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by Dan Lhotka

There are many different versions of Windows and Office, it can be confusing to those not in the industry to pick out what does what.  In this month’s blog, I will explain the differences between the different versions of Windows and Office.

First of all, Windows and Office are two separate products.  Windows is the operating system, and Office is a productivity application.  Office does not come with Windows, it must be purchased separately.


Office 2013

There are 4 different versions of Office 2013.  The main differences are whether the version has a repeating cost, and whether Outlook is included or not.  Office 365 is Microsoft’s subscription based product.  It has a yearly cost of $100 per year. For that cost, you can install it on 5 computers at home, have email access, and constantly get the latest version of Office.  It is pretty cost effective, assuming it is used at home, and that your household has multiple computers.  For businesses, the most common solution is Office Home and Business.  Unlike Office Home and Student, it has Outlook, which is the email program most used by businesses.


Currently, the operating systems available are Windows 7 and Windows 8.  User interface differences aside, there are several different versions of the OS themselves.

Windows 7 has three different versions – Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate.  Home Premium is the least expensive of the three, but it has limitations.   Those limitations make it difficult to repair from spyware infections, and make it so the computer cannot be controlled from a central server.  This second issue may not seem like a big deal, but it definitely is when you start factoring in shared folders and printers, and things of that nature.  Bottom line, we recommend Professional.  It is easier to work with, and has more flexibility.  Ultimate works fine, but is more expensive than Professional, and doesn’t give you too many additional features.

Windows 8 has two different versions – Windows 8 and Windows 8 Professional.  Like Professional for Windows 7, Windows 8 Professional is needed for networking and talking to a server.  So, we always recommend Windows 8 Professional.

As always, if you have a topic you would like to be brought up in next month’s IT News, send an email to


Dan Lhotka
About Dan Lhotka