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Microsoft simplifies naming scheme for Windows 8

17 Apr 2012

Microsoft has confirmed that it intends to make its Windows 8 system easier for customers by limiting the number of versions available.

The company said that three editions of the OS would be made available to end users with an additional option for large-scale enterprise deployments.

For most desktop and notebook customers, the OS will be available as Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro.

The company recommends the Windows 8 build for most consumers and home users, while Windows 8 Pro will be targeted at business users and enthusiasts.

The strategy offers a simplification on the multi-version approach the company first introduced with Windows Vista. Previous incarnations have been criticised as being too complex and unclear on hardware requirements.

"We have talked about Windows 8 as Windows reimagined, from the chipset to the user experience," Microsoft Windows communication manager Brandon LeBlanc said in a company blog post introducing the naming policy.

"This also applies to the editions available, we have worked to make it easier for customers to know what edition will work best for them when they purchase a new Windows 8 PC or upgrade their existing PC."

For Windows 8, the Pro option will enable a number of premium features, including integration with BitLocker storage services and an encrypting file system.

The Pro release will also offer a number of virtualisation features including support for client Hyper-V and the ability to boot from a virtual hard drive.

Upgrades from Windows 7 will be dependent on the version being used. Customers running Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate will be limited to Windows 8 Pro updates, while other versions will have the option of updating to Windows 8.

A third version of Windows 8 will be made available to enterprise customers under the company's Software Assurance platform. The OS will include the Windows 8 Pro features as well as management and administration tools.

For ARM devices, the platform will be known as Windows RT. The first version of Windows to run on the ARM architecture, Windows RT will also include mobile device encryption support and a special build of Microsoft Office.

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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