Could someone please describe difference between Win XP pro, home edition, and media center edition.

Also, could you tell me what are the advantages/disadvantages of each and what criteria someone should use in deciding what OS is approptriate for them.
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Windows XP Professional and Home versions are the same except that the Home version cannot join a domain.  XP Home does not handle the full gamut of authentication.

Media Center... no expierience with it, but it appears to be XP Home with an added GUI for its media content.

Here is MS link:

In answer to your question... if you ever foresee using the machine to access any domain resources at all, ever... go with XP Professional.

Use your preference of XP Home or Media Center if you only need this machine for your personal use at home, and it will never see a domain resource (i.e. will only be a member of a non-domain workgroup).

Hi sheana11,

Windows Home and Pro are pretty close.  Here are what Pro has over Home

1. Remote Desktop
2. Host your own website on the Internet
3. Offline files and folders
4. Multiple processor support
5. Ecrypting file system
6. Restrict access to certain files
7. Work with MS servers
8. Set Group Policy
9. Mult-lingual interface add-ons

If you need the additional features, use Pro or Media Center.


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I fell this is a perfect question for me, i have currently all 3 operating systems instaled on my computer, the XP is the fastest loading operating system, good for email, maybe some gaming or internet surfing the origional XP Home Software.  XP Professional Loads Slower than Home, but has more options, as they explained the ability to join domains, also it has the ability to put file encryption on any files you want, basically professional is more secure I would recomment it over home.  Now Media Center is XP Professional with a few extra bells and wistles, it has the Media Center Software that allows you to connect your computer into your house and run it as a home server.  A server of pictures, of music, and of movies, it allowes you to connect your computer to a video capture device, where you can record up to 5 TV programs at one time.  Basically it's an extremely advanced, sterio, TV, and Tivo all in one.  This is the UP and Coming XP Home, with more security and more advanced features.  Also, any DVD's, or Music will play with a better quality and faster streaming than with either of the two other OS's.  Though the downside is, that it loades slightly slower than professional, but not with any real difference than Home.  It depends on what your going for, if your going corporate go professional, if your looking for a gaming system or a home theatre system, go Media Center.  If you have a good enough video card, it also enhances the shadow and pixel count of your games.
"media center" doesn't seem appropriate to me for "professional" per se.  i mean does yer
boss want you tivo-ing at werk??

maybe the radio function is okay.  
my stupid $0.02  

Just to elaborate on what war1 already said: XP Pro lets you connect to your XP Pro PC from elsewhere with Remote Desktop. i.e. you can connect to your XP Pro desktop from virtually anywhere on the Internet. If you need this ability, this is the single most important reason to get XP Pro (IMO).

Both XP Pro and Home will let you connect to other XP Pro (and Win/2000 server) systems using the Remote Desktop "client".
if you intend to get werk done at home.. "media center" might be dangerous unless you like
to listen to the radio and get werk done.  "media center" is an entertainment app, and if
yer a television junkie, it will only be a distraction.

Here is some more info. The difference between the 3 flavours of XP are cost, Availability and Features.

XP Home - Designed for the home user with less features.
                     -No multi proc support
                     -No remote desktop
                     -Reduced security features for networks
                     -Reduced nework admin feature, RIS, Join domain etc
                     -No encypted file system capability
                     -Missing a few more server features IIS etc
              - Cost ~75 for an upgrade ~100 for full install.
              - Availability from store or or with new PCs.

XP Pro    -Designed for businesses or professionals full featured with light wieght server functions like IIS, file sharing usually limited to ten connections.
             -Cost ~190 for an upgrade ~250 for full install
             - Availability from store or or with new PCs

XP Media Center Edition (MCE)
             -Same as XP Pro except it has the media center application built into the OS. It is a software competitor to TIVO and requires a supported TV tuner card. Itonly works with specific hardware Nvidia, ATI, Soundblaster, hauppage, etc.
             -Cost ~500 to 1500 you have to purchase it with a new machine or with MCE hardware. The media center PCs are usually pretty expensive but are getting cheaper. You can assemply a MCE cheap but it is difficult.
             -Availability usually only with new PCs, but you can get it with MCE parts.

An answer to the second part of you question.

Buy XP Home if you are not running a busness, just conect to the internet and are on a budget.

Buy XP Pro if you run a business or need to connect to other computers, need one of the functions XP Pro supplies (IIS, Remote admin) and have a few dollars to spend.

Buy XP Media Center Edition if you are buying a new PC, want to record TV shows, have cable TV near the PC, an internet connection (To download listings to be recorded by the software TIVO) and quite a few dollars for the Hardware Software combo.


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Thanks, war1
well, if u know about UNIX or Linux just go for it, this is because they provide high security and reliability.

If you want an easy life, just stick to windows. In windows there are many versions, use XP if you are using Pentium 4 or higher, this is because 98 will make your computer less efficient. The reason for this, i dont know, but i have tried this on my oen PC.

Use Windows 2003 server, if you need security and want to use your computer on some network.

sheana11Author Commented:
Many of you have provided such good information, I am trying to decide who should get the points.  I will make up my mind this weekend, after I consider which answer was most helpful to me.
If everyone is so helpful, split the points.
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