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Windows 7 Starter Three App Limit Gone for Good

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 35 comments

Windows 7 Starter Edition learns to count to more than three.

Last week we heard an interesting but unconfirmed claim from the WinSuperSite that said that Microsoft was dropping the three application limit from Windows 7 Starter Edition. Good news: it’s true.

Windows Communications Manager Brandon LeBlanc confirmed the news with a post on the Windows blog, which read, “based on the feedback we’ve received from partners and customers asking us to enable a richer small notebook PC experience with Windows 7 Starter… We are also going to enable Windows 7 Starter customers the ability to run as many applications simultaneously as they would like, instead of being constricted to the 3 application limit that the previous Starter editions included.”

This does provide a significant upgrade to what most figured to be a cripped version of Windows 7. Now users will be free to run as many applications as their modest systems can afford to run.

What’s more, Microsoft said that, for the first time ever, it will be offering starter edition on small notebook PCs worldwide and not just in specific regions. That should help keep prices low in times where everyone is watching their wallets.

So what’s to keep Windows 7 Starter Edition from being the budget version that will do it all? Several things. Leblanc listed the following features that will NOT be a part of Starter Edition:

  • Aero Glass, meaning you can only use the “Windows Basic” or other opaque themes. It also means you do not get Taskbar Previews or Aero Peek.
  • Personalization features for changing desktop backgrounds, window colors, or sound schemes.
  • The ability to switch between users without having to log off.
  • Multi-monitor support.
  • DVD playback.
  • Windows Media Center for watching recorded TV or other media.
  • Remote Media Streaming for streaming your music, videos, and recorded TV from your home computer.
  • Domain support for business customers.
  • XP Mode for those that want the ability to run older Windows XP programs on Windows 7.

With the three application limit is gone, are the above ‘limitations’ still reason enough for you to upgrade your Windows 7 license?

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Top Comments
  • 14 Hide
    Anonymous , June 2, 2009 12:53 PM
    Changing the background will be possible from within Dos, find background file, rename and replace with new file giving it same name!
Other Comments
  • -9 Hide
    ryokinshin , June 2, 2009 12:31 PM
    Microsoft listening? THAT'S A NEW ONE.
  • -5 Hide
    apmyhr , June 2, 2009 12:35 PM
    Lack of Multi monitor support is the killer in that list. I always use two monitors on my desktops. And any laptop I get in the future I will want to be able to use it to play movies on my TV's.

    I'm suprised they don't let you change the background image. I could see more people bitching about that then the 3 app limit.
  • Display all 35 comments.
  • 9 Hide
    Tindytim , June 2, 2009 12:53 PM
    apmyhrLack of Multi monitor support is the killer in that list. I always use two monitors on my desktops. And any laptop I get in the future I will want to be able to use it to play movies on my TV's.

    Why would you be using a netbook for all of that!?

    The Home versions will do what you want, and they'll come with most regular usage computers.
  • 14 Hide
    Anonymous , June 2, 2009 12:53 PM
    Changing the background will be possible from within Dos, find background file, rename and replace with new file giving it same name!
  • 1 Hide
    matt2k , June 2, 2009 12:55 PM
    as much as i do like windows 7 (running the RC) i'd prefer linux on a netbook. and an SSD.
  • -2 Hide
    thesmokingman14 , June 2, 2009 1:13 PM
    The personalization features are pretty cool and, after using Aero Glass, I don't think I want to go back. However, as apmyhr noted above, the lack of multi monitor support is not acceptable.
  • 8 Hide
    Onus , June 2, 2009 1:14 PM
    Being unable to watch a DVD will make systems with this OS useless for traveling users.
    Will it be able to stream media from web sites?
  • -4 Hide
    mirkos , June 2, 2009 1:16 PM
    I can understand the fact that win7 starter will not support some features, but I wouldn't accept to have such a restriction for something I paid for! It's more like punishment because I bought starter edition! It's a good think they withdraw it.
  • 8 Hide
    apmyhr , June 2, 2009 1:19 PM
    jtt283Being unable to watch a DVD will make systems with this OS useless for traveling users.Will it be able to stream media from web sites?

    Maybe I don't understand the restriction correctly, but I assume its just refering to Windows Media Player. I'm sure you can download VLC or whatever and play DVD's fine.
  • 4 Hide
    Onus , June 2, 2009 1:58 PM
    Good point about VLC, but that may not work for Joe Salesman. It will be interesting to see how Microsquishy's marketing addresses this; recommend a third-party product in order to sell crippled netbooks, or try to recommend pricier machines that on a large scale may break corporate budgets.
  • 8 Hide
    Spanky Deluxe , June 2, 2009 2:27 PM
    On the whole, far more reasonable. At first I thought the lack of DVD playback would be bad but then, this is aimed at Netbooks that don't even have a DVD drive and any machine that does come with a drive won't come with Starter Edition. The only thing that strikes me as plain mean and silly is not being able to change your background image. I mean, come on!
  • 5 Hide
    grieve , June 2, 2009 2:57 PM
    Not being able to change your background image is a little odd... As much as people will HATE this it would not be enough to force them into purchasing a more expensive OS.

    "OH LOOK! $40 more i can get Win7 Home that allows me to change my desktop image"
    I cannot see a lot of people doing this.
  • 2 Hide
    scryer_360 , June 2, 2009 3:57 PM
    In answer to the question of the article:

    Yes. No DVD playback? No personalization (not even on par with Windows 95)? No ability to "peak" at unopen windows? All of those are things I've learned to live with, and want. Having an OS so very crippled makes me think that Home Basic would be better for people like my parents, who just surf the web and email, and occasionally do some media-centric tasks, and Home Premium would be better for me.

    Of course, I'm getting Ultimate anyway.
  • 4 Hide
    michaelzehr , June 2, 2009 3:58 PM
    The background desktop image on Windows 7 starter will be an ad for upgrading from the starter version... that's why MS won't let you change it. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    elbert , June 2, 2009 4:01 PM
    I'm not writing about starter edition. I'm writing about XPM. M$ makes it sound like they are giving a free version of XP with the upper SKU's. I wonder if this free version of XP can be installed as a stand alone and be truly free.;) I'm guessing not.

    M$ is attempting a new practice of using compatibility to sale their different versions. XP and before all SKU's had about the same backwards compatibility. Without XPM Home versions will have to wait for 3rd party emulation software which may take upto 3 years.

    Whats next? Driver limits making it impossible to use anything beyond integrated graphics on anything but ultimate edition.

    M$ want a higher price for their OS and without old XP software many more users may migrate to linux. I may revisit the ideal of buying win7 home in 2~3 years when 3rd party emulation may allow my old software.
  • 0 Hide
    marraco , June 2, 2009 4:10 PM
    grieveNot being able to change your background image is a little odd... As much as people will HATE this it would not be enough to force them into purchasing a more expensive OS."OH LOOK! $40 more i can get Win7 Home that allows me to change my desktop image" I cannot see a lot of people doing this.


    There are laptops without DVD. It does not matter, because you can use a Pen drive to upload an ISO of a dvd and use it from a DVD drive emulator.

    It would not works on Windows 7 without DVD support.
  • 1 Hide
    megamanx00 , June 2, 2009 4:57 PM
    Whelp, they have to give people just enough so that they don't switch over to a Linux Netbook. Even though I'm not big on netbooks ^_^, if I had one I would prefer to run Linux on it than Windows myself.
  • 1 Hide
    rembo666 , June 2, 2009 5:42 PM
    Why the background thing? That is just ODD.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , June 2, 2009 6:27 PM
    Ok,my 2ct on netbooks and the limitations set by MS:

    * Aero Glass, meaning you can only use the “Windows Basic” or other opaque themes. It also means you do not get Taskbar Previews or Aero Peek.
    -> Makes sense. Netbooks are not graphical monsters.

    * Personalization features for changing desktop backgrounds, window colors, or sound schemes.
    ->Does NOT make sense! What if I want the plain win98/NT/2000/ME looks? What if I don't like windows sounds at all, and want to disable it?
    What if I want a black background and don't want a custom picture?
    This sucks!

    * The ability to switch between users without having to log off.
    -> Makes sense, netbooks are no desktops or servers with many people logging on or off. Saves resources to only be able to log 1 person on at the time.
    * Multi-monitor support.
    -> I hope that external monitor is included! Netbooks generally could benefit from their external monitor (eg: netbook 1024x600 screen for program controls, while the external LCD screen might be good for movies or main program screen). I hope that a '1 screen at a time' rule will not result in the inability to use the external monitor/TV/screen!

    * DVD playback.
    -> Mini netbooks don't have DVD's generally. But it's a rule that only bugs a minority of people. I'd rather if they would disable blueray than DVD. But in most cases people won't use netbooks to watch DVD's. If they want to use them they would encode their DVD's to a DivX/XViD/Mpeg4 file,and play that back, since it uses less battery; or use their laptop/desktop to view DVD's.

    * Windows Media Center for watching recorded TV or other media.
    -> Only a very small set of people will be affected. The only thing I can object here is for people who bought a Box pc like the EeeBox or Windbox, to use as HD center. They would probably mind this a lot, or go XP.

    * Remote Media Streaming for streaming your music, videos, and recorded TV from your home computer.
    -> Is ok, a netbook is no server.

    * Domain support for business customers.
    -> A business generally has more money for their netbooks and probably will buy a win7 upgrade.

    * XP Mode for those that want the ability to run older Windows XP
    programs on Windows 7.
    -> Makes sense. XP virtualized on netbooks is not very common. Especially if the netbooks are only equipped with 1 GB of RAM and an Atom processor.

    Things they could improve on:
    There are many services that no longer make any sense, like 'telnet', to connect to the internet via a modem.

    It would probably also make more sense to equip netbooks with an installation CD that installs everything, and disable any system restore.
    System restore takes a big toll on netbooks with SSD.

    Limit defrag and scandisk to one disk at a time...
    For me, I never use these functions anyways.

    That would probably be good enough for mini netbooks.
  • 3 Hide
    tipoo , June 2, 2009 6:37 PM
    ryokinshinMicrosoft listening? THAT'S A NEW ONE.



    Except NOT.

    They listened to alot of feedback for 7, and it really shows.
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