Re: Backstage tour: Windows installation, the concept of .wim files, how edition upgrades are done in Windows 10 #backstagetour


Hi Gary,

Three ways:

1.       Buy a Windows 10 Pro license (costs 200 dollars).

2.       Use a product key for Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate, or Windows 8.x Pro, provided that the key wasn’t used before and your computer ran these OS’s before.

3.       Use “add features” option to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro (costs 100 dollars).

4.       There is another “free” way, but we’ll not discuss it here (illegal and discussion of it will not be allowed).


For consumers, you can upgrade to Pro unless you are allowed to upgrade to Education by your school.




From: [] On Behalf Of g melconian
Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2016 5:37 PM
Subject: Re: [win10] Backstage tour: Windows installation, the concept of .wim files, how edition upgrades are done in Windows 10 #BackstageTour


So joe, heeres my question, how does one upgrade to the highest version that they are allowed if I have home for example and I want to upgrade to  education and pro, how do I do this. With the fact that  I already enrolled my pc into the windwos 10 free upgrade an then enrolled in the insider builds. If there  is a step that I am missing when I did the install , please give me the steps to upgrade my windows build to a higher build. 


From: [] On Behalf Of Joseph Lee
Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2016 2:31 PM
Subject: [win10] Backstage tour: Windows installation, the concept of .wim files, how edition upgrades are done in Windows 10 #BackstageTour


Hi all,


For new friends: many of you may think that this forum is all about using Windows 10 with your favorite screen reader(s). However, I believe that not only talking about navigating universal apps with various screen readers is essential, it is also important to keep up with Windows 10 concepts and some behind the scenes materials, as I do not want you to be left behind in the ever-changing landscape that is Windows 10 ecosystem (those on the Insiders subgroup will know what I’m talking about). Hence I sometimes use the #BackstageTour hashtag to talk about some work done behind the scenes, as well as to discuss certain concepts not many forums talk about, including what I’m about to describe to you below.


Note: some posts in this series are a bit technical, so I’ll try my best to make it sound interesting (those who were or on the BrailleNote list knows the kind of talk I gave many years ago).


Last time I used #BackstageTour hashtag, I talked about Windows Subsystem for Linux or something similar. Today we’ll cover a concept that we know and were used to but not talked about it extensively: how Windows 10 installation actually works, installation images, and how edition upgrades are done.


A question arose on the Win10 forum regarding availability of Remote Desktop Connection on Windows 10 Home. The answer, believe it or not, is “yes”. But Windows 10 Home users didn’t see this option when searching “remote” on Start menu nor seen options to configure Remote Desktop anywhere. But the feature is preinstalled – it’s just that it isn’t visible.


In order to talk about how this is possible, it is important to talk about the layout of the Windows 10 setup DVD or ISO file:


Since Windows Vista days, Microsoft used a disk image to bundle various versions of Windows into a single DVD. The DVD contains setup helper modules, plus a 2.4 GB disk image called “install.wim”. This .wim (Windows Imaging format) file isn’t like a typical ISO format – it contains multiple disk images, each of them denoting an edition of Windows Vista and beyond. Thus, all Windows editions (except Enterprise) are bundled into this disk image file. Because of this, there’s no separate DVD’s for Home, Pro or what not.


During Windows installation, you’re asked for a product key (no longer the case in Windows 10 if you took advantage of the free upgrade offer). You can actually skip this step and install the version you want, then upgrade to a higher edition later. In case you did enter a product key, the setup program will validate the key entered and select the edition of Windows (technically, the part of install.wim that corresponds to the licensed version) to be installed (or more precisely, will be made visible).


In Windows Vista days, you had to insert the DVD or the setup file in order to upgrade to a higher edition, but in Windows 7 and later, this is no longer the case. In fact, when you install Windows 7 and later, the highest consumer (or closest to the corporate) edition is installed (Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows 8.x Pro, Windows 10 Education). Effectively, the product key you entered and/or digital license you are assigned to determines which edition of Windows (technically, feature subsets and limitations) you’ll get to use. When you upgrade to a higher edition, you are effectively “unlocking” the features of the new edition.


Putting it all together: all users of Windows 10 on PC’s are in fact using Windows 10 Education. This means:


·         For Windows 10 Home: Remote Desktop, domain joining, BitLocker, advanced corporate customization tools and other features that consumers won’t use for the most part are hidden or limited.

·         For Windows 10 Pro: Creating live USB version of Windows 10, ability to disable or remove Cortana completely and other enterprise features are invisible.


P.S. In Creators Update, the biggest differentiating feature between Home and higher editions (for now) is length of active hours for preventing installation of updates – Home users are limited to 12, Pro and higher extends this to 18.


In case of Windows 10 Enterprise, this version comes in two flavors, with separate DVD images for these:


·         Windows 10 Enterprise: same as Windows 10 Education but aimed at enterprises (Windows 10 Education is meant for schools and universities, faculty and students).

·         Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB (long-term servicing branch): removes most universal apps, Cortana is gone, will not receive feature upgrades, meant for mission critical devices.



·         Windows Internals, Sixth Edition (Microsoft Press, 2012)

·         Windows Imaging Format (Wikipedia):

·         Windows Imaging File Format (Microsoft TechNet):

·         Thurrott, Paul. Windows 7 Feature Focus: Windows Anytime Upgrade, Supersite for Windows, October 6, 2010.




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