Windows 10 Home Ultra Explained. Again. (Updated)

Posted on May 28, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 29 Comments

Exclusive: Microsoft Plots a Transition Year for Windows 10

Last year, we exclusively reported on Microsoft’s plans to split up its Windows 10 Home SKU into two different tiers. This year, it’s finally happening.

UPDATE: Or not. Microsoft now says that it will not offer something called Windows 10 Ultra. So the plans cited below remain unfulfilled. I’ll leave this here for historical purposes. –Paul

But there is one change: Windows 10 Advanced, as it was originally called, has apparently been renamed to Windows 10 Ultra. This assumes that the Dell marketing materials for the new XPS 13 are correct, however.

Neowin reported this morning that the new PC will ship with something called Windows 10 Home Ultra. That’s a better name than Windows 10 Advanced, in my mind, because it better evokes something that is “better” whereas Advanced suggests “more complex.”

But Neowin gets the positioning wrong, noting that “Windows 10 Home Ultra presumably offers up some extra perks without a full Pro upgrade.”

The point of Home Advanced—sorry, Home Ultra—is not about providing another Windows 10 SKU between Home and Pro. It’s about better defining what the home and business versions of Windows 10 are. That’s why Microsoft started shipping its own Surface PCs to consumers with Windows 10 Home last fall. Home isn’t “less” than Pro. It’s tailored to a specific market. A different market.

To understand this strategy, you need to re-read our exclusive stories about it from last February. Brad first reported the new Windows 10 Consumer SKU strategy, and then I followed that up with details about the then coming transition year, the welcome new emphasis on consumers, and why this was a win for consumers.

“Windows 10 Home is picking up Advanced capabilities, tied to high-end gaming rigs, for a reasonable fee (that the PC maker will pay and then pass along),” I wrote. “Choosing Windows 10 Home Advanced, as this is called, will cost PC makers just $101. Doing so in the Pro SKU will set back PC makers $214.”  (This pricing varies by PC class.)

“Windows 10 Home Advanced will support high-end chipsets like the Intel Core i9, AMD Threadripper, Intel Core i7 or AMD FX/Ryzen7 with 6 or more cores, and any Core i7/FX/Ryzne7 configurations with 16 GB of RAM or more,” I also noted.

More to the point, remember that the switch from S Mode to Windows 10 Home is free. The switch to Windows 10 Home Ultra is not. Basically, Windows 10 Home Ultra, as it’s now called, is to Windows 10 Home as Windows 10 Pro with Workstation is to Windows 10 Pro. It’s the better version, the more advanced version. For consumers.

So, the name has changed. And Microsoft is finally starting to ship this offering about a year later than expected.

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