A lot of people are confused when it comes time to upgrade their computer and do not know if they should upgrade to Windows XP Home or Windows XP Professional. For most people the answer is simple, XP home, as it is more than sufficient for their needs. Some people do, though, gain the extra benefit to the features found only in XP Professional.
The underlying operating system for both versions is the same, and with XP Home being more affordable it makes sense to choose that as your home upgrade. There are, though, a few extra options that the Professional version provides that Home does not, which could make Pro a more attractive choice for you..
The most commonly used extra features that XP Professional gives are as follows:
Remote Desktop gives you the ability to connect to your computer remotely and use the Windows XP Professional computer as if you were there. When you are connected you will be presented with a graphical representation of what you would see as if you were actually in front of your computer. That means if you lived in New York, and you leave your computer on when you go to California, from California you would be able to connect to your computer and use it almost as if you were in front of it. This feature, in my opinion, is the only reason why someone should upgrade to Windows XP Professional. If you travel a lot, or need to connect to your computer remotely, Remote Desktop is an excellent tool to have at your disposal.
Encrypted File Systems gives you the ability to encrypt portions or your entire hard drive so that your data is secure and can not be read by others. This encrypted data is secured with a passphrase so that only you, the user, can access the data. Though this is definitely a useful tool, the majority of home users will have no need for this tool. It is more useful for those people who have laptops, and are afraid it may get stolen.
Internet Information Server allows you to host a web site or ftp server directly from your workstation. In order to get have this same functionality in XP Home, you would need to install 3rd party software.
The last feature of XP Pro is the ability to connect to Office Networks such as an NT server. XP home does not have built-in support for company networks.
Therefore, unless you find any of these features to be an integral function for your computer, you can save money and get the exact same performance from XP Home edition.
Bleeping Computer Windows XP Tutorial Series
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