Windows 7 to Ship in Multiple Versions?

This shouldn’t surprise anyone, but there’s now evidence that Windows 7 will ship in multiple editions, following trends set by Windows XP and Windows Vista.

The latest version of Windows 7 beta, build 7025 (the public beta is build 7000), shows a screen during installation that asks the user which version of the OS he or she would like to install, according to a screenshot from PC Beta.

The five versions of Windows 7 are as follows: Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Business and Ultimate.

Considering that the public beta is clearly labeled as Windows 7 Ultimate, there was little reason to think that Microsoft would back off on the different tiers, despite what sort of difficulties or confusions they cause for consumers.

With all the advancements in Windows 7, especially the new taskbar, we can’t help but think that users of the lower-tiered versions of the OS would feel even more left out if such new UI changes were excluded.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • Maxor127
    You'd think that after getting sued, Microsoft would think twice before doing that. But they're greedy fucks, so what can you expect? I'm sure Starter will be worthless and Ultimate will be a ripoff and it will follow the trend set by Vista with a ludicrous price on top of it all for a glorified service pack.
  • anonymous x
    it gives people a choice, if you don't need all the extra features you can buy a cheaper basic version, and if you want more features you can get the ultimate version
  • Claimintru
    It gives you the illusion of choice. When in reality the cheapest version is about how much an OS ought to cost.
  • ispyamoose
    It is unfortunate that Microsoft dominates the operating system "industry" so to speak. They have really bombed everything in the last few years.
  • mdillenbeck
    What?!? No Windows 7 Core edition for those of us who want to go back to a command line interface? No Windows 7 Ultimate Plus 100 that cost $100 more than Ultimate and includes the very useful feature of being allowed to download any one installation only digital copy of any Microsoft game valued at $25 or less? No Windows 7 Diamond that comes in a box with lots of bling and has a diamond screensaver unique only to that version for only $500 more than the Windows 7 Ultimate Plus 100 edition?

    Come on Microsoft - how can I show that I like to spend tons of extra money for promised but never delivered features. Maybe they could try a new tactic - sell Windows 7 Beta for half the cost of Ultimate (but the license is only good for 6 months) and Windows 7 Metered (charges you for every second of time you use the Ultimate version - say 1 cent per minute. That's only $14.40 per 24 hours of use (so remember to shut down).

    Why am I hearing The Who's song "Won't Get Fooled Again" all of the sudden...
  • W7Starter for the $400-500 laptops. Maybe we will see them in future netbooks? Don't know what the minimum requirements for W7 is yet so I'm just throwing that last one out as a possibility.
  • jhansonxi
    MDillenbeckNo Windows 7 Diamond that comes in a box with lots of bling and has a diamond screensaver unique only to that version for only $500 more than the Windows 7 Ultimate Plus 100 edition?Only if it came in a shiny commemorative tin box with a map showing how to find all the hidden system settings.
  • @ MDillenbeck

    Win7 Server will have a core edition, just like W2K8 Server.
  • tayb
    Screen shot doesn't look all that legit to be perfectly honest. You don't get to select which version of Windows you run... you did that before you made it home.

    I was under the impression that there were to be three versions...

    A basic version designed specifically for netbooks and not sold to the masses, Ultimate which would be what is on most machines, and Business.

    If this turns out to be true I sure hope that whoever made the decision behind this was one of the 5,000 employees canned.
  • Blessedman
    I thought the whole idea would be sell us an OS cheap and slick without being bloated with stuff we may not want. Then with their live service you can "rent" features you want and download them and install... MS should get away from different feature set which you pay for. Allow us to pick and choose the service and software we want and stop cramming crap down our throats!