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The Different Versions of Windows 7

Windows XP had two versions: home and business. Windows Vista split into five different versions. Windows 7 boasts six different versions, but the versions are much easier to figure out.

Each version of Windows 7 is slightly different and offers different options. The vast majority of consumers will choose Windows 7 Home Premium, and most businesses will choose Windows 7 Professional. That being said, it's important to know what is in each version in case you need to purchase something other than the obvious version.

Windows 7 Version What It Does
Windows 7 Starter A stripped-down version of Windows 7 that can only run three programs at a time. This version is ideal for netbooks.
Windows 7 Home Basic Designed for developing countries, this version adds better graphics and Internet connection sharing to the Starter edition.
Windows 7 Home Premium Built to fill most consumers’ needs, this version includes programs for watching and recording TV on the PC as well as for creating DVDs from videos.
Windows 7 Professional Aimed at the business market, this features everything from Home Premium plus tools used by small businesses: extra networking features, for example, and similar business tools.
Windows 7 Enterprise Microsoft sells this large business version in bulk to large businesses.
Windows 7 Ultimate This version aims at the wallets of information technology specialists who spend much of their lives in front of their keyboards.

Although six versions may seem complicated, choosing the one you need isn’t that difficult. Here are some guidelines for choosing the version you need:

  • If you’ll be using your PC at home, pick up Windows 7 Home Premium.

  • If you need to connect to a domain through a work network — and you’ll know if you’re doing it — you want Windows 7 Professional.

  • If you’re a computer industry professional, you should get your hands on Windows 7 Ultimate.

That inexpensive Windows 7 Home Basic version isn’t sold in the United States; it’s sold at reduced prices in developing nations like Malaysia.

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