Consumer Preview reveals Windows 8 SKUs?

Previously we reported that the Windows 8 SKUs were potentially revealed in a HP driver document on their website. The listing showed the possibility of just three Windows 8 SKUs: standard (known just as “Windows 8”), Professional and Enterprise; each for 32- and 64-bit. This list of SKUs has a bit of competition for truth thanks to the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

Discovered in the registry of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview by Windows8Beta appears to be a list of SKUs for the operating system. The registry keys indicate that there will be more than just three versions of Windows 8; in fact it could be more than the amount of SKUs for Windows 7.

You’ll notice from the list the same SKUs from Windows 7: Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate. However, there is also the inclusion of a “prerelease ARM” SKU, which will most likely be finalized into the ARM version, a “Professional Plus” SKU and “Enterprise Eval” along with a simply named “prerelease” edition. The guys at Windows8Beta also took a screenshot of the same registry keys in Windows 7, which we have included below.

Now at a first glance you would see that Windows 8 might have more editions than previous versions, but there is also another possible explanation. The editions that were not in Windows 7 could be the actual planned SKUs, with the ones from Windows 7 simply being leftover registry keys. Adding more weight to this hypothesis is that most of the ones not included in Windows 7 are named “prerelease” or “Eval” (with the exception being Professional Plus), which is exactly what the Consumer Preview is: a pre-release and evaluation copy.

When you take the new SKUs in the Windows 8 registry by themselves, this is what you get.

  • “EnterpriseEval” → Windows 8 Enterprise
  • “prereleaseARM” → Windows 8 ARM Edition
  • “prerelease” → Windows 8 (standard)
  • “ProfessionalPlus” → Windows 8 Professional

Now what does this look like? Yep, the list of SKUs revealed by HP (plus the ARM edition). Could this be the actual list of Windows 8 editions? Microsoft has yet to confirm anything, but the evidence is growing stronger.

Thanks to Sagar for the tip!

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