If you’re thinking about moving to a Windows 7 operating system, you’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of versions to choose from. There are actually six different editions of Windows 7; starter, home basic, home premium, professional, ultimate, and enterprise. Additionally, all editions besides starter and home basic come in 32 bit or 64 bit versions. The 32 bit versions only support up to 4 Gigs of RAM.
Starter was designed for netbooks, and is as minimal as Windows 7 gets in terms of system requirements and use of system resources. It doesn’t have an ILS web server, Internet connection sharing, media center or DVD playback, and it also doesn’t have some fairly basic graphics capabilities. There are no enterprise functions, and it only comes in 32 bit. Home Basic is similar to Starter; it’s a release specifically designed for emerging markets, and there aren’t many left around the world. In fact, it can’t even be activated within the United States. The biggest difference is that it is available in a 64 bit version. These releases support up to 8 Gigs of RAM.
Home premium is the most common version for consumers. This is where you start to see features like DVD playback and Internet connection sharing. It a 64 bit version is available, which supports up to 16 gig of ram. There’s still no Bitlocker, encrypted file services, connecting to a windows directory domain, or Applocker.
Windows 7 Professional can connect to Windows domain, supports remote desktop host, but is still missing Bitlocker, Applocker, and some of the more advanced capabilities. The 64 bit version does support up to 192 Gigs of RAM, though, which is nice. Ultimate and Enterprise are identical in terms of feature set, and they both have everything. The difference between these last two releases is licensing; enterprise is for large organizations that already have a licensing agreement with Windows.