Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10: N, K and KN Special Editions

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Many MSDN customers may notice Windows editions (Starter, Professional, Ultimate, etc) that have N, K, or KN designations.  I’ve wondered what these were and if I should avoid using them.  After some research, this is what I’ve found:

Windows N: Has multimedia support removed from the OS install.  This is the version sold to the European market and is missing Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center, and Windows DVD Maker.  This was due to sanctions by the European Union (EU) against Microsoft for violating anti-trust laws.

Windows K: This edition is sold to South Korean markets and comes pre-installed with links to other competing instant messaging and media player software.

Windows KN: Is a combination of K and N.  It has links to other competing IM/MP software, but also does not include Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center, or Windows DVD Maker.

Installing the Media Feature Pack for Windows will make the N and KN editions identical to the normal Windows edition (with the addition of those extra links for K editions).  I have listed the download links for the different Media Feature Packs below:

Windows 10 Media Feature Pack (for N and KN editions)

Windows 8.1 Media Feature Pack (for N and KN editions)

Windows 8 Media Feature Pack (for N and KN editions)

Windows 7 Media Feature Pack (for N and KN editions)

Windows Vista Media Player (for N and KN editions)

Windows XP: adding media features (for N and KN editions)

Update (11.21.2013): Added links for the Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 Media Feature Packs.

Update (8.6.2015): Added links for the Windows 10 Media Feature Packs.

Update (9.25.2015): Added details on Vista

9 thoughts on “Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10: N, K and KN Special Editions”

  1. Thanks … as a MSDN subscriber, I’m leery of touching anything the MS anal-retentive accountants might use to flag my account. I like to concentrate on my own projects. Your clarification save me a lot of stomach acid in anticipation of a mis-interpretation by someone with nothing useful to do ! TX again.

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  3. I would just like to know why videos of any kind won’t play right on Firefox on my regular American computer using Windows 7!

  4. Ah, you reference MSDN, may it rest in peace. At least, I can still use my old Windows 7 Ultimate codes from MSDN, of which I have “10 of 5” after they contracted the allotment, to get free Windows 10 Pro for the computers I maintain for family and friends.

    I used one of my 5 Windows Ultimate 7 N keys on one friend’s computer just for fun. It’s good to see a path to getting her the full featured version of 10 after the upgrade.

    As you can tell from the above, of course I had ignored Windows 8.

    1. I haven’t heard of an “S” edition and I can’t find anything online about it. Where do you see “S”? Is it possible it’s the Student version (but those should be referred to as “Education” editions)?

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