It has happened. You woke up one morning and realised that the old and trusty laptop (or PC) is no longer upto the job and it needs replacing. No problem you say I will go along to somewhere like PC World and just pick up a new one. For a home user this approach works well but what about when the laptop or PC is used for business?
You see if you are in the market for a Windows machine (as most businesses are) you may not realise that there are different versions of Windows. Taking Windows 8.1 as an example, there is Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro and also Windows 8.1 Enterprise. Which one you choose will depend on what you want the machine for. If you are a small business user then you should go for Windows 8.1 Pro but if you buy from somewhere like PC World, Argos, John Lewis etc most of the machines come with Windows 8.1 and not Pro. So what is the downside of just getting Windows 8.1 then?
The two main reasons are encryption and connecting to a server. Windows 8.1 Pro comes with BitLocker which allows you to encrypt your hard drive and keeps all your data safe if someone steals it. At present I don’t know of any way to successfully encrypt a Windows 8.1 system (if anyone does please let me know).
The second reason is perhaps more pressing. If you have a Windows server installed on your network you need Windows 8.1 Pro (or Windows 7 Professional) to be able to connect to it. Home versions of all Microsoft operating systems can’t connect to a Windows server. I have been to clients in the past who had maybe 5 or 6 Windows 7 Home Premium systems who wanted a server to backup all their data to. Straight away a Windows server was out the window and I ended up installing a Linux one instead (personally a better choice anyway in this instance). If you have an onsite Exchange server for your emails home versions of Windows are also a no goer. I have even seen business critical applications being run on a Windows 7 Starter netbook before which should never happen.
So before you go out and spend your companies hard earned on something which doesn’t fit your requirements do yourself a favour and check what software it is running.
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