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Windows 7 - Buying the Right Version

As with previous versions of its operating system, Windows 7 is available in multiple different versions which vary considerably by price and range of features. Although there are a total of six editions of Windows 7, only three of these are available through normal retail channels in most countries.

Versions of Windows 7 which are generally not available to the general public are Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic and Windows 7 Enterprise. The Starter edition is the most basic version of Windows 7 and is only available in 32-bit. It has a greatly reduced set of features and its primary use is as a pre-installed operating system on basic netbook computers. The Home Basic edition is only available in certain countries, particularly in developing markets. It is a cheaper, cut-down version of the Home Premium edition. The Enterprise edition is for large companies which have a volume licensing contract with Microsoft. The remaining editions, which are available everywhere, are explained below.

Windows 7 Home Premium

Most new computers, including both laptops and desktops, come with the Home Premium edition preinstalled on them. This is the most common edition for regular home use. It provides all of the interface features new to Windows 7 as well as Windows Media Center and support for touch screens. If you're buying a copy of Windows for a new computer or as an upgrade from a previous operating system, you'll likely find that the Home Premium edition is perfectly adequate for most uses.

Windows 7 Professional

The Professional edition is available with many new business-orientated machines, as was the case with previous versions of Windows. The extra features provided by this edition include file encryption, Windows XP Mode (virtual machine) and the remote desktop among others. Most home users will never use these features. For enthusiasts, however, the support for virtual machines and Windows XP Mode can be a welcome extra. This edition is also targeted towards small businesses thanks to its improved networking and security features. Another option that makes the Professional edition attractive to companies is that support for the product will last until 2020, many years after support ends for the Home Edition.

Windows 7 Ultimate

For the complete Windows 7 experience, the Ultimate edition provides every feature. It is basically the same as the Enterprise edition although it is available through the regular retail channels. It is also the most expensive version and it rarely comes preinstalled on new computers. If budget is not much of a concern, then you may want to go for the Ultimate edition whether you are a home or business user. One of the most significant features in Windows 7 Ultimate is the ability to change the user interface language, including having different interface languages for different user accounts.

 

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