Windows 10 Consumer vs Business Editions (a.k.a. Retail vs Volume)

Discussion in 'Windows 10' started by XenonKilla, Apr 28, 2021.

  1. XenonKilla

    XenonKilla MDL Novice

    Oct 7, 2009
    Are there any "functional" differences between the Windows 10 Consumer & Business editions other than the licensing? When using KMS activation, would there be any reason to use one or the other? Obviously I would think installing the Business (Volume) edition would make more sense, but seeing as how Consumer (Retail) will be converted to Volume when using KMS_VL_ALL_AIO, then that shouldn't matter. So I'm just wondering if there is anything else that would make one more "appealing" than the other?
  2. Enthousiast

    Enthousiast MDL Tester

    Oct 30, 2009
    Consumer ISOs contain Home (SL) and don't contain the gVLK, Business ISOs contain Enterprise and contain the gVLK, no other differences.
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  3. BAU

    BAU MDL Addicted

    Feb 10, 2009
    But licensing itself can make a small difference, in network requests and wasted cpu cycles checking the said license.
    KMS seemed to cause that less often than retail / hwid (on real machines, vm's hide many quirks such as these).
    A local kms emulator (_vl_all) or a kms reg exploit (38) would cause the least overhead.
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  4. XenonKilla

    XenonKilla MDL Novice

    Oct 7, 2009
    I figured that was the case but just wanted some reassurance from someone else. I really just wanted a good excuse to only keep all the Business Edition ISO's and delete all the Consumer Edition ISO's I have saved, but I'm sure I'll regret it later on so I guess I'll just keep all them. Thanks for the info.

    Right, but I was just asking about whether there would be any functional difference between using the Retail vs Volume "when using KMS activation". So if you had two systems that were identical, and you installed Windows 10 1909 Retail on one machine and Windows 10 1909 Volume on another, and you used KMS_VL_ALL_AIO to activate, would there be any functional difference between the two builds? And it seems like the answer is "No" which is what I figured the answer was but just wanted some confirmation from someone else. Thanks for the reply.
  5. cbsvitzer

    cbsvitzer MDL Member

    Feb 4, 2010
    There is no functional difference. Converting from retail to volume or the other way is just a matter of removing the key and inserting another
  6. ch100

    ch100 MDL Addicted

    Sep 11, 2016
    There are or have been Retail versions of business products which are not necessary licensed as GVLK. One such product which I know is Windows Server 2016 but there are likely others.
    I think there are 2 different concepts here which interact up to a point, but are different in essence.
    Edition type:
    Consumer = Home Editions + Pro
    Business = Enterprise + Pro
    Pro is in the middle which can be used by small business or consumer Power Users as intended, but it is used by larger businesses (not intended).
    There is another product named Education which is a tweaked version of either Enterprise or Pro but not a product by itself, except for the fact that it becomes a standalone product when licensed as such.
    There are few other less mainstream products like Workstation Pro and others, again the same product like the main ones described above, with features enabled according to the license under which they function.

    Licensing on the other hand can be separated by:
    Retail, mostly targeting the consumer category or very small businesses. This licensing model uses single key activated directly with Microsoft online servers and does not require permanent connection with those servers. It is a one off process.
    GVLK which is targeting larger businesses and is activated with a Microsoft internal KMS server. Require permanent connection to this server at least every 180 days by default.
    Note: A Microsoft KMS Server is a server licensed with a special key activated with Microsoft which can provide internal licenses to Windows and other Microsoft products like Office if they are installed on this server. The KMS Server license is activated in a similar way to a Retail or MAK key, with Microsoft online servers and is a one off operation. After activation, this server becomes the master license server for the organisation's computers using KMS Client keys, which are public.

    There is a middle of the road solution named MAK activation meant to be used by the same users like those using internal KMS, but is designed to facilitate other types of users, less connected to a corporate server. This type of activation uses the same concept with the Retail key, only that it can used multiple times, typically 1500 times. It is issued to organisations and it can be retired and inactivated if leaked, but I am not sure if it actually happens.

    This is the official story. Obviously on this forum and elsewhere there are a number of creative people who built alternative solutions, some of them very reliable and fully functional, which are used as replacement but from what I know have dubious legal status. It is not my place to comment on this as those solutions are obviously known to Microsoft and probably tolerated to a certain degree as long as they are used as proof of concept and testing only.