If I get a new system for home, what is the difference between XP Home edition and XP Professional? I want to put home movies on DVD.
This question was answered on June 19, 2003. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
Microsoft did a pretty good job of naming the two version of XP but I probably would have opted for Windows XP Home and Windows XP Business, which may have made it a little easier to understand.
For the most part, the user experience in Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional is the same The way you launch your applications, install new programs, print, startup and shutdown the computer are just about identical.
The main differences, besides the price, are mostly technical and only have any real use in large network environments or if you are a security buff or consider yourself a 'power user'.
For instance, the number of machines that you will connect to or the number and type of servers that you will need to access will determine whether the Pro edition makes sense.
If you are in a network environment that has an older Windows server or there are lots of different workstations with older versions of Windows, such as 95, 98 and ME, the Professional version is more flexible.
If you only have a single machine in a home setting, the flexibility in networking means nothing to you.
If you want all of the security tools available in a Windows environment, including file and folder encryption (which scrambles the data for unauthorized users), extensive user restrictions (groups and policies) and file level access control, then XP Professional is your choice.
If you want simplified security for multiple users on a single machine, XP Home is a better choice (it only has two choices for user levels).
If you want support for multiple processors, want to host web pages from your computer (using Microsoft’s Internet Information Services/Personal Web Server) or want to be able to remotely access your desktop (not just remote support, which is built into XP Home), you will need to opt for XP Professional.
As far as working with home movies on DVD, there is no benefit to having XP Professional over XP Home for that usage You are better off spending the extra money on a larger, faster hard drive which will have a bigger impact on working with video.
Programs aimed at home users, such as camcorder interfaces, DVD burning programs and basic video editing packages are likely to have more support for Window XP Home The support I am referring to is not the ability for the program to be installed and used, but rather, a larger
library of support issues and answers because of the larger number of users.
If you currently have older Windows based systems in a small home network and you want to integrate a newer Windows XP based system, depending upon which machines need to connect with each other, XP Pro may be more willing to work with them.
If you opt to use Windows XP Professional, you will certainly have more security, control and access, but you will also have a longer learning curve to understand how to use these additional features
The administration of the users and the network configuration are probably the most complicated features in XP Pro, so if you don't need it, don't pay for it!
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Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on June 19, 2003