Throughout its history, we have seen Microsoft’s Windows set itself up as the go-to operating system (OS) if you are a gamer. All the big AAA titles are released on Windows these days, and only a very few make it to Apple’s Mac. Linux is a different story altogether, and people who are switching to that OS know what they are doing. But, if you want to install Windows 10 or the latest installment, Windows 11, you will have loads of options.
You will have a Home version of Windows, an Education version, and a Pro version. But have you noticed the “N” versions of Windows 10? Well, this one is relatively new, and it’s better to say that Microsoft was forced to release it. Previously, Windows shipped with loads of bloatware like OneDrive, Skype, and some games such as Microsoft Solitaire. Because the majority of us did not use many of these programs, they used to sit in our drives and give periodic reminders. One prominent example is, “Hey, you have OneDrive. Use it to back up your data and save your computer from ransomware attacks.”
Now, you may ask, what’s the problem with all this bloatware? Well, these led to high CPU and RAM usage. Consequently, frustrated “pro” users, who wanted all their resources available within the software they use, were hugely disappointed with Windows.
The only way out was to modify the Windows installation (or download a pre-modified/cracked one), remove the software you don’t need, and then reinstall it. However, there are several risks of doing so, or even worse, using cracked and pirated OS installation.
The Bigger Story: Why Microsoft Introduced the ‘N’ Versions of the OS
In simple words, Windows 10 Pro N does not contain any multimedia apps that come with Windows 10 Pro. Examples: Music, Video, TV, Voice Recorder, and Skype.
The European Union court had a strong claim against Microsoft. They were accusing them of forcing Windows users to employ built-in Microsoft apps that have many other alternatives in the market. Or, you may say the EU court found Microsoft was doing a monopoly business by providing some inbuilt apps. They utilized them to take extra advantage, beating the other app vendors in the process.
To solve this issue and recover the EU market presence, Microsoft released another version of Windows 10 Pro which is remarkably similar to the existing Pro edition. However, neither the multimedia apps nor Skype is available. That’s precisely what the “N” edition of Windows 10 is. Now, the N versions are bloatware-free versions. Meaning, you won’t have any of the pre-installed bloatware in these, and you can install a clean copy of Windows into your system. But don’t worry, the “N” users have the option of downloading the missing Microsoft apps through the Microsoft Store app.
Now, don’t get me wrong—these N versions aren’t a separate version of Windows. As a result, you won’t face any serious problems if you have the N versions in your system, like the RAM support, for example. You can still install 2 TB of RAM in your Pro N, and open nearly infinite Chrome tabs nonetheless.
This is the official documentation from Microsoft’s website:
“The “N” editions of Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro include the same functionality as the standard edition, except that they do not include certain media-related technologies (Windows Media Player, Camera, Music, Films & TV) and do not include the Skype app.”
A Note of Caution
Do you remember how we described the EU court had forced Microsoft to launch the N versions? Well, yes, the N versions were released for the European markets, meaning you cannot get that particular version from any other part of the world. This was done to give the consumers an equal opportunity to download and use their required multimedia apps according to their choice.
A quick Google search reveals the top result as the Iceland page of Microsoft. Thereafter, no more Windows 10 Pro N vendor pages appear anyway.
Now, can you buy it from the USA or India? Well, yes, there are always third-party vendors. Plus, cracking is an option—although we strongly advise against it under any circumstances. If you do manage to crack it, this article will not be responsible for any loss of data or other damage that may occur to you or your hardware.
Therefore, the key takeaway is that Windows 10 “N” is Windows 10 Pro without any media tools, and it is only available in the EU. If you get your hands on it from some other region of the world—that’s not a legitimate version of Windows N.