• Norm McLaughlin

Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro?

Updated: Feb 11


upgrade windows 10
There are some good reasons to consider upgrading from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro

The vast majority of domestic users of Microsoft Windows use Windows 10 Home on their computers. Until the release of Windows 11, this was the version which was preinstalled on most Windows computers purchased from retail stores, and it’s perfectly adequate for the majority of users. Whilst Windows 10 Pro is aimed at business users, it includes a number of features which might also prove useful for home users. Let’s take a look at a couple of features which are only available in Windows 10 Pro, and which you might find useful.


BitLocker Device Encryption


It’s remarkably straightforward for someone with the necessary knowhow to access the files on the hard drives of most computers. In my role as an IT support professional, I receive regular requests from clients in Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan and the Redlands to perform one of two tasks. The first is to assist someone to regain access to their computer when they’ve forgotten their password. The second is to recover files from a computer which will no longer start up.


Users of Microsoft Windows can log in to their computer using a local account or a Microsoft account. If they’re using a local account and they’ve forgotten their password, I can reset or remove the password by booting from Windows 10 installation media and then interrupting the process to access the Windows registry. I make a few changes in the registry which allow me to reset the password for any local account on the computer, thus enabling the user to regain access. If they’re using a Microsoft account, the password can be readily reset using another device.


As far as data recovery goes, I would normally first remove the hard drive from the computer. Then I would connect it to another computer using a USB enclosure, adjust the security settings of the required folders and copy the files and folders for my client.


Clearly, if your hard drive isn’t encrypted in any way, then the files on your computer are vulnerable to being accessed should it fall into the wrong hands. This is where Bitlocker device encryption comes in.


BitLocker drive encryption is a data protection feature which integrates with Windows and mitigates the risk of data theft or exposure from lost, stolen, or inappropriately decommissioned computers. BitLocker provides the greatest protection when used with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 1.2 or later. This is a hardware component installed in many newer computers by the computer manufacturers.


On computers that do not have a TPM version 1.2 or later, BitLocker can still be used to encrypt the Windows operating system drive. In addition to the TPM, BitLocker offers the option to lock the normal startup process until the user enters a personal identification number (PIN). All of this means that, should your computer be lost or stolen, it won’t be possible for your files to be accessed. This feature alone may make it worthwhile considering an upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.


To enable a hardware-based BitLocker on your computer, follow these simple steps.

  1. Open Control Panel by clicking the windows start button, typing Control and then clicking on Control Panel when it appears as the best match.

  2. Click on System and Security and then BitLocker Drive Encryption.

  3. Select Turn On BitLocker next to the primary drive icon (normally C:).

  4. Follow the on-screen instructions.

When you reboot your computer, you’ll need to enter the BitLocker password in order to access Windows, and then you’ll notice that your files are being encrypted in the background. From this point on, your files are protected should your computer ever fall into the wrong hands.


Remote Desktop Access


Has there ever been an occasion when you weren’t in front of your own computer at home but you wish you were? Maybe you wanted to access files on the computer, or you wanted to run a piece of software which could only be executed on your home computer. With remote desktop access, you can access your Windows 10 Pro computer from another device as if you were sitting in front of the computer.


Remote desktop access means you can access your computer when you’re physically elsewhere on your home network, for example in another room. It also means that you can access your computer from just about anywhere else in the world, and from a variety of devices – other computers, phones, tablets etc.


Various software packages are available to facilitate remote access to another computer, for example AnyDesk and TeamViewer. For me, such software is essential as it enables me to access a client’s computer remotely should I need to do so. This is an essential in IT support as it’s often impractical, or not necessary, to physically visit a client’s location. With applications such as those mentioned, I am accessing the client’s desktop such that both the client and myself are able to view the screen simultaneously. Such software doesn’t require Windows 10 Pro and will run on almost any popular operating system.


By contrast, the remote desktop access functionality provided in Windows 10 Pro opens a separate session on the target computer. No additional software needs to be installed and the host computer simply needs to be configured to allow incoming remote desktop connections. To accomplish this simply open the Windows settings by holding down the Windows key while pressing the letter I. Then select System followed by Remote Desktop and turn on Enable Remote Desktop.


In order to be able to access your computer from elsewhere you first need to note either your computer’s name or IP address on your local network. You can find its name most easily by clicking the windows start button, typing Name and then selecting View your PC name. Various methods are available to find the computer’s local IP address and I would normally use the command prompt for this. Just click the Windows start button, type cmd and select Command Prompt when it appears as the best match. In the resulting command prompt window, type ipconfig <Enter> and make a note of the IPv4 address for your network adapter.


If you’re accessing the computer from another computer on your home network you’ll need to open a remote desktop session on the other computer. The easiest way to do this is to click the Windows start button, type mstsc and then select Remote Desktop Connection when it appears as the best match. Then enter your computer’s name or IP address and you should be able to connect and log in. Various apps are available on other devices which also enable you to make this connection.


If you want to access your computer from outside your home network, this will first require some configuration of your router. You will need to forward TCP port 3389 on your router to the local IP address of your computer. Then in order to access your computer from elsewhere, open Remote Desktop Connection as above, but enter the external IP address of your home network, rather than the local IP address of your computer. To find out your external IP address, simply visit https://www.whatismyip.com/.


Conclusion


So there you have two features of Windows 10 Pro which can be useful to home users. In particular, if you’re concerned about the privacy of the files on your computer then BitLocker is a great feature which offers protection. The remote desktop access feature can also be extremely useful should you want to access your computer from elsewhere, either on your local network or externally.


Norm's Computer Services offers support for all versions of Microsoft Windows. Should you require advice or assistance in upgrading to Windows 10 Pro or Windows 11 Pro, please don't hesitate to get in touch. I cover a wide range of suburbs in Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan and the Redlands and I'd be more than happy to help you out. I also offer all sorts of computer repairs, services and upgrades. Don't hesitate to get in touch.

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