Keeping backups of your data is one of the most important things you can do regardless if you're using your computer for personal or business.
For one reason or another, however, Microsoft has deemed making regular backups a mostly-business related affair. When comparing the three leading versions of Windows 7, the key features that Home Premium has to go without are automatic backup and XP Mode.
While one can argue that XP Mode is more of a Professional or Ultimate tool for those who require absolute compatibility, having a convenient backup solution is something that every operating system should come with in the interest of the user – especially if the software already exists.
Microsoft describes its automatic backup and restore feature as:
Backup and Restore—improved for Windows 7—creates safety copies of your most important personal files, so you're always prepared for the worst.
Let Windows choose what to back up, or pick individual folders, libraries, and drives yourself. Windows can back up files on whatever schedule you choose. Just set it and forget it. In Windows 7, you can back up files to another drive, your network, or a DVD.
We can understand why a backup feature could be left out of Starter Edition, as most systems running that will be netbooks, and those systems shouldn't be considered as main-use machines.
Microsoft obviously needs differentiating points between Home Premium for mainstream users and Professional for business or computing enthusiasts, so we suggest that there still be some form of backup feature built into Home Premium that allows backups only to another drive or DVD, but not over the network.
With Microsoft expecting Home Premium to be by far the most popular version of Windows 7, it'd be nice if users in the largest segment could rely on their OS to take care of their data.
Starter should stay as it is, Home should stay as it is plus backup and Ultimate/Business should be combined to give you access to domains, add bitlocker support and whatever else it has. That would make a LOT more sense.
They should include backup for every edition regardless of how limited the OS is going to be.
There are a bazillion free ways of backing up -- including Microsoft's SyncToy, which works great and costs nothing (of course home users don't know this exists either). Personally, I use SmartSync on my home PC. Plus, practically every external hard disk drive comes with some type of backup software. So in terms of Home Premium bundleware... who cares?
Unless it's backing up something like Exchange or SharePoint (ie something that requires arcane wizardry like VSS to back up), I think that leaving it to third party or a higher end version is fine.
But for those who actually do use windows to back up their stuff this is going to be a severe disappointment, as most of the off the shelf computer will come with home premium.
Please let me know what have windows done for me lately?