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A Peek at Windows 7 Starter's 3 App Cap

Although Windows 7 Starter Edition will likely be the least used version by readers of this site, its artificial limitations do have our attention.

Windows 7 Starter Edition will be the el cheapo option aimed at low-cost PCs and netbooks, perhaps paving the way for more of the latter products to hit $200. This makes sense, but what has many concerned and curious is the artificially three programs running at once.

Early tests of Windows 7 Starter Edition beta versions show that the three-program limitation is already in place. Microsoft clearly has some sort of criteria as to what counts towards that three, and we would hope that mostly background running applications such as anti-virus programs don’t hog a spot, but we won’t really know until the final version is in our hands.

Microsoft details in its help section, “With Windows 7 Starter, you can open up to three programs at the same time. For example, if you start WordPad, Paint, and Calculator, and then you try to open a web browser, you’ll see a message telling you that you already have three programs open.”

With such limitations in place, users will either want to pony up the cash for the upgrade to Home Premium, or rely heavily on web-based applications such as Google Docs or webmail. We can’t see anyone being happy in being forced to shut down a program just to do some math on the calculator.

For now though, check out these images courtesy of WinSuperSite of Windows 7 Starter Edition hitting the app cap.

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.
  • predaking
    If netbooks don't have XP started edition or vista starter edition, why would they have windows 7 starter edition?

    http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/newsroom/winxp/WinXPStarterFS.mspx

    Reply
  • 2GooDrumr
    Ok, so I liked VIsta, but most people didn't...This is probably the worst sales concept I've ever heard. What is MS trying to pull? Nice, lets try to actually push people to OS X.
    Reply
  • 2GooDrumr
    I personally liked Vista and happily use both x64 and x86 variants but this? Really?? Sure, for the netbook crowd it could work out fine, but anyone else; you know that manufacturers will try to load this up on unsuspecting buyers and just hate the whole experience, never looking at what Starter means. I want Win 7 when it's out, but Ultimate or Premium. This is going to push customers further away...
    Reply
  • czar1020
    Doesn't matter , someone will come up with a way to bypass it sooner or later. just another pos they made to make their main product cost seem correct.
    Reply
  • predaking
    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-vista/compare-editions/starter.aspx
    Windows Vista Starter is not available in developed technology markets such as the United States, the European Union, Australia, or Japan. Windows Vista Starter ships on lower-cost computers sold by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and Microsoft OEM distributors in 139 countries.

    In essence, Windows Vista Starter is ideal for beginner computer users, and is the most affordable edition of Windows Vista.
    Reply
  • phatboe
    @predaking MS will stop supporting XP once Win7 is released & the few netbooks with vista on them didn't sell well because of their high price and/or slow performace. Vista is way to resource intensive for the likes of a netbook. To tackle both these problems MS will make a Win7 starter ed. for netbooks since starter ed. is cheaper than the Home ed. and Win 7 is not as resource intensive as Vista.
    Reply
  • fwaits
    While I don't know that this sales design is the best, it IS a cheaper alternative for those that are very basic users. That's the difference between Win7 Starter and XP Home on netbooks. It costs less. Win7 Home will cost you a bit more if you want the full functionality. Then it's not really different from what you pay for today on XP Home.
    Reply
  • p05esto
    Vista Basic 64 rocks. Lean and mean, no bloatware or MS crap sofwtware I didn't want. I'm glad I saved money and have a faster system than people who got suckered into the premium versions.

    I hope Windows 7 has a similar version that is just the core OS without the software added in. I do need to open a lot of programs and such, so "starter" isn't going to cut it I guess. Hope MS reads this post so they make a version just for me ;)
    Reply
  • jerreece
    Microsoft is so worthless. This is one more major company creating stupid, pointless, and idiotic limits on their product in order to force people to spend more money on another product which is not actually any better.

    The next upgrade from this just won't have the limit. Then perhaps it'll throw in some other stupid freebie. These artificial limitations companies put into products like this are simply greedy.

    If they really want to create a version of Windows 7 for folks who can't / won't spend as much as Microsoft wants, they should just charge less.

    I'll bet you if they charge far less anyhow, they'd likely see more sales, and a little less piracy.
    Reply
  • predaking
    @phatboe Phatboe Vista starter and XP starter are not available for developed markets.

    Why would windows 7 be?
    Reply