“The Path to Windows 8”..Know more about: “Windows 7 [simpler] Product Editions”


Windows 7 Product Editions:

Only a

Little Bit Simpler

Read this Post in Spanish / Leer en Español


As with Windows Vista, Windows 7 will ship in many different product editions. On the

surface, this seems confusing—just as confusing, in fact, as the Vista product line. But

this time, Microsoft made a few commonsense changes to the product lineup that should

make things easier on most people. So assume the Lotus position, breathe deeply, and

relax. It’s not as bad as it sounds.

Windows 7 Editions [Not all pictured]

For starters, though there are, in fact, almost as many Windows 7 product editions as

there were for Windows Vista, most individuals will only need to consider a handful of

commonsense product editions. And with Windows 7, unlike with Vista, these product

editions are all true supersets of each other, so there are no overlapping feature sets,

as there were with some of the Vista product editions. That’s good news, both for those

migrating to Windows 7 and for those Windows 7 users who think they might want a more

powerful product edition.

Consider a typical issue with the Windows Vista product editions. In that version of

Windows, the Windows Vista Business edition didn’t include Windows Media Center, a

fun digital media application that was part of the Home Premium product. But business

users enjoy digital media too, especially when traveling, and they told Microsoft that this

division in the feature set didn’t make sense.

Okay, here’s what Microsoft is offering with Windows 7:

Windows 7 Home Basic (developing markets only)

Windows 7 Starter

Windows 7 Starter x64

Windows 7 Home Premium

Windows 7 Home Premium (x64)

Windows 7 Home Premium N (European Union only)

Windows 7 Professional

Windows 7 Professional (x64)

Windows 7 Enterprise

Windows 7 Enterprise (x64)

Windows 7 Ultimate

Windows 7 Ultimate (x64)

Why not just have one or two product editions, as we did back when Windows XP first

shipped? Microsoft says that it has over one billion Windows users worldwide and that their

needs are diverse and cannot all be met with a single product. So it has instead moved to

a “Russian nesting doll” model, where as you increment up the list of Windows 7 product

editions, features or capabilities are simply adopted from the previous editions. They are

true supersets of each other, and additive, not arbitrarily different.

Understanding the Differences and Choosing

the Right Version

The first step is to understand the differences between each Windows 7 product edition.

Then, you need to understand the various ways in which you can acquire Windows 7,

either as a standalone product or as an upgrade to an existing version of Windows (including,

confusingly, Windows 7 itself). After that, you can weigh the various trade-offs of

each option—features, price, and so on—and act accordingly.

Let’s do it.

Step 1: Whittling Down the Product Editions List

While the clinically sarcastic will dryly complain that there is precious real-world difference

between Vista’s 18 product editions and Windows 7’s 12, that’s just a smoke screen.

In the real world, most people will have to choose only between two Windows 7 product

editions. To get to this number, we need to temporarily forget about the differences

between 32-bit and 64-bit versions (don’t worry, we’ll get to that) and just skip over the

versions that really don’t matter. Once we do this, the following list emerges:

Windows 7 Starter (32-bit or x64)

Windows 7 Home Premium (x64)

Windows 7 Professional (x64)

Windows 7 Ultimate (x64)

Okay, this is four options, not two, but it’s still a much more manageable list than what

we started with. Before we whittle this down to just two options, let’s take a closer look at

the four options now in front of us. After all, there were 12 product editions in the original

list. How did we cut it down this far so quickly?


Here’s how.

Windows 7 Home Basic

You don’t need or want Windows 7 Home Basic. But it’s even simpler than that: you can’t

get it anyway. That’s because Windows 7 Home Basic is available only with new PCs in

emerging markets. You can’t get it in the U.S., Europe, or any other developed area.

So unless you’re buying a PC in one of the few countries in which you can acquire

Windows 7 Home Basic, you probably won’t hear much more about this product. And if

you are buying such a PC, your computing needs are pretty basic, so it’s unlikely that

you’re ready for this book just yet.

The K and N Editions Aren’t for You, Either

Whatever Windows 7 versions are being offered in Korea (with a K moniker) or in Europe

(with an N moniker), they’re designed to satisfy the antitrust regulations and rulings in

those locales, and you should also ignore them. Why? Because these versions are more

limited than the non-K and non-N Windows 7 versions that are sold in South Korea and

the EU, respectively. And they don’t cost any less, so there’s no reason to even consider

them, even if you do live in these areas.

Consider the Windows 7 N edition, which is sold only in EU markets. This product came

about because of a 2004 EU ruling that required Microsoft to offer versions of Windows

without the Windows Media Player included. The requirement for a separate version of

Windows was intended to enhance competition in the market for media players, such as

the downloadable RealPlayer application.

But because Microsoft sells its N versions for the same price as its full-featured Windows

versions, demand for the N versions never materialized. Until there’s a big price difference,

consumers will continue to interpret N to mean Not Interested. Ditto for the K versions,

though we’re having trouble coming up with a witty K-related word to help you remember

why. All you need to remember is that you should forget these versions ever existed.

You’re Not the Enterprise

Windows 7 Enterprise is a special version of Windows 7 that is aimed at Microsoft’s largest

corporate customers. It is functionally identical to Windows 7 Ultimate, but there is one

difference between the two products: whereas Windows 7 Ultimate is available at retail

(both with new PCs and as stand-alone software), Windows 7 Enterprise is available only

through Microsoft’s corporate volume licensing subscription programs. Because of the

unique way in which you must acquire this version, chances are good you won’t be hunting

around for Windows 7 Enterprise. That said, if you do get a PC from work with Windows 7

Enterprise on it, you’re using the functional equivalent of Windows 7 Ultimate.

32-bit Versions of Windows 7

The differences between 32-bit (x86) versions of Windows 7 and 64-bit (x64) versions are

more complex, but here’s the weird bit: though virtually every single PC sold over the

past several years was x64 compatible, virtually every single copy of Windows that went

out the door before Windows 7 was, in fact, a 32-bit version.

No more. With Windows 7, it’s time to leave the 32-bit world behind for good, and the

first step is to run a 64-bit version of Windows 7. These versions of Windows 7 are fully

compatible with most of the 32-bit software that runs on 32-bit versions of the OS, and

they are likewise just about as compatible with the wide number of hardware devices

that are available on the market.

The biggest reason to go 64-bit is RAM: after all, 64-bit versions of Windows 7 can access

far more RAM than 32-bit versions (up to 192GB, depending on which version of Windows 7

you’re talking about, compared to less than 4GB of RAM in 32-bit versions).

Folks, with one minor exception, it’s time to say good-bye to 32-bit versions of Windows.

So with Windows 7, almost universally, we recommend that you seek out 64-bit (x64)

versions instead.

What is the one exception? Many netbook computers come with a version of Intel’s Atom

microprocessor that is incompatible with the x64 instruction set, and thus with x64 versions

of Windows 7. On such a PC, you will need to use a 32-bit version of Windows 7 instead.

And that’s just fine: given the limited usage scenarios for these computing lightweights,

that’s perfectly acceptable. It’s also the exception to the rule.

[Knowledge is wealth ! Visit Sistemas Ayala to get rich !!]

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