Windows 10 Pro for Workstations is ready for serious business

These days, multi-processor machines with mounds of memory are more accessible than ever. I can run down to Newegg Business and spec out some serious firepower. The thing is, hardware support in Windows 10 Pro maxes out at two physical sockets, 256 logical cores, and 512GB of RAM. There's also no support for NVDIMMs, Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) for 10-gigabit Ethernet adapters, or ReFS (by default). If I want to run Windows on my beast box, I'm going to have to step up to Windows 10 Enterprise, and the thought of weathering its licensing process is not enticing. Fortunately, Microsoft is about to release Windows 10 Pro for Workstations that can do all those things.

Microsoft didn't go into too much detail on its blog post, but highlighted the main differences from the standard Windows 10 Pro. The Resilient File System (ReFS) will be used by default on new installations, and SMB Direct mode will make use of RDMA on high-end network hardware for copying large amounts of data over the network faster and without loading up the CPU. The new Workstation edition will also support up to four physical CPUs and 6TB of memory.

The "Windows 10 Pro for Workstations" name itself might be little strange, though it harks back to the old Windows NT Workstation editions that were put to pasture with the release of Windows 2000 Professional. Unlike Windows 10 Enterprise, we'd guess that this edition of Windows might be sold directly to customers instead of going through a complicated licensing process, seeing as the company says it's intended for "power users." Amusingly, Microsoft's blog post makes continued reference to "AMD Opterons" rather than the company's current Epyc CPUs.

Microsoft didn't say how much Windows 10 Pro for Workstations would cost, nor how users would acquire it. We figure that it'll be available as an e-tail physical or download package and possibly through the Windows Store, much the same way Windows 10 Pro itself is. We'll know for sure later this year, as Windows 10 Pro for Workstations is supposed to debut with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

Comments closed
    • tootercomputer
    • 2 years ago

    ReFS. Hmm, don’t know much about it, will need to do a little research, but I recall that MS was going to introduce a new file system with Vista, it got a lot of hype, going to solve all sorts of problems, but then not long before the release of Vista, if I recall correctly, MS said no new file system. The lack of a new file system really took the shine off Vista as an OS per se (other problems emerged, too, but lots of those were related to installing it on systsms that were underpowered for it). So is ReFSI the file format that emerged? I see that ReFS has been around for a while on servers.

      • freebird
      • 2 years ago

      Yeah, I had to do the same a couple months ago when formatting some RAID0 partitions. I’m running Windows 10 Pro on my home PC. ReFS wasn’t an option until I discovered doing this trick makes it appear. Create a simple volume partition on an available unformatted disk, but don’t format it . Windows creates it as a RAW partition, then you can format it and choose NTFS or ReFS, at least that is how I was able to create an ReFS formatted disk.

      • LostCat
      • 2 years ago

      ReFS has nothing to do with the Vista thing. It basically brings improved reliability and a few features but isn’t ready to replace NTFS yet…though I hope it will come to that someday.

    • NovusBogus
    • 2 years ago

    Still waiting on the Windows 10 Spyware-Free Edition. And I suspect the sort of people who run big-boy workstations are, too.

    • the
    • 2 years ago

    Reference to Opterons is likely due to Opterons supporting quad socket configurations, something Epyc fails to do.

    • pranav0091
    • 2 years ago

    But can it run my code for 48 hours without a compulsory reboot?

      • Klimax
      • 2 years ago

      Even Pro edition can.

        • pranav0091
        • 2 years ago

        Well, I tried a bunch of settings – GPE, disable Update service etc – and then I still had what appeared to be a forced reboot some 2-3 days ago… Either that or the machine crashed and rebooted. Hence the comment.

        And yes, I run the Pro edition.

          • psuedonymous
          • 2 years ago

          Step 1: Stop fucking with it. The more you mess with the update system, the more likely you are to break how it’s intended to work.

          Step 2: Those prompts that pop up telling you that an update is needed? Don’t ignore them. Either defer the update, or run it and schedule the restart (which can be indefinitely rescheduled). If in the messing with Group Policies and killing services you’ve killed the notifications, then I guess you’re SOL.

            • pranav0091
            • 2 years ago

            This is a rant. There.

            [quote<]The more you mess with the update system, the more likely you are to break how it's intended to work. [/quote<] I hadn't touched anything until I got burned something like 4 times in a month or so. Now I am *forced* to do something because the defaults clearly aren't working for me. The workstation is expensive because its supposed to work for me. Not the other way round. [quote<]If in the messing with Group Policies and killing services you've killed the notifications, then I guess you're SOL[/quote<] Well, I dont see it telling me all that often that its going to update. I run code overnight to watch a clean system with no trace of my code in the morning. A couple of times I did see that pop up you mention and yes it did help me postpone the install. But certainly not always. That doesn't even describe half of my problems with W10. Here's more: 1. The new setting panel opens but only shows the tab in the taskbar and doesn't show up on screen. Not always. But certainly on some days. 2. The search doesn't find local apps on certain days. Sometimes, it magically works. 3. Add a new entry to the start menu by adding shortcut in the start folder? Nope. 4. Is it faster to boot than my other machine with Win 8.1? Nope. 5. I think I have been bitten by the reset-your-app-to-my-default-after-an-update bug, but not sure since I cant recall it well enough and since it hasn't recurred I don't mind. But I don't care about any of those as long as I can run my workstation for a few days before it kills itself and my work along with it. And yeah before you chalk it to my ignorance, no sir, I have been a windows user for over a decade now. I never had to actively fight my system to get it to do what I want.

    • Krogoth
    • 2 years ago

    This is pretty much 2016 Server lite. All of those missing features are enterprise-tier.

    It is Microsoft’s knee-jerk reaction to the growing threat of *nix solutions in this niche.

      • Klimax
      • 2 years ago

      Meh, more like to help devs to test and debug their code. Also it helps with learning some of those enterprise-grade features.

    • GrimDanfango
    • 2 years ago

    Any chance this will provide the option to fully disable telemetry? I presume that’ll remain limited to Enterprise…

    • odizzido
    • 2 years ago

    Am I still the only one hating on W10? It just broke the backup software at work with the last creator’s edition and now there is another big one coming? Great, can’t wait to see what breaks this time.

      • mcarson09
      • 2 years ago

      No I avoid it. Windows 10’s reputation is so bad for now have to walk into the trap willingly, and that’s a shame on you kind of thing.

      • blahsaysblah
      • 2 years ago

      That really sounds like its your fault and also your vendors fault. Windows 10 Insider builds have been a feature since before Win 10 launched. You also likely have a poorly architect-ed/choosen IT infrastructure that does not match your needs.

      Progress is good. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        • odizzido
        • 2 years ago

        Our IT infrastructure consists of two cheap computers running software we don’t choose. So yeah, you’re telling me things I already know.

        However calling W10 progress is being generous at best IMO. W7 had some useful features that were removed in 10 and I don’t see any benefits.

      • curtisb
      • 2 years ago

      Sounds like you need a patch management plan. Your software should have been tested before the upgrade was pushed. Don’t want it pushed? Use the LTSB version.

      If you can’t wait to see what breaks, then install the latest Insider build and test your software. It’s feature complete and readily available. Come up with a plan before you deploy…not after.

        • odizzido
        • 2 years ago

        LTSB version would be nice but we don’t run enterprise so yeah.

        Also I don’t have control over what software we use for our till system and I don’t have any control over how it’s made. Knowing it’s going to break doesn’t help since I can’t prevent updates. Unless maybe I block all of MS’s IP addresses on our router maybe. That’s probably the best solution actually.

          • curtisb
          • 2 years ago

          Or, you know, you could stand up a WSUS server where you [i<]can[/i<] control which updates go out. And if your environment is big enough, there really should be a Volume License agreement in place, which would give you access to the Enterprise version and the LTSB. With regards to the other system, if you know it's going to break, you can go to the vendor beforehand. Don't let software vendors run all over you. You're paying them to provide a working system in [i<]your[/i<] infrastructure.

            • odizzido
            • 2 years ago

            WSUS is only for windows server? Anything you’re suggesting would have to run on the free W7-W10 swap MS offered. My environment is two computers I put together where cost was the main factor. Anything more than free is too much money.

            I do appreciate your suggestions though. I didn’t actually know about the LTSB so I was able to learn something which is nice. It’s too bad it’s so restricted because I might consider trying it at home but I guess I will be sticking with 7 for now.

      • benedict
      • 2 years ago

      You’re not the only one. Creators update broke several of our programs and Microsoft are as usual terribly slow at dealing with that. It takes hundreds of reports from different people for them to even acknowledge there’s a problem.

      • CScottG
      • 2 years ago

      I hate what its become on the consumer-side:

      SPYWARE.

      [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPFbAqICUJo[/url<] ..don't get me wrong, I still use it - it's just that I ONLY use it for games now.

      • freebird
      • 2 years ago

      I like Windows 10 for my personal use, but Enterprise use is another matter… which is probably why we are still running Windows 7 until at least next year.

    • mcarson09
    • 2 years ago

    You must be young.

    Actually this type of Windows versionswas introduced with Windows for workgroups. There was versions 3.1 and 3.11. 3.11 was the popular one because it came with TCP/IP out of the box.

    • Mr Bill
    • 2 years ago

    If one had to have windows 10 this might be the one to get. MS is really making Win10 a moving target that has the not unexpected not fortuitous side effect of making it difficult to virtualize in another operating system.

      • NovusBogus
      • 2 years ago

      Good point, my VMs are all W7 still but this has to be a monstrous pain in the ass, especially if you’re running VMware (as I am) due to their paid updates and murky product roadmap. I’m not a diehard FOSS enthusiast, I do business with both camps in equal measure, but it feels like all the major proprietary software vendors–dissatisfied that they aren’t pushing customers toward *nix and community-maintained software fast enough–are now joining forces to do it even better.

      Personally, my own upgrade path is to go to CentOS with a Windows game VM when W7 EOL happens unless or until MS produces a new Windows version that is both stable and has the MS account tie-ins, telemetry, etc. physically removed from the code so some blackhat can’t simply turn it on again and redirect the data.

    • AMDisDEC
    • 2 years ago

    “There’s a sucker born every minute”
    Phineas Taylor “P. T.” Barnum

      • willmore
      • 2 years ago

      He didn’t actually say that.

        • AMDisDEC
        • 2 years ago

        It definitely was him or Morris Fishbein.
        [url<]http://rense.com/general19/enemy.htm[/url<]

      • mcarson09
      • 2 years ago

      It applies most to iPhone users. No headphone jack and they still but them!

        • odizzido
        • 2 years ago

        It actually happened? Unless you’re buying a phone to be water proof it just sounds like a terrible idea.

        But then again people buy phones without SD card slots or removable batteries so it shouldn’t be surprising.

        • Anton Kochubey
        • 2 years ago

        There’s also no optical drive and, woah, no floppy disk drive either!

        • psuedonymous
        • 2 years ago

        No iPhone, but I haven’t used a 3.5″ socket on a phone for the last half a decade. Once you go Bluetooth, you never go back.

        “But muh sound quality!”. If you care about that, then use a USB DAC and amplifier. connected to the phone – or a dedicated audio device – rather than half-arsing it with the internal parts.

        • LoneWolf15
        • 2 years ago

        And they’re more secure than Android phones too.

        I’m an Android fan, but I’ll tell you right now, the only semi-secure option I know of is Apple. I’ve lost faith in almost everyone making Android phones at this point. Apple wins for an experience as consistent as AOSP, which you can currently get on two phones.

        I’ve lost faith in Google being able to govern the Android universe as much as needs to be to keep carriers and vendors patching phones against security. That’s now a serious priority for me. And the silly Apple mocks get old.

      • Peter.Parker
      • 2 years ago

      That’s fake news. He never said this. In fact, it’s not even news.

        • AMDisDEC
        • 2 years ago

        What are you referencing, Wiki? LOL!

      • blastdoor
      • 2 years ago

      According to here [url<]http://www.ecology.com/birth-death-rates/[/url<] there are 250 births per minute worldwide. I suspect the 1 sucker per minute estimate is too optimistic.

        • AMDisDEC
        • 2 years ago

        True dat.
        Barnum was born when birth rate was lower, so, every second nicely corresponds to current Apple production rates?

    • smilingcrow
    • 2 years ago

    Even a dual socket Epyc system is comfortable with the socket, core and RAM limits of W10 Pro and that is a very high spec for a workstation, so I suspect the other features are the real attraction.

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    I’m sure Candy Crush, Minecraft and other ridiculous promoted tablet games for children will still litter this version of Windows. I just had to de-junk a fresh W10 Pro install at work today and Windows 10’s out-of-the-box experience isn’t much better than Acer laptops back in the bad old days, complete with adverts on the login screen…. :'(

    Making and enabling the DisableWindowsConsumerFeatures registry key helps to some extent, but it would be nice to think that Microsoft can completely keep adware and junk designed primarily for children’s tablets/netbooks away from an OS that’s bordering on datacenter-grade.

      • smilingcrow
      • 2 years ago

      As much as I dislike W10 I wouldn’t put it anywhere near as bad as an Acer I tried ~6 years ago.
      That had so much junkware pre-installed which for some reason needed to set itself up the first time you booted the PC that it literally took about 5 minutes.
      I can see why people were doing fresh O/S installs on a new PC with systems like that.

        • mcarson09
        • 2 years ago

        The only real way to deal windows 10 is to make it run like windows 8.1. No Cortana and block all the extra like the ads and telemetry garbage. This alone should convince people to try windows 10 in a VM before installing it. Virualbox is free people! At least when I installed windows 8.1 it gave a better overall experience in terms of the performance boost.

      • EzioAs
      • 2 years ago

      I don’t have Candy Crush or Minecraft on my PC. I don’t remember uninstalling them so it might be prebuilt desktops or laptops

        • mcarson09
        • 2 years ago

        Candy Crush was installed later after a certain update. I think Minecraft is suppose to be part of the creators update.

          • EzioAs
          • 2 years ago

          I’m on the latest production build (15063.540) and like I said, I don’t have of those on my PCs.

          • Klimax
          • 2 years ago

          And all that can be uninstalled either manually or by PS script.

          Note: If option to uninstall doesn’t appear, mostly it means it is not yet installed.

            • Chrispy_
            • 2 years ago

            My gripe with Windows 10’s current clean-install appearance is not that the junkware and ads can’t be removed or disabled, it’s that they’re there at all.

            [b<]You [i<]shouldn't[/i<] have to de-clutter a clean-install; The giveaway is in the word "[i<]clean[/i<]". [/b<] Removing unwanted programs, games, trial-versions of software, advertising, nag screens and apps that are out of place on anything not portable should not necessary for a professional/enterprise/workstation deployments. If anything, the experience should be more like a server OS where a lot of the consumer junk is not only disabled, but runs in an enhanced-security locked-down mode when you do run it.

      • Welch
      • 2 years ago

      I agree. Very disappointed that Microsoft has forgotten the meaning of Pro. Maybe Pro gamers with their XBoX apps?

      All they would need to do is allow users to choose a business profile when creating users or hell, at a minimum when joining a domain and logging in with domain creds to forego the home user cheese.

    • LostCat
    • 2 years ago

    ReFS by default? Nice. Would love to see that on the normal editions.

      • homerdog
      • 2 years ago

      Can you boot from a ReFS volume? I only ask cause Wiki says you can’t.

        • mcarson09
        • 2 years ago

        I would say that you should be able to boot from ReFS or it would be stupid to even include it. This would create the win95 crap show al. over again (win95A win95B(FAT32), win95C for usb)

          • curtisb
          • 2 years ago

          You can’t boot from ReFS. It’s not designed for the OS volume and it’s requirements. NTFS still fills that role just fine. ReFS is designed for large storage volumes where the data needs to be kept safe.

          Since ReFS uses 64KB blocks, I wouldn’t want to use it on the OS volume anyway. So for example, a 20 byte text file will take 64KB to store. That’s the potential for a lot of wasted space on the OS volume.

          And no, this isn’t anywhere near like the different iterations of Windows 95. Those were due to hardware advancements. USB didn’t even exist, and FAT32 was created because drives started getting much larger really quickly at that point in time. We went from small drives of less than 500GB to 20GB and above in a relatively short span.

            • Klimax
            • 2 years ago

            And distribution of updates was not trivial. (See upgrade disks for Windows 3.x)

        • LostCat
        • 2 years ago

        There’s very likely a newer revision of it in this OS and future Windows 10 builds. I doubt normal win10 editions will ever be able to install to it making it meh, though I wouldn’t mind using it on more types of drives than a mirrored storage space in the future.

      • curtisb
      • 2 years ago

      I’m not sure where that information came from. You can’t boot from a ReFS volume because it doesn’t support hard links, which are used quite a bit in user profiles. The Windows Store also cannot install apps on a ReFS volume. I haven’t read anywhere else that it would be used by default. It could be that non-boot volumes will use it by default. And there may be another ReFS version that does allow booting and fixes the Windows Store issue. The current version is 3.2 and was released with Windows 10 1703 (Creators Update). I’m sure the next release will include a new version again.

      [url<]http://windowsitpro.com/windows-server-2012/q-what-features-does-ntfs-support-refs-does-not-support[/url<] [url<]https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/storage/refs/refs-overview[/url<] [url<]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReFS#Stability_and_known_issues[/url<]

      • blahsaysblah
      • 2 years ago

      ReFS is already available on Win 10 Pro via Storage Spaces. If you want to get cheaty, you could even install the binaries from matching Windows Server build and get MS de-duplication service working with it under Win 10 Pro.

      However, ReFS is not a superset of NTFS though. It’s different purpose right now(resilient storage as the name says). You cant boot off of it because of missing feature parity. It doesnt have compression like NTFS. edit: …

        • freebird
        • 2 years ago

        You can create an ReFS partition on any unformatted disk from my experience (Windows 10 Pro)

        Create a simple volume partition on an available unformatted disk, but don’t format it . Windows creates it as a RAW partition, then you can format it and choose NTFS or ReFS, at least that is how I was able to create an ReFS formatted disk.

    • Waco
    • 2 years ago

    Ugh. I didn’t realize RDMA was restricted by version. The segmentation game is obnoxious.

      • psuedonymous
      • 2 years ago

      Do you have any other devices at home that even support RDMA? That you didn’t even realise it was not present is telling, but even if it [i<]were[/i<] it's unlikely your PC is linked to a fibre-channel SAN in the first place.

        • Waco
        • 2 years ago

        Fibre channel doesn’t do RDMA.

        I was eyeing used QDR Infiniband parts on eBay.

          • psuedonymous
          • 2 years ago

          Yeah, got the two bass ackwards. Though if you just want RDMA for Zero Copy, you can get that in vanilla Windows with TransmitFile.

            • Waco
            • 2 years ago

            It’s not the same as RDMA though.

            I’m just annoyed they’d segment that off. It’s yet another thing that keeps high speed networking out of consumer hands.

            • Krogoth
            • 2 years ago

            Because there’s no demand/need for it in the mainstream market.

            The parties that have a genuine interest in it already have it.

            • Waco
            • 2 years ago

            This is always true until it’s not. 🙂

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