domain. For obvious reasons, the
Domain Wizard is also missing in Home Edition.
- Group Policy - Since Home Edition cannot be used to
logon to an Active Directory domain, Group Policy--whereby
applications, network resources, and operating systems are
administered for domain users--is not supported either.
- IntelliMirror - Microsoft lumps a wide range of
semi-related change and configuration management
technologies under the IntelliMirror umbrella, and none of
these features are supported in the consumer oriented Home
Edition. IntelliMirror capabilities include user data
management; centrally-managed software installation, repair,
updating, and removal; user settings management; and Remote
Installation Services (RIS), which allows administrators to
remotely install the OS on client systems.
- Roaming profiles - This feature allows users to logon to
any computer in an Active Directory network and
automatically receive their customized settings. It is not
available in Home Edition, which cannot logon to an Active
- Multi-language support - Only Windows XP Professional
will ship in a Multi-Language version or support multiple
languages in a single install.
- Sysprep support - Windows XP Pro will support the System
Preparation (Sysprep) utility, while Home Edition will not.
- RIS support - See the IntelliMirror heading in the
previous section; Home Edition does not support RIS
- Microsoft is shipping a 64-bit version of Windows XP for
Intel Itanium systems that mirrors the Professional Edition
The following networking features are not included in Home
- The user interface for IPSecurity (IPSec)
- Simple TCP/IP services
- SAP Agent
- Client Service for NetWare
- Network Monitor
- Multiple Roaming feature
It's also worth mentioning that Home Edition will support
upgrades from Windows 98, 98 SE, and Millennium Edition (Me),
but not from Windows 95, NT 4.0 Workstation, or Windows 2000
Professional. You can upgrade from Windows 98, 98 SE, Millennium
Edition (Me), Windows NT 4.0 Workstation, or Windows 2000
Professional to Windows XP Professional.
Windows XP Home Edition has some different default settings
that affect the user interface. For example, Guest logon is
on by default in Home, but off in Pro. The Address bar in
Explorer windows is on in Pro by default, but off in Home.
During the beta period, Microsoft had intended to use a
business-oriented shell theme ("Professional") by default in
Pro and the "Luna" consumer theme in Home Edition. But
feedback from corporate users suggested that everyone liked
the consumer-oriented Luna theme better, and development of
the Professional theme was cancelled. Other user interface
features that are present in Pro but not Home include:
- Client-side caching
- Administrative Tools option on the Start menu (a subset
of the Admin tools are still present in Home, however).
Deciding which edition to buy is simple: Peruse the above
list and decide whether you can live without any of these
features. If you can't, then you're going to want to get
Professional. Otherwise, save $100 and get Home Edition. Note
that Microsoft is offering a less-expensive Professional
"Step-Up" upgrade for Home users that wish to move to XP Pro.