Even Windows 8 is released, Windows 7 is still most selling operating system of Microsoft. It’s firstly started on project in July 22, 2009. It was three years then Windows Vista’s release. Vista was a update of Windows XP but Windows 7 is an complete upgrade. Microsoft added many new features to Windows 7 like handwriting recognition, multi-core processor improvements, virtual hard disk support and DirectAccess boot performance booster. Also it’s integrated an updated version of Windows Media Center. Also some problems like lack of USB 3.0 support are criticized. Microsoft released Windows 7 with different editions. How many Windows 7 editions are there?
There are 6 main editions of Windows 7. They are Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Ultimate.
Windows 7 Starter is the minimal version of OS. It’s only possible in 32-bit version and it doesn’t include new features like Windows Aero. Microsoft prohibited change of visual styles and wallpaper for users. Also running three simultaneous applications together is limited by Microsoft in this edition. Microsoft installed this version for mostly pre-installed computers like notebooks. Also computers using OEM licenses installed Windows 7 Starter.
Microsoft sold “Windows 7 Home Basic” in 141 countries in “emerging markets” Some Windows Aero are limited in this edition and Microsoft added some new features instead of them. Microsoft used geographical activation restriction for this edition so it was only possible to activate them in the countries they are sold or targeted.
Windows 7 Home Premium is one of the most popular Windows 7 editions. It’s sold in home market segment. Microsoft excluded many professional options from Windows 7 Home Premium and added some features like Windows Media Center, multi-touch support and Windows Aero. Windows 7 Home Premium is still one of the most selling editions of Windows 7.
Microsoft targeted small business owners with Windows 7 Professional. It included many new features and some new key features like Windows Server domain. Also it is possible to use Windows 7 Professional as a Remote Desktop server. Also Windows 7 Professional included features like location aware printing, Presentation Mode and Windows XP Mode but they are not popular now.
Windows 7 Enterprise is the edition of Windows 7 for enterprise market segment. It allowed volume licensing for companies but they need to make Software Assurance contract to Microsoft first for activation. Microsoft enabled Multilingual User Interface option for this edition. Also features like UNIX application support and BitLocker Drive Encryption were new for Windows 7. Especially it’s used for diskless nodes and activated through VLK system.
Windows 7 Ultimate has the same features with Windows 7 Enterprise but Microsoft released this edition for home market segment. It’s possible to but Windows 7 Enterprise with individual license basis activation. Microsoft gave an upgrade chance for Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional users to Windows 7 Enterprise. Microsoft gave mainstream support to Windows 7 All editions till January 2015. Also there’s a special Extended Support which is only including security updates and it’s valid until January 2020.
Also Microsoft released “Special-purpose editions” for Windows 7. They are N and KN editions and VL builds. N and KN editions are not including Windows Media Player and similar media based software. Microsoft allowed downloading the Media Feature Pack for free to Windows 7 N and KN edition users. Also Microsoft released Windows 7 VL builds. It’s possible to activate Windows 7 with VLKs in the multiple installations. License is limiting the key to a maximum number of installation.