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article imageMicrosoft aims to recapture power users with new Windows version

By James Walker     Aug 15, 2017 in Technology
Microsoft has launched a new version of Windows 10 designed specifically for users of high-end workstation PCs. The company said it had listened to feedback from customers asking for a desktop operating system tailored to server-grade hardware.
Microsoft made the leaked Windows 10 Pro for Workstations version official late last week. It marks the revival of the "Workstations" name over 20 years after it last adorned a Windows product.
Microsoft has long been accused of neglecting its workstation users. These people are in the unique position of relying on very high performance, server-grade hardware. They use their machine as part of their everyday work though, making a desktop-based operating system a requirement. Historically, Microsoft offered a Windows version specifically for this kind of usage.
The advent of the Windows NT kernel in the late 90s caused the workstation focus to fade into the background. It hasn't been revived since, until last week's announcement. Microsoft acknowledged that power users "have unique needs" that it hasn't always designed its products for. Windows 10 Pro for Workstations is meant to drive PCs used in "demanding and mission-critical" environments.
On the face of it, the new version looks and feels the same as the regular Pro edition of Windows 10. Underneath, it comes with hardware support that was formerly restricted to Windows Server. It can run on up to four processors, up from two today, and utilise 6TB of memory.
Windows 10 Pro for Workstations
Windows 10 Pro for Workstations
Microsoft
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The Workstations edition also comes with resilient file system (ReFS) support that offers protection against data corruption. It mirrors drives so there's always a healthy data copy available should one of the storage devices fail. Microsoft has included the low latency SMB Direct file sharing protocol and support for persistent memory modules too.
As a whole, Windows 10 Pro for Workstations marks the latest of Microsoft's efforts to regain its status amongst power users. After a two decade hiatus, it now again sells a desktop operating system focused on performance, reliability and data protection. Microsoft said it will continue to develop new features going forward, ensuring the Workstations name is back to stay.
"We know that power users have unique needs to run efficiently and we take the feedback we hear seriously," said Microsoft. "Today we are very excited to announce a new edition of Windows 10 Pro designed to meet the needs of our advanced users deploying their Workstation PCs in demanding and mission-critical scenarios." Windows 10 Pro for Workstations will be available to interested users later this year. It will launch alongside the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, incorporating a slew of new features, enhancements and improvements across the operating system and its apps.
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