Windows 7: Choosing the Right Version

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Main editions Windows 7 Starter Windows 7 Starter is the edition of Windows 7 that contains the fewest features. Windows 7 Starter is only available in a bit version. The Windows Aero theme is sadly not included in this version. The desktop wallpaper and Visual Styles Windows 7 Basic are not user-changeable.
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Windows 7 Codec Pack

Main editions Windows 7 Starter Windows 7 Starter is the edition of Windows 7 that contains the fewest features. Windows 7 Starter is only available in a bit version. The Windows Aero theme is sadly not included in this version.

The desktop wallpaper and Visual Styles Windows 7 Basic are not user-changeable. Microsoft originally intended to restrict the edition to running 3 simultaneous applications but this limitation was dropped. This edition is available pre-installed on computers, especially netbooks , through system integrators or computer manufacturers using OEM licenses.

Windows 7 Home Basic Windows 7 Home Basic is available in ” emerging markets “, in different countries. Some Windows Aero options are excluded along with several new features. Home Basic, along with other editions sold in emerging markets, include geographical activation restriction , which requires users to activate Windows within a certain region or country.

Windows 7 Home Premium This edition contains features aimed at the home market segment , such as Windows Media Center , Windows Aero and multi-touch support. Windows 7 Professional This edition is targeted towards enthusiasts and small-business users.

It includes all the features of Windows 7 Home Premium, and adds the ability to participate in a Windows Server domain. Like Enterprise, Microsoft will support this edition until Windows 7 Enterprise This edition targets the enterprise segment of the market and is sold through volume licensing to companies which have a Software Assurance contract with Microsoft. As a result it includes several SA-only benefits, including a license allowing the operating of diskless nodes diskless PCs , the running of multiple virtual machines , and activation via WOLF.

Like Professional, Microsoft will support this edition until Windows 7 Ultimate Windows 7 Ultimate contains all of the same features as Windows 7 Enterprise, but unlike the Enterprise edition, it is available to home users on an individual license basis.

However, even though it is the consumer equivalent to Enterprise, like Home Premium, Microsoft will only support Ultimate until Volume license keys can be used to activate multiple installations of the software without any mechanism such as a product activation mechanism checking the total number of installations.

The license for the software will place restrictions on the use of the key. Typically the license will limit the key to a fixed number of installations which must only be within the licensee’s organization and also place the licensee under an obligation to keep a record of the number of installations, keep the key confidential and possibly even require that the licensee organization makes itself available for a software licensing audit to verify that its use of the key is within the terms of the license.

Upgrade editions Windows Vista Service Pack 1 can be upgraded to Windows 7 with an in-place upgrade if the processor architecture, comparable edition, and language version are the same. Earlier versions than Windows Vista Service Pack 1 can only be upgraded to Windows 7 via a clean install. However, in some countries, Microsoft has recommended a clean install regardless of whether going from XP or Vista, with reasoning that has not been made clear.

Standard upgrade editions Windows 7 supports upgrading from an applicable version of XP and Vista to an applicable version of Windows 7 via Upgrade Editions, however there is no direct way to upgrade earlier than Windows Vista Service Pack 1. Users can upgrade to Vista first then to Windows 7 or use Windows Easy Transfer to collect data and settings from installed programs, install Windows 7 then install their program data and settings from Windows Easy Transfer, then re-install all their programs.

Not all programs will install if they don’t support Windows 7. The latter method does a fresh install of Windows 7 so all software needs to be re-installed. If the original hardware is kept, suitable drivers will need to be found. The options mean that users can update freely from any previous version to any of the new three retail editions of Windows 7: Discounted upgrade pricing is only available to current users of genuine copies XP or Vista.

These are not full versions, so each machine to be upgraded must have one of these qualifying previous versions of Windows for them to work. In the United States, this offer was discontinued in early December Microsoft has since announced it will resume availability of Windows 7 Home Premium Family Pack which will be available starting October 3, for a limited time while supplies last.

Upgrade compatibility There are two possible ways to upgrade to Windows 7 from an earlier version of Windows: An in-place install labelled “Upgrade” in the installer , where settings and programs are preserved from an older version of Windows. This option is only sometimes available, depending on the editions of Windows being used, and is not available at all unless upgrading from Windows Vista. A clean install labelled “Custom” in the installer. This option is always available.

The table below lists which upgrade paths allow for an in-place install. Note that in-place upgrades can only be performed when the previous version of Windows is of the same architecture. If upgrading from a bit installation to a bit installation, a clean install is mandatory regardless of the editions being used.

Understanding Versions of Windows 7

This is compatible with the University’s Novell network and network printing system. If you buy a new computer from a shop you will most likely be provided with Windows 7 Home or Home Premium, which are not compatible with our network and printing. If you have a netbook mini laptop you may well have Windows 7 Starter. This is not compatible with the University IT infrastructure. You can upgrade to Home basic or Enterprise and risk reduced performance or lobby Microsoft to include internet printing on Windows 7 Starter; see the online discussion below.

VIDEO: Windows 7 Codec Pack

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