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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Differences Among Windows 7 Versions

Windows 7 comes in six basic versions in the U.S. market:

  • Windows 7 Starter
  • Windows 7 Home Basic
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Ultimate

Although all versions contain the same integrated applications and many of the same multimedia features, Professional and Enterprise editions include greater security and emphasize the needs of the business sector (Enterprise is available only through special corporate licensing agreements, not via retail). The Starter version is available only pre-installed on low-end PCs (primarily netbook PCs). Home versions emphasize the multimedia experience. For the buyer who has to have it all, the Ultimate version leaves nothing out.

Furthermore, 64-bit versions are available for all platforms. As of this writing, most users will be running the x86 code base because their computers have 4GB or less RAM installed. But as more computers begin to ship with 4GB or more RAM installed, that will change. Then 64-bit CPUs, such as AMD’s Athlon 64 and Opteron, or Intel’s Core Duo and i7 families, can take advantage of their speed and other enhancements.

The 64-bit versions use an emulation layer called WOW64 to run Win32-based applications, although, for best performance, Microsoft recommends using 32-bit software on 32-bit Windows systems. The emulation feature enables organizations to use their Itanium-based systems with existing Windows applications until they create 64-bit versions created internally or purchase them from software vendors.

Table 1.2 compares the features in the various versions of Windows 7.

Various Versions of Windows 7 Compared

Some information in this table was adapted from information found on Paul Thurrott’s incredibly informative Windows Supersite (www.winsupersite.com).

Feature

Starter

Home Basic

Home Premium

Professional

Enterprise/Ultimate

Windows Basic UI

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Windows Standard UI

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Windows Aero UI

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Aero Peek

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Aero Shake

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Aero Background

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Windows Flip 3D

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Live Taskbar Previews

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Fast User Switching

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Number of CPUS

1

1

2

2

2

Maximum RAM (32-bit)

4GB

4GB

4GB

4GB

4GB

Maximum RAM (64-bit)

8GB

8GB

16GB

192GB

192GB

Backup to network

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

BitLocker (& To Go)

No

No

No

No

Yes

Premium Games

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Snipping Tool

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Anytime Upgrade

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

N/A

Windows Media Player Remote Experience

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

MPEG-2 decoding

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Dolby Digital compatible

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

DVD playback

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Windows Media Center

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Windows DVD Maker

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

HomeGroup sharing

Join only

Join only

Yes

Yes

Yes

Remote desktop host

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

IIS Web server

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Internet Connection Sharing

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Offline files

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

Windows Mobility Center

No

Yes (limited)

Yes (limited)

Yes

Yes

Windows Sideshow

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Tablet PC capability

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Multitouch

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Join AD domain

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

XP Mode licensed

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

Boot from VHD

No

No

No

No

Yes

Branch Cache

No

No

No

No

Yes

DirectAccess

No

No

No

No

Yes

Table 1.3 outlines the upgrade options mapped to the different Windows 7 editions.

Windows 7 Upgrade Paths

Windows 7 Editions

Starter

Home Basic

Home Premium

Professional

Ultimate/Enterprise

From Windows XP (all versions)

1

1

1

1

1

From Windows Vista Home Basic

1

2

2

1

1

From Windows Vista Home Premium

1

1

2

1

1

From Windows Vista Business

1

1

1

2

1

From Windows Vista Ultimate

1

1

1

1

2

From Windows Vista Enterprise

1

1

1

1

2

From Windows 2000

1

1

1

1

1

  • Some information in this table adapted from information found on Paul Thurrott’s Windows Supersite (www.winsupersite.com).
  • 1 = Requires clean install.
  • 2 = In-place installation option available.

Available in all Windows 7 versions are Aero Snap, Windows Flip, Jump Lists, more granular UAC, Action Center, Windows Defender, Windows Firewall, Parental Controls, Windows ReadyDrive, Windows ReadyBoost, SuperFetch, 64-bit support, unlimited processor core support, Windows Backup, System Image, disk defragmentation, create and attach VHD, IE 8, Windows Gadgets and Gallery, basic games, Windows Photo Viewer, basic photo slideshows, Windows Media Player 12, AAC and H.264 decoding, Device Stage, Sync Center, 20 SMB connections, Network and Sharing Center, improved power management, connect to projector, remote desktop, and RSS support.

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