The 6 Editions of Windows 7


It seems that Microsoft will release 6 editions of Windows 7. More than the number of editions for Vista! However, according to Microsoft, each edition will be a superset of a lower edition. So, you won’t get confused like when choosing Vista where choosing a Business edition means losing some feature of Home Premium and vice versa.

I like what I’ve heard so far, although I’m not as excited as when XP was announced (I can play games and run NT-only apps on the same OS!). Windows 7 will come in six editions namely Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. Let’s see what’s the differences between all these editions, shall we?

Starter

This is something you don’t want to buy! Unlike the Starter edition for Vista, you are limited to running only three applications at the same time. What? Are you using a computer or a wall kiosk? With the Starter edition of Vista, at least the ones being sold in Malaysia, the only difference to Home Basic is the inability to use ReadyBoost. That’s what I was told by a Microsoft OEM partner while shopping for a new notebook last week. The Starter edition of Windows 7 seems to be more like the Starter edition for Windows XP. If I remember correctly, Windows XP Starter Edition limits you to 8 windows at a time. Maybe I remembered wrong…

Anyway, just avoid this edition and spend the extra money if you are running anything other than an information kiosk. You may also want this if you are primarily a Linux user but need Windows to play games. I don’t think you’d want to play more than three full screen games at a time… I wonder what do they mean about the three applications… would it mean that I have an antivirus, a firewall, and a browser running, I can’t start Microsoft Word? Wow… what would happen if I also have uTorrent downloading in the background? I can’t even start a web browser! Doesn’t make sense so probably I understand this wrong.

By the way, you can’t upgrade this version to Home Basic but you’ll have to go straight up to Home Premium. Not a problem, though, because you don’t want this version, or the Home Basic version anyway.

Home Basic

This will be similar to Vista’s Home Basic. It will be a basic Windows without the interface graphics effects like Aero Glass. You will also miss DVD playback and you won’t be able to use a Media Center remote controller. And like it was in Windows XP Home, you also can’t join a network domain. So, this basically is an edition for basic computer use at home for those who want to work with more than three applications at a time – like what most people do: browse the internet, chat on instant messaging, type in a word processor, and do some basic calculations with the calculator at the same time…

The only difference this time is that you won’t find this one in the US or any developed nations. Microsoft has decided that this edition will be available only in “emerging markets” (the phrase they used for WIndows XP Starter Edition). I just wonder if my country is an “emerging market” though… The political leaders kept reminding us we’re a developed nation – although I must say, that doesn’t seem to be the case unless you consider moral decadence, crime rate increase, and corruption as the benchmark of being “developed”. Even then, we’re not there yet because we’re not that corrupt.

Home Premium

The Home Premium edition will be the main edition for consumer. They said that this will be the cheapest edition in developed markets so then this will be the main thing in the US. I’m expecting to see more of Home Basic for my market but probably Home Premium won’t be too expensive either. You’ll get all the Aero Glass effects you want just like in Vista Home Premium. The most touted “new” feature of Windows 7, touch-screen suppport, will be included, as will Media Center.

I think this will be similar to Windows XP Home Edition. Vista Home Premium was hard to identify with because it’s not really the lowest edition and the only thing you’d want more than those in Home Basic is the Aero Glass effect… which is useless if you turn off the themes support and use the classic interface like I do… I’m still on XP Pro. Vista won’t run some of the things I use… especially the free stuff I downloaded from the Internet.

Professional

Yay! This is the version I want that was missing from Windows Vista. They have the Vista Business but you can’t play DVDs unless you pay for a rather cheap add-on (Microsoft admits it was a stupid mistake and offered the add-on… but that’s crap anyway because you’re probably better off playing DVDs with freeware like KMP, GOM, or VLC). I wanted a system for power users but I do want it to be better than the Home version, not different from it!

So, this time, you can get this edition which gives you all you can get from the Home Premium. In addition, you’ll also get business features like domain support (I need!), remote access (I want!), and network backup (I don’t care).

Well, I think this is the edition for me. I just hope they won’t overprice it like Vista Ultimate. I hate Vista Ultimate. It had too many feature. Basically, I don’t really like Vista – specifically because the Start menu doesn’t expand and instead just expand the choices inside the same menu which was very confusing for me. I don’t know about Windows 7 though… There’s a beta available from Microsoft but I don’t have the time to try it.

But you know what “edition” I would like better? A basic edition (Windows only, no need for fancy media applications and screenshot tools I don’t want), with support for Aero Glass (I would need it once in a while when doing user guide screenshots), and domain access – better yet, a network profile that allows me login into a domain while being logged in locally. In other words, login to the local PC first and then login to the domain only if it is available. This is because when I’m at home with no network access, having a domain account means slower startup of my notebook. And not using a domain account means limited network access at work. It will also be good since I might also want to change to fixed or dynamic IP based on the network I am connected to. Basically what I am saying is this: “Microsoft, please learn from Ubuntu.”

Enterprise

Not and edition you’ll ever get unless it’s from your system admin. This is meant for corporations. You’ll need to purchase the Software Assurance from Microsoft. This edition is similar to the Ultimate edition of Vista with BitLocker encryption. Well, I don’t know why you’d want BitLocker because you can get freeware that can do that. However, for a corporation, it may be important because with a single license you can install Windows 7 Enterprise on all the PCs you licensed them for – a single drive image will save you time. It’s also good for developers because you can run four other OS instances on the same machine that have a Windows 7 Enterprise. Other features are AppLocker, DirectAccess, BranchCache, enterprise search, and multilanguage packs. I won’t go into details because you’ll only care for this version if you’re a system administrator. The rest of us will get this anyway at work because our system administrator installed it for us…

Ultimate

A waste of packaging and branding. Basically, this is exactly similar to the Enterprise edition except that you can buy this from OEM and retail without needing to be in the Software Assurance program. You know what I think? You’re better off with the Professional edition. Microsoft should just stop at Enteprise and probably offer a user-only license of Enterprise. Or the other way around: offer enterprise-wide license for Ultimate.

What I think is this: They should just sell the Professional edition to consumers and make available BitLocker, AppLocker, and whaterver else as add-on packs so if I want only BitLocker but not AppLocker (whatever that is), I don’t have to install a whole bunch of useless stuff (and pay for them all!).

In fact, I think they should just sell a Basic edition and you can pick and choose what else you want on top of it and to make it simple, you can also buy in a package. Now we’re talking more like McDonalds – you can have them ala-carte, or you can have them in a Meal package, and you can buy a Meal and add whatever else you want on top. In other words: Sell an OS and then sell the Applications! Which seems to be the model in place since the beginning of time until Microsoft decided to follow Apple and bundled Internet Explorer and Media Player with their OS.

The Linux Alternative

This is maybe the “edition” you should get if you buy a new PC and you’re flat broke at that time. It’s not offered by Microsoft but you can download it for free. So, when buying a new PC, get one with the Windows 7 Starter edition if you can. Use it only to go online to download Ubuntu or OpenSuse, or whatever’s your flava. Then, install Linux with a dual-boot to Windows 7. Do most of your work in Linux and boot into Windows 7 Starter only when you want to play a game. So, in Windows 7 Starter, you’d have running only your antivirus and the game. That leaves open one more application slot for the browser in case you need to get some walkthroughs, hehe.

Most of the task you want to do has an available application in Linux, except playing Windows games perfectly. If you still need to, you can just install VMWare as that third application in Windows 7 Starter and use that to run more apps in a Linux VM while using Windows. Hehehe.

Me? I’m gonna get the Professional edition if it’s not as expensive as Vista Ultimate (RM700++!!! Are you crazy, Microsoft?!! That’s almost twice the poverty line!). I think a pricing close to Windows XP Professional OEM would be good enough. I wish I can be in OpenSuse or Ubuntu instead but sadly, Microsoft Word 2007 is not perfect in Wine yet. I love using OpenOffice but there are things that are just not compatible with some other automated tools I’m using for technical writing. I still dual-boot, though… just that I dual-boot into Windows XP Professional more than my Ubuntu or OpenSuse.

I do hope that Windows 7 will be as good as XP. Windows Vista was only a little better than Windows ME (and that one sucks! Big time!).  Well, Microsoft just had to do their full “beta test” on the public, I guess. Just like Windows ME before XP came out. And to all the developers out there, move on to Windows 7 please! Upgrade your software! Or just move to Linux because we do need more Linux applications – even commercial ones.

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Reader Comments

i’ve been running Windows 7 beta for quite sometimes, and it significantly faster than Vista….

As we know that Whether Windows 7 will run with decent performance on low-cost machines is really only half the question and the other is, how much Asus, Acer and the other netbook OEMs will offer to pay Microsoft.

Well, I have installed and configured Vista for my wife’s notebook – I had to because HP (Compaq) decided that their DOS notebook (which people buy to install previously purchased XP), will never have XP drivers for HP-specific hardware. They sux when they were Compaq (good luck in finding drivers!), they still sux now as HP.
And all I’ve got to say about Vista is that it looks good, it works good, but trying to configure an advanced network (loopback, VM, VPN, hell.. try to connect to a non-DHCP router!) is just too confusing for me.
Windows 98 was easy networking. Windows XP is easy enough if you know what you’re doing. Windows Vista? Works well if you don’t know what you’re doing.
If Microsoft continues with the same trend in Windows 7, hmm… I’d just have to do it the hard way (command line), if that’s still available… because I don’t think by 2010 people would still insist on XP…

[...] the way, I’m getting used to Vista and configuring the network makes more sense [...]