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Differences with Windows XP Home Edition

Published: November 03, 2005

Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition is the new operating system for home users who currently use Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows 98, or Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me). In addition to features included with Windows XP Home Edition, Windows XP Professional includes advanced and business features that focus on productivity in the workplace.

For information on how to obtain the Windows XP Professional Resource Kit in its entirety, please see http://www.microsoft.com/mspress/books/6795.asp.

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Related Information
Windows XP Home Edition Overview
Comparing Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional Feature Differences
Additional Resources

Related Information

  • For more information about installing Windows XP Professional, see Chapter 1, “Planning Deployments.”

Windows XP Home Edition Overview

Windows XP provides improvements over Windows 2000 Professional designed to appeal to both business and home users. Enhancements include:

  • Improved application and hardware device compatibility

  • Simplified security and logging on

  • Fast user switching

  • A new user interface with simplified WebViews

  • Enhanced digital media support for movies, pictures, and music

  • A software-based firewall to protect against outside security threats on the Internet

  • Support for Direct X version 8.0 technology for gaming

Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Me were designed to support both home and business users. Windows XP Home Edition is designed specifically for home users. It provides them with the reliability and security of Windows XP Professional and the efficient simplicity of Windows Me. Windows XP Home Edition offers enhanced support for computer games, storage of digital media (such as the My Movies and My Music folders), and wizards for connecting to the Internet.

The hardware requirements for installing Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional are similar; however, Windows XP Home Edition supports only one CPU.

Users can upgrade to Windows XP Home Edition from Windows 98 or Windows Me-but not from Windows 95, Microsoft Windows NT Workstation, or Windows 2000 Professional. You can upgrade to Windows XP Professional from any of those operating systems, except Windows 95.

Note There is no 64-bit version of Windows XP Home Edition.

For more information about hardware requirements and compatibility for installing Windows XP Professional, see Chapter 1, “Planning Deployments.”

Comparing Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional Feature Differences

Because Windows XP Professional is targeted to businesses, it contains several features that are not included with Windows XP Home Edition. These features can be categorized into two groups:

  • Functionality that is important for business use but typically not for home use

  • Complexity that adds value for business use but typically not for home use

Although Windows XP Professional is targeted to businesses, home users might also require or gain advantage from using Windows XP Professional features that are not included in Windows XP Home Edition.

Features not included in Windows XP Home Edition are mostly in the following categories:

  • Corporate management

  • Corporate security

  • Networking

  • File system

  • User Interface

  • Advanced and power-user

    Warning Computers running Windows XP Home Edition cannot join corporate domains. For this reason, features that require machine accounts within a domain, such as Group Policy, are not available in Windows XP Home Edition.

Corporate Management

IntelliMirror allows organizations to manage desktop computers by using Active Directory to reduce maintenance and support costs. The features that make up IntelliMirror-including Group Policy, Group Policy Editor (Gpedit.msc), roaming user profiles, and folder redirection-require computers to have accounts in a domain that uses Active Directory. Those features are not included in Windows XP Home Edition. Also, you cannot deploy applications to computers running Windows XP Home Edition by publishing them using Active Directory.

For more information about IntelliMirror features, see Chapter 5, “Managing Desktops.”

Because they cannot be joined to a domain, you cannot manage computers running Windows XP Home Edition by using login scripts.

The following corporate management features are not included with Windows XP Home Edition:

  • Folder Redirection

  • Group Policy settings

  • Local Policy settings

  • System Policy settings (Poledit.exe)

  • Roaming User Profiles

  • Offline Files and Folders

  • Software Installation and Maintenance

  • Remote Installation Services (RIS)

Corporate Security

Features such as Encrypting File System (EFS) and computer domain account support add complexity that is primarily for business use and therefore is not supported in Windows XP Home Edition. Windows XP Home Edition offers security features that are important for home users, especially those using cable modems or other Internet connection methods that do not require dialing into an ISP to browse the Web or read e-mail. Windows XP Service Pack 2 enhances the security of Windows XP Home Edition by prompting the user to enable Automatic Updates after the Service Pack is installed and by enabling the new Windows Firewall feature by default. For more information, see Chapter 22, “Implementing Windows Firewall.”

Users of Windows XP Home Edition might need to remotely access resources on corporate local area networks (LANs). Stored User Names and Passwords allow users to authenticate to remote networks and to access shares on domains. Domain-based credentials cannot be stored on a computer running Windows XP Home Edition. However, when connecting to a domain by using Remote Access or virtual private networking (VPN), the user’s remote access credentials are stored during that session to allow user access to domain resources.

In addition, you cannot control access to local shares on a computer running Windows XP Home Edition from the domain’s user-level security. For more information about using Stored User Names and Passwords, see Chapter 17, “Managing Authorization and Access Control,” and Chapter 16, “Understanding Logon and Authentication.”

Windows XP Home Edition uses a slightly different scheme than Windows XP Professional to identify security groups. Backup Operators, Power Users, and Replicator groups are removed from Windows XP Home Edition. Instead, Restricted Users are added as a group to Windows XP Home Edition, and the Administrators group is replaced by the Owners group. By default, all interactive users are logged on as members of the Owners local group and have rights to install software and modify the system. Network logons are allowed only for the Guest account, which is enabled by default. In addition, in Windows XP Home Edition, users can log on to the Owners account only by using safe mode.

The following security features are not included with Windows XP Home Edition:

  • Encrypting File System (EFS)

  • Computer domain account support

  • Access Control List (ACL) Editor

  • Administrative shares (available only when joined to a domain)

  • Log on using dial-up connection option in Log On to Windows dialog box

  • Security-related Group Policy settings

Because it is not intended for corporate network use, Windows XP Home Edition will not be submitted for Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation (CCITSE) certification.

For more information about user rights in Windows XP Professional, see Appendix B, “User Rights.” For more information about security groups in Windows XP Home Edition, see Windows XP Home Edition Help and Support Center.

Networking Features

Many networking features are identical in Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home Edition. The main differences involve connection limits and simplification. While Windows XP Professional allows up to 10 simultaneous file-sharing connections, Windows XP Home Edition allows up to five connections only.

Note For critical details about the connection limits for each version of Windows XP, see the End User License Agreement (EULA) included with the operating system.

Some advanced network components designed for corporate networks-the user interface for the IPSec manual configuration, for example-are not included in Windows XP Home Edition. Also, Client Service for NetWare is not included.

File System Features

Automated System Recovery (ASR), which is designed for computers such as servers and advanced workstations that have complex disk configurations, is not included with Windows XP Home Edition. Typically, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) provide home users with a system recovery CD, and users can use the System Restore feature in Windows XP Home Edition to repair a damaged system. For more information about System Restore, see Appendix C, “Tools for Troubleshooting.”

Dynamic disks are not supported in Windows XP Home Edition, and you cannot convert disks to dynamic disk or import dynamic disks from another computer. Backup is included with Windows XP Home Edition but not installed by default. Users who want to use this feature must install it from the installation CD.

Windows XP Home Edition supports the FAT, FAT32, and NTFS file systems. To take advantage of large disk and file support, performance increases, and file security in Windows XP, use NTFS as your file system. However, Windows XP Home Edition does not support EFS, and it allows only limited control over Access Control Lists (ACLS) to allow simple file sharing. Simplified file sharing in Windows XP allows for three states: Me Only, Local Users, and The World (either the user’s network or the Internet). File sharing is implemented by using the Guest account.

User Interface Features

Most of the user interface differences between Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home Edition are in the default settings, including those determined by whether the computer is part of a Windows-based domain. For example, because computers running Windows XP Home Edition cannot have computer accounts on Windows domains, the default settings are simple logon and simple user accounts control. There are also some differences in the default settings for the Quick Launch toolbar and in Start menu options.

Table D-1 compares some of the default settings in Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home Edition.

Table D-1 Default Settings in Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home Edition

Feature

Windows XP Professional

Windows XP Home Edition

Guest Logon

Off by default

On by default

Ability to move the taskbar

On by default

Off by default

QuickLaunch bar

On by default

Off by default

Advanced or Power-User Features

Localized versions of Windows XP Home Edition and all versions of Windows XP support character input, display, and printing of over 60 languages. However, the multilanguage user interface that allows you to dynamically change language version user interfaces is available only through licensing intended for corporations and is not included with Windows XP Home Edition. Users who want to remotely administer their computers to manage a simple Web server or to use other advanced features can do so by using Windows XP Professional.

The following advanced features are not included in Windows XP Home Edition:

  • Remote Desktop Service

  • Multiprocessor support

  • Multilanguage user interface

  • Start menu option to show administrative tools

  • Internet Information Services (IIS)

    Note Windows XP does not support the Personal Web Server (PWS) component of Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows 98 SE. IIS is included with Windows XP Professional to allow users to manage simple Web servers.

Additional Resources

These resources contain additional information and tools related to this appendix.

Related Information

  • Windows XP Professional Help and Support Center, for more information about configuring and using Windows XP Professional

  • Windows XP Home Edition Help and Support Center, for more information about configuring and using Windows XP Home Edition

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