Many times you will see advertisements with such and such computer company recommending Windows XP Professional. XP Professional is more expensive, but is it really worth it? Here’s what you need to know about these different versions of Windows:
Windows XP Professional really only gives you two more features than Windows XP Home:
1) XP Pro (short-hand name) allows you to do advanced networking. Both of these versions come with “Simplified File Sharing” turned on, meaning that if you want to share your files with another computer via a network, you have limited options (though it’s easier to setup). In Windows XP Professional, you can turn off “Simplified File Sharing” and thus do more advanced sharing, such as assigning rights for certain users to certain folders.
2) XP Pro allows you to connect to a “domain.” A domain is a network that has a centralized server(s) that handles things such as user rights, printers, e-mail, and/or databases, etc. Domains typically are found in environments with more than ten computers.
In conclusion, you need Windows XP Pro if you plan on doing advanced file sharing and/or if you need to connect to a domain (i.e. if you have a laptop you take home after using it at work, if your work has a domain, then you’d need XP Pro). Some schools require that you connect to their domain when on campus. So if you’re a student, you may need to check with the school if you plan on connecting your laptop on campus.
Otherwise, Windows XP Home works just fine for most home users.