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Six Variants of Windows 7 Revealed

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 41 comments

Late last month we reported that there would be five different versions of Windows 7 shipping. It turns out that the information wasn’t entirely complete -- instead, we will be seeing six different variations of the OS.

The full lineup of Windows 7, from bottom to top, are as follows: Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic (for Emerging Markets only), Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Ultimate. This follows the screenshot from build 7025, with the addition of the Professional version.

The SKU confusion from Windows Vista (which also landed Microsoft in some legal headaches) might be a little severe this time as Microsoft Senior Vice President Bill Veghte clarified, "We're going to focus on two versions," according to CNet.

We believe that the two main versions of Windows 7, at least within our markets, will be Home Premium and Professional.

As for the other versions, Windows 7 Starter will be quite limited with only being allowed to run three applications at a time, lower screen resolutions, no live thumbnail previews and limited processor support.

Home Basic will only be for emerging markets, and will be missing the Aero interface, multitouch support, DVD playback and Windows Media Center.

Home Premium will be the version targeted at most of the consumer market, and will predominantly be the one shipped with new PCs. It will contain all the features that are aimed at the user’s direct experience.

The Professional version adds on top of Home Premium brings with it more business and network options, such as an encrypted file system and location-aware printing services.

Enterprise is aimed at businesses buying in volume, and contain even more networking and business options. Consumers won’t see this one on the shelf.

Finally, the Ultimate edition contains every single feature of Windows 7 -- both work and play aspects -- and will be one that’s purchasable by consumers.

Interestingly enough, users of any version of Windows 7 will be able to upgrade from one version to any above it without having to reinstall. According to CNet, each install of Windows 7 will contain the complete feature set, with only an upgraded key required to unlock a higher version.

As for the release date of Windows 7, nobody really knows yet. We’re still waiting for the release candidate.

Discuss
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  • 7 Hide
    Tekkamanraiden , February 3, 2009 8:12 PM
    Gee why not just add one more for a full 7 versions?
  • 8 Hide
    p05esto , February 3, 2009 8:23 PM
    I don't like this at all, MS should just have ONE version with options on install for what tools and features you would like. Frankly, I want the version with the least bloatware and crap software that's not critical to the OS install. I have 3rd party programs that I will install as needed for DVD burning or whatever, just give me a lean, fast OS that takes few resources. Right now I run Vista Home Basic 64bit on 6GB RAM and I LOVE it (on Core i7 CPU). I don't miss Aero interface at all and am glad not to have the bloat. MS could take it a step further, let us choose what to install!
  • 1 Hide
    A Stoner , February 3, 2009 8:48 PM
    Microsoft just cannot learn from the past it seems. All the usefull things, like being able to set up a home network are going to be in the most expensive version where if people want it they have to buy many copies. I can certainly start seeing people start to migrate more and more towards Apple and unix based if Microsoft continues to try to milk more money from it's software than it is worth. They should have three versions. Third World Crap, First World Home, Top of the Line Business. I paid for craptastic Vista Ultimate and it sits on shelf garnering dust and I will do everything in my power not to pay that kind of price again for another of MS's craptastic adventure modules. It would be somewhat different if the home basic was like $99 and ultimate was $150, but instead it is more like basic $199 with ultimate more than double that. My wife had Ubuntu installed in her mini 9, it looked pretty good, who knows, maybe I can go that route...
    Research reveals...
    Windows Vista US Pricing and Launch Date Revealed! January 30th, 2007.
    Edition Regular Price Add License Upgrade Price Add License
    Ultimate $399.00 $359.00 $259.00 $233.00
    Business $299.00 $269.00 $199.95 $179.00
    Home Premium $239.00 $215.00 $159.00 $143.00
    Home Basic $199.00 $179.00 $99.95 $89.95

    If I remember correctly I paid around $359 each for my 2 copies of Vista Ultimate, the ones on the shelf collecting dust as I reinstalled Windows XP. That will be the last time Microsoft stiffs me with a crappy buggy overpriced operating system.
  • 1 Hide
    jrnyfan , February 3, 2009 8:52 PM
    "According to CNet, each install of Windows 7 will contain the complete feature set, with only an upgraded key required to unlock a higher version."

    Does M$ ever learn? What was the main drawback with Vista? THE INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF BLOAT. So what does M$ do? Give us an OS with every possible version installed on it but only a portion will be available to you therefore guaranteeing BLOAT.

    *face palm* I really need to learn -nix, this is getting ridiculous.
  • 3 Hide
    GoodBytes , February 3, 2009 8:54 PM
    The layout is the same (better actually than Vista) as in Vista... but we will actually see less, here is why:

    For Vista you have:
    - Vista Starter edition for emerging market
    - Vista Home Basic
    - Vista Home Premium
    - Vista Business
    - Vista Enterprise
    - Vista Ultimate

    If Windows 7 Home Basic is for emerging markets... that mean sWindows starter edition will still be for emerging markets.

    Meaning that in stores you will see:
    - Win7 Home Premium
    - Win7 Professional
    - Win7 Ultimate

    3 versions and not 4!
    And the problem with Vista is that Business edition you had features like DVD codec (32 and 64-bit), Media Center, and more removed, in placed for advance system features. BUT, based on this article teh Professional edition will be build on top of Home Premium, so it will be like XP Professional over XP Home, meaning we still have Media Center and all that stuff.

    So in reality, you have 2 versions to select, Home Premium or Professional.

    2 versions! So don't complain!
  • -6 Hide
    jsloan , February 3, 2009 9:02 PM
    6 flavors, oh joy.

    $250 to upgrade from vista ultimate to windows 7 ultimate, ah @%*#! hint 4 letter word, starts with f and ends with k and has an a and a c in it.
  • -6 Hide
    jsloan , February 3, 2009 9:04 PM
    ok it does not have an a in it, but i dont wan't to get kicked out, so you'll have to guess the correct letter to use instead of the a. ok i'll give you'all a guess, it's not an a nor an e nor an i :-)
  • 4 Hide
    GoodBytes , February 3, 2009 9:06 PM
    p05estoI don't like this at all, MS should just have ONE version with options on install for what tools and features you would like.

    Then windows will be super expensive as it will be the ultimate edition.


    Frankly, I want the version with the least bloatware and crap software that's not critical to the OS install.

    Oh omg! What will you do! You will lose 200MB on your 2 Tera-Byte HDD with 16GB of RAM system.... Big deal! Beside it won't make the system any faster, nor slower. You lose when you do this. Vista Ultimate is just as fast as on the same system as with Vista Basic. So your bloatware excuse is invalid. Also, if you were not a Mac or Linux fanboy, you would know that Windows 7 will comes with less applications, and will be downloadable... Microsoft calls it Microsoft Live software package.


    Right now I run Vista Home Basic 64bit on 6GB RAM and I LOVE it (on Core i7 CPU). I don't miss Aero interface at all and am glad not to have the bloat.


    You are miss-informed. Actually you are slowing down your system. See Aero doesn't use your CPU to draw like every Windows. It uses your GPU instead. Meaning lower CPU usage, meaning longer battery life on a laptop (with a proper video card), and gives you more performance for your applications. How about in games, you ask? Well Aero unloads itself entirely when you play any full screen games old or new, so it is no issue at all.

    @[name]A Stone[/name] Dude, don't lie. You never used Vista or Windows 7 ever in your life. Everything you said is a lie. You can get OEM packages of Windows to save. They come in packs of 3 or even 5, I think.

  • 1 Hide
    Flameout , February 3, 2009 9:21 PM
    Follow the 3 L's

    Long Live Linux!
  • 1 Hide
    jsloan , February 3, 2009 9:47 PM
    FlameoutFollow the 3 L'sLong Live Linux!


    yeap, i might even get myself a mac, when hell freezes over or when windows 7 costs me $.10 , i just don't see myself paying more money. vista was like it for me. i'm still running on xp and have 2 vista licenses collecting dust. i've installed them then i uninstalled them, and now they want $250 more, no way. i got windows 7 beta, that is enough for me to stay with xp. after vista ordeal they should have gone back to drawing board, they could have had something that would be worth my hard earned money by now, instead, it's Windows Me all over again and now Windows Me 2 because their stock prices going down because they don't have something new that people want, like i or anyone want Windows Vista, like the plague.
  • 1 Hide
    Flameout , February 3, 2009 10:12 PM
    jsloanyeap, i might even get myself a mac, when hell freezes over or when windows 7 costs me $.10 , i just don't see myself paying more money. vista was like it for me. i'm still running on xp and have 2 vista licenses collecting dust. i've installed them then i uninstalled them, and now they want $250 more, no way. i got windows 7 beta, that is enough for me to stay with xp. after vista ordeal they should have gone back to drawing board, they could have had something that would be worth my hard earned money by now, instead, it's Windows Me all over again and now Windows Me 2 because their stock prices going down because they don't have something new that people want, like i or anyone want Windows Vista, like the plague.

    Not even mac man. Dual boot your XP with a linux distribution. Ubuntu is good for beginners. You can even install the different desktop environments such as Xfce (found in Xubuntu) and KDE (Kubuntu) on top of regular ubuntu and choose either before you log in. Or similarly, you can just get Window Managers (like themes) to have your desktop look all nice and pretty :) 
  • 0 Hide
    jsloan , February 3, 2009 11:11 PM
    i'm staying w/ xp because of the games. vista / windows 7 bring down my fps. plus performance is across the board better w/ xp over vista/windows 7
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 3, 2009 11:12 PM
    the starteredition seems like it could be aimed towards mini netbooks.
    If they can also reduce the visual appearance somewhat it'd be nice!

    I wonder how it will function after installing some drivers, virusscanner and firewall that are running in the background; and watching flash-based websites. That's like already 3 programs in one.
    I generally run my pc with minimum settings; Anti-virus, firewall, Bittorrent client, Firefox with about 6 windows opened at least, and some windows like explorer, maybe a notepad and calculator, or MS word.
    Altogether is about 6 to 7 programs.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 3, 2009 11:16 PM
    jsloani'm staying w/ xp because of the games. vista / windows 7 bring down my fps. plus performance is across the board better w/ xp over vista/windows 7

    I read that Windows 7 will actually improve gameplay, through rasterization even on older graphics cards.
    Whatever that means I don't know,but can only suspect that whatever free threads the CPU or GPU has will be filled to improve performance (kind of like a hybrid between Hardware 3D acceleration, and software acceleration.

    So Win7 has more potential than XP.
    Vista is only good for DX10 or up games.
  • 1 Hide
    tntom , February 3, 2009 11:41 PM
    Wow! Too tempting for code crackers. Coming up with ways to open up the full feature set in Win 7. Others will be looking for ways to create a "Min 7" that doesn't have all the bloatware force fed to your PC. The are totally thinking only of the basic consumer and forgetting about the enthusiast.
  • 0 Hide
    ravenware , February 3, 2009 11:53 PM
    Is it going to be 6 variants or 12 variants? There was no mention of 64-bit systems.
  • 0 Hide
    bachok83 , February 4, 2009 12:31 AM
    I have been trying out Windows 7 for a week now. I wanted to try it out to make a decision whether i should migrate to Mac permanently or wait for Win 7.

    At first i almost completely disagree with most of the reviews that i read. Means, i "almost" hate Win 7 and "almost" would not care about it.

    The reason i hate Windows Vista so much is that Microsoft CANNOT make the control panel ANY MORE complicated that it is right now. Windows 7 is not any better.

    However, generally (with the same hardware) Windows 7 (even in beta form) performs much better than Windows XP, in terms of file launching, copy & paste, etc. Launching video files are like opening text file in Windows XP, smooth and fast.

    I look forward to another successful Windows franchise.
  • 1 Hide
    Flameout , February 4, 2009 12:46 AM
    tntomWow! Too tempting for code crackers. Coming up with ways to open up the full feature set in Win 7. Others will be looking for ways to create a "Min 7" that doesn't have all the bloatware force fed to your PC. The are totally thinking only of the basic consumer and forgetting about the enthusiast.

    I was thinking that exact same thing. Although if they have that same validation tool it would screw it up. Just stay offline ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    mikeynavy1976 , February 4, 2009 12:47 AM
    Ridiculous. I spent all the money on Windows Ultimate and the only extras that came out were like Texas Holdem and the stupid Dreamscapes that I won't even install.
  • -2 Hide
    bachok83 , February 4, 2009 1:01 AM
    mikeynavy1976Ridiculous. I spent all the money on Windows Ultimate and the only extras that came out were like Texas Holdem and the stupid Dreamscapes that I won't even install.


    You cannot blame Microsoft for that. They ripped you off, but at least they give you a training game to win back your money in Vegas....NOT !
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