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With the free upgrade period for Windows 10 Act NOW to Keep Your Windows 10 Upgrade Free After July 29 Act NOW to Keep Your Windows 10 Upgrade Free After July 29 Microsoft has confirmed that the free Windows 10 upgrade will expire. After July 29, a Windows 10 license will cost $119. We show you how to become eligible to install Windows 10 for free, even... Read More coming to a close, many users are now happily on Windows 10. Though you can dodge Microsoft’s many techniques to get you to Windows 10 Microsoft Strikes Again - How to NOT Upgrade to Windows 10 Microsoft Strikes Again - How to NOT Upgrade to Windows 10 Windows 10 is now a recommended update on Windows 7 and 8.1 computers. If you're not yet ready to upgrade, it's time to double-check your Windows Update settings. We show you how. Read More and stay on 7 or 8, you’ll gain all sorts of new features 10 Compelling Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10 10 Compelling Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10 Windows 10 is coming on July 29. Is it worth upgrading for free? If you are looking forward to Cortana, state of the art gaming, or better support for hybrid devices - yes, definitely! And... Read More by upgrading.

While not as complex as prior versions of Windows Windows 7 Editions Explained In Simple Terms Windows 7 Editions Explained In Simple Terms Read More , Windows 10 also offers two distinct editions — Home and Pro (UK). If you’re a Windows 10 Home user, you might be wondering if you should upgrade to gain new functionality. Let’s find out if it’s worth upgrading for you!

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The Basics

If you upgraded from Windows 7 or 8, your edition of Windows 10 matches the prior version — so Windows 7 Home Premium would upgrade to Windows 10 Home, and Windows 8.1 Pro would upgrade to Windows 10 Pro; check the full chart from Microsoft, if you’re not sure which route applies to you. If you bought your PC new with Windows 10, it’s probably the Home edition.

You can check which edition you’re using by right-clicking the Start button, clicking System, and finding the Windows Edition. Once the free upgrade period ends, Windows 10 Home will cost $119, while Pro will run you $199. Home users can pay $99 to jump up to Pro Microsoft Just Released a Free Key for Windows 10 Pro Microsoft Just Released a Free Key for Windows 10 Pro A free product key for Windows 10 Pro is floating around, but what does it mean and how can you take advantage of it? Read More (check our licensing FAQ The Ultimate Windows 10 Activation & License FAQ The Ultimate Windows 10 Activation & License FAQ One of the big confusions surrounding Windows 10 concerns its licensing and activation. This FAQ will shed some light, explain what has changed with Windows 10 version 1511 (Fall Update), and translate activation-related error codes. Read More for more info).

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Should you pay to upgrade to Pro? Here are the features you’ll get.

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Features Included With the Upgrade

Here are the extra features in Windows 10 Pro you might care about getting.

1. Remote Desktop

Windows has included its own Remote Desktop tool for quite a few iterations, and the trend continues with Windows 10. Home users can initiate a remote session to control another computer, but those systems cannot be controlled remotely by another user. This means that if you want to be able to set up your PC for anywhere access, you’ll need Windows 10 Pro.

Of course, this is a task you can easily work around with a free remote control application, such as TeamViewer 11 Tips For Using Team Viewer - The Best Free Remote Desktop Connection Manager 11 Tips For Using Team Viewer - The Best Free Remote Desktop Connection Manager Whenever you're in need of a free remote desktop client with advanced features, TeamViewer should be your first choice. Let us highlight its unique features. Read More or other clever solutions 3 Unique Ways To Remotely Control Your Windows Desktop 3 Unique Ways To Remotely Control Your Windows Desktop Care for a little remote desktop control magic? We present non mainstream methods for accessing your computer remotely using a Chrome extension, SSH clients, or over the air using your mobile device. Read More . Most home users will do fine with one of these alternatives.

2. BitLocker

Encryption is all over the place in the news Why WhatsApp's End-to-End Encryption Is a Big Deal Why WhatsApp's End-to-End Encryption Is a Big Deal WhatsApp recently announced that they would be enabling end-to-end encryption in their service. But what does this mean for you? Here's what you need to know about WhatsApp encryption. Read More these days, and for good reason. With plenty of prying eyes around looking to snoop on your data, you’ll want to protect your information. BitLocker, Microsoft’s built-in disk encryption software for Windows, is only available for Windows 10 Pro users.

It’s a great tool for simple and powerful encryption, and it’s nice to have a solution integrated into the operating system (OS), but it’s not the only choice here. The former king of encryption software is no longer around, but you can choose from plenty of free TrueCrypt alternatives TrueCrypt Is Dead: 4 Disk Encryption Alternatives For Windows TrueCrypt Is Dead: 4 Disk Encryption Alternatives For Windows Read More for locking up your files.

Find out more about encryption How Does Encryption Work, and Is It Really Safe? How Does Encryption Work, and Is It Really Safe? Read More , if you’re curious as to what all the fuss is about.

3. Hyper-V

Hyper-V is one of those Windows features you probably had no idea about Windows Can Do THIS? 15 Surprising Features You Had No Clue About Windows Can Do THIS? 15 Surprising Features You Had No Clue About Windows can do a lot more than you may think. Even if you're a veteran Windows user, I bet you'll discover a feature in our list that you never knew existed. Read More , so chances are you won’t miss it, if you skip Windows 10 Pro. Hyper-V is a virtual machine (VM) manager, allowing you to run virtual operating systems on your computer. These are great for test-driving Linux Curious About Linux? 5 Easy & No Risk Ways To Try Linux On Your Windows PC Curious About Linux? 5 Easy & No Risk Ways To Try Linux On Your Windows PC Want to check out Linux, but fear you might wreck your existing Windows installation? Don't. There are plenty of risk-free ways to try Linux, from live CDs to USB keys to virtual machines. Whether you're... Read More or being able to experiment without worrying about breaking anything Testing A New Operating System? Stay Secure With A Virtual Machine Testing A New Operating System? Stay Secure With A Virtual Machine Read More .

The explanation is the same with this one: Hyper-V is a great tool, but for the casual VM-er, free programs like VirtualBox will do the trick just fine. If you need multiple virtual machines running all the time, you probably already have Windows 10 Pro!

4. Deferring Updates

Windows 10 isn’t messing around — you don’t get to choose whether you want to install updates, as the OS installs them for you. This has good and bad implications; Pros & Cons of Forced Updates in Windows 10 Pros & Cons of Forced Updates in Windows 10 Updates will change in Windows 10. Right now you can pick and choose. Windows 10, however, will force updates onto you. It has advantages, like improved security, but it can also go wrong. What's more... Read More  it ensures users who never bothered to check Windows Update before stay safe, but it also removes control from the hands of the user, especially in the case of screwy updates How to Resolve Windows Update Problems in 5 Easy Steps How to Resolve Windows Update Problems in 5 Easy Steps Has Windows Update failed you? Maybe the download got stuck or the update refused to install. We'll show you how to fix the most common issues with Windows Update in Windows 10. Read More .

Windows 10 Pro users get a bit of added functionality — this version lets you defer updates How to Manage Windows Update in Windows 10 How to Manage Windows Update in Windows 10 For control freaks, Windows Update is a nightmare. It's designed to operate in the background, automatically keeping your system safe and running smoothly. We show you how it works and what you can customize. Read More until a later time. You’ll still receive security patches, of course, but major OS features will hit Home users before they do Pro machines.

Depending on your point of view, this is either useless (I want the best features right away!) or amazing (I don’t want anything until it’s been thoroughly tested!). Most users are probably fine with automatic, silent updates, but if you want more control over Windows Update This Is Why We Hate Windows Update This Is Why We Hate Windows Update The way Windows Update currently forces Windows 10 upgrades and updates on you is bad. Gavin examines what makes all of us hate Windows Update and what you can do against it. Read More , Pro is the only way.

5. Enterprise-focused Features

Some Pro features clearly aimed at businesses can still have uses for home users, but not all of them.

One of these is Enterprise Mode for Internet Explorer, which lets you emulate IE 8 inside of IE 11 for those ancient websites that don’t work in modern browsers (which are usually internal business sites). It’s a good alternative to installing IE 6 How to Download Internet Explorer 6 (If You Really Need To) How to Download Internet Explorer 6 (If You Really Need To) There are still some people who use Internet Explorer 6 to this day, and they've got some valid reasons. Here's how you can use it if you need to. Read More , but most home users should never see a site like this — IE 11 included in both editions of Windows 10 should be enough to handle any website you come across.

One tool that might find more use with normal users is Assigned Access, a Pro-only feature that lets you lock down an account on the machine to using a single app. It’s designed for kiosks or other restricted environments, but it could be a great way to kid-proof your computer Check Out The New Windows 10 Parental Control Options Check Out The New Windows 10 Parental Control Options Windows 10 parental control reports offer details of your child's online behaviour and activity. Some parents are horrified, whilst others welcome it. Let's look at how to use these settings to secure your computer. Read More — letting your child play a game and knowing they can’t access the web is a nice feature.

Other business features, like being able to join a domain, are critical for professional environments, but pretty much useless for normal users. Any Windows 10 user can set up a workgroup to share files Home Network Tip: How to Share Files & Folders Between Windows User Accounts Home Network Tip: How to Share Files & Folders Between Windows User Accounts Sometimes computer can be physically very close together, but seem miles apart when you try transfer a file. Use this guide to help you fling files from PC to PC with the greatest of ease. Read More , which is a perfect domain substitute for home users.

Reasons Not to Upgrade

While the features above might tempt you, here are some reasons that the Windows 10 Pro upgrade really isn’t worth the cost.

1. You Already Have the Features You Need

Windows 10 Home isn’t crippling you or taking any major features away — it includes all the features you want. Cortana’s powerful assistance Cortana Arrives on the Desktop & Here's What She Can Do for You Cortana Arrives on the Desktop & Here's What She Can Do for You Is Microsoft's intelligent digital assistant as competent on the Windows 10 desktop as she is on Windows Phone? Cortana has a lot of expectation on her shoulders. Let's see how she holds up. Read More , the revamped Start Menu, native virtual desktops, and the new Edge browser (which is decent, but a work in progress 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Switch to Microsoft Edge Yet 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Switch to Microsoft Edge Yet Is Microsoft Edge worth using while Chrome, Firefox, and Opera are still around? Is Edge good enough to be your primary browser? Read More ) are all ready to go with Windows 10 Home.

The features above either have a free alternative or are unnecessary for everyday use anyway, so why pay for what you aren’t going to use?

2. It’s Expensive

While $99 to upgrade isn’t overly expensive, it is likely an unneeded cost How to Slash Your Household Expenses in 7 Easy Steps How to Slash Your Household Expenses in 7 Easy Steps Tired of seeing all of your income go towards bills and expenses? You aren't alone. We show you some of the best ways to slash your household expenses. Read More for you. That $99 could go to premium software that you would get much more use out of, or even some online courses 10 Great Online Courses To Learn Everything About Photography 10 Great Online Courses To Learn Everything About Photography Even if you’re already a competent photographer, one of the best ways to keep improving is to watch online courses. Here are ten awesome offerings from Lynda. Read More that you could use to pick up a new skill. People complained in the past about having to pay for Windows, and you already got Windows 10 for free, so there’s not much to worry about.

Windows 10 Home Is for You

As we’ve seen, Windows 10 Pro packs some great features, but they’re mostly unnecessary for home users. Windows 10, especially as it adds new features in the future, will continue to be a fully usable OS. In addition, you can find free alternatives for almost any feature 7 Awesome Alternatives To Windows Search 7 Awesome Alternatives To Windows Search Although there are some things you can do to improve searching using the Windows Search - and the search application seems to be much more improved in Windows 7 - there are some excellent alternatives... Read More built into Windows — that’s what we’re here to show you!

Decided you want to upgrade? We’ve got you covered on how to upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Pro How to Upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Professional Edition How to Upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Professional Edition Windows 10 Home users are missing several subtle features. Pro users, for example, can temporarily defer Windows updates. We show you how you can upgrade to the Pro edition to regain some control over Windows... Read More .

Do you think Windows 10 Pro is worth the cost, or are you wondering why anybody would pay for these features? Let us know which flavor of Windows 10 you’re using down in the comments!

Image Credit: Woman with a laptop by Joana Lopes via Shutterstock, businessman with laptop by Denis Vrublevski via Shutterstock

  1. Richard
    July 2, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    I don't mind paying for software, especially crucial software I use on a daily basis like Windows. However, I'm not yet ready to upgrade. Doubtless, I will be forced to somewhere down the line, but I'm sticking with windows 8.1 pro for as long as I can before that eventuality comes.
    I really don't like windows 10, but of course I said the same thing about windows 8 before I finally got used to it. I guess I'll just pay my due when upgrade time finally comes around the corner.

    • Ben Stegner
      July 16, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      The corner is close! You should reserve your upgrade to W10 now and you can go back to 8.1 if you like. If you don't reserve it by July 29th, it won't be free anymore.

  2. Davin Peterson
    June 30, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Most home users don't need those features in Pro and so the home version works just fine and $99 is expensive to add a few features

    • Ben Stegner
      July 16, 2016 at 4:28 pm

      Yep, that's how I felt, too. Pro is definitely aimed at businesses.

  3. Aminah أمينة‎
    June 30, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Windows 10 is much easier to navigate

    • Tina Sieber
      July 2, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      But does it make a difference whether you're using Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro?

  4. Joseph
    June 30, 2016 at 5:30 am

    I've already updated to Windows 10.

    After the deadline and MS charges for Windows 10. Can I still wipe it and install Windows 7 again BUT THEN later if I want to go back to Windows 10 because Windows 7 will no longer be supported in the future, then I still get it for free again?

    • Tina Sieber
      July 2, 2016 at 5:26 pm

      Joseph, if you have a Windows 7 product key, you are free to downgrade.

      Yes, you will be eligible to upgrade to Windows 10 on that same computer after the free upgrade period expires because the activation is tied to your motherboard; it's called digital entitlement. You won't be able to transfer your Windows 10 license to a new computer.

      We've covered all of this in our Windows 10 Activation & License FAQ in case you'd like to know more.

  5. Axle Grease
    June 30, 2016 at 4:09 am

    I'm pretty sure Bob Boudreau is mistaken about being able only to use Win 10 Pro once. The upgrade should retain the license of the OS to be upgraded. I upgraded from Win 8 Pro (full retail) to Win 10 Pro while retaining my files and settings. Later I clean installed Win 10 Pro but had trouble getting it to activate. Eventually I chose to do a PC Refresh of Win 10 Pro using my Win 8 Pro product key which worked fine.

  6. Colin
    June 30, 2016 at 1:24 am

    Does Mircosoft still give Win 10 to insiders, because if they do then it is usually Win 10 pro. I have Win 10 pro on two laptops that still have Win 7 & 8.1 home on other partitions. Like having your cake and eating it. Too bad I have to spend so much time trying to update though, not like Ubuntu where a couple months of updates only takes a hour on DSL speed.

    • Tina Sieber
      July 2, 2016 at 5:28 pm

      They do, Colin and I can confirm your input. I'm on Windows 10 Pro thanks to the Insider Preview. My laptop originally came with Windows 8.1 Home, which is still installed on another partition.

  7. Phil N
    June 29, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    I don't know why so many people are trying to avoid the free update. It's like the giveaways that I do on YouTube and the winners never accept the prize.

    • Axle Grease
      June 30, 2016 at 4:20 am

      If it's anything like the old codger who sits at the lunchtable, he'll try it for a few minutes, do a whinge, and then roll back to the OS that came his the PC... ...which is Windows 8.1.

    • Ben Stegner
      July 16, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      I don't understand it either, truly. People complained that Windows was too expensive for years; now they complain when it's free. Doesn't make sense to me.

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