Introduction to Windows 7

Before you start

Objectives: learn about main features in each Windows 7 edition and what are minimum hardware requirements

Prerequisites: no prerequisites.

Key terms: windows 7 editions, starter, home basic, home premium, professional, enterprise, ultimate, hardware requirements, processor architecture.


Windows 7 Editions

There are six different Windows 7 editions:

  • Starter
  • Home Basic
  • Home Premium
  • Professional
  • Enterprise
  • Ultimate

Starter

Windows 7 Starter edition does not support DVD playback, Windows Aero user interface, IIS Web Server, Internet connection sharing, or Windows Media Center. It also does not support advanced, new features like AppLocker, Encrypting File System, DirectAccess, BitLocker, BranchCache, and Remote Desktop Host. It supports only one physical processor.

Home Basic

Window 7 Home Basic does not support domains, Aero user interface, DVD playback, Windows Media Center, or IIS Web Server. It also does not support enterprise features such as EFS, AppLocker, DirectAccess, BitLocker, Remote Desktop Host, and BranchCache. It supports only one physical processor. The x86 version supports a maximum of 4 GB of RAM, whereas the x64 version supports a maximum of 8 GB of RAM.

Home Premium

Windows 7 Home Premium supports the Windows Aero UI, DVD playback, Windows Media Center, Internet connection sharing, and the IIS Web Server. It does not support domains and it does not support enterprise features such as EFS, AppLocker, DirectAccess, BitLocker, Remote Desktop Host, and BranchCache. The x86 version of Windows 7 Home Premium supports a maximum of 4 GB of RAM, whereas the x64 version supports a maximum of 16 GB of RAM. Windows 7 Home Premium supports up to two physical processors.

Professional

Windows 7 Professional supports all the features available in Windows Home Premium, and it also supports domains. It supports EFS and Remote Desktop Host but does not support enterprise features such as AppLocker, DirectAccess, BitLocker, and BranchCache.

Enterprise

Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate Editions support all the features available in all other Windows 7 editions but also support all the enterprise features such as EFS, Remote Desktop Host, AppLocker, DirectAccess, BitLocker, BranchCache, and Boot from VHD. Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate editions support up to two physical processors. Windows 7 Enterprise is available only to Microsoft’s volume licensing customers, and Windows 7 Ultimate is available from retailers and on new computers installed by manufacturers.

Although some editions support only one physical processor, they do support an unlimited number of cores on that processor. For example, all editions of Windows 7 support quad-core CPUs. We can use Remote Desktop to initiate a connection from any edition of Windows 7, but we can connect to computers running Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, or Windows 7 Enterprise. We can’t use Remote Desktop Connection to connect to computers running Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, or Windows 7 Home Premium.

Hardware Requirements

Windows 7 Starter and Windows 7 Home Basic have the following minimum hardware requirements:

  • 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 512 MB of system memory
  • 20-GB (x64) or 16-GB (x86) hard disk drive, traditional or Solid State Disk (SSD), with at least 15 GB of available space
  • Graphics adapter that supports DirectX 9 graphics and 32 MB of graphics memory

Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions have the following minimum hardware requirements:

  • 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 GB of system memory
  • 40-GB hard disk drive (traditional or SSD) with at least 15 GB of available space
  • Graphics adapter that supports DirectX 9 graphics, has a Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) driver, Pixel Shader 2.0 hardware, and 32 bits per pixel and a minimum of 128 MB graphics memory

32-bit versus 64-bit

Windows 7 supports two different processor architectures: 32-bit (x86) version, and 64-bit (x64) version. The main limitation of the x86 version of Windows 7 is that it does not support more than 4 GB of RAM. It is possible to install the x86 version of Windows 7 on computers that have x64 processors, but the operating system will be unable to utilize any RAM that the computer has beyond 4 GB. We can install the x64 version of Windows 7 only on computers that have x64-compatible processors. The x64 versions of Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions support up to 128 GB of RAM. The x64 version of Windows 7 Home Basic edition supports 8 GB and the x64 edition of Home Premium supports a maximum of 16 GB.

Remember

There are six different Windows 7 editions: Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate. Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate support domains. Although some Windows 7 editions support only one physical processor, they do support an unlimited number of cores on that processor. Windows 7 Starter and Windows 7 Home Basic have the following minimum hardware requirements: 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor, 512 MB of system memory, 20-GB (x64) or 16-GB (x86) hard disk drive or Solid State Disk (SSD), with at least 15 GB of available space, graphics adapter that supports DirectX 9 graphics and 32 MB of graphics memory. Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions have the following minimum hardware requirements: 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor, 1 GB of system memory, 40-GB hard disk drive (traditional or SSD) with at least 15 GB of available space, graphics adapter that supports DirectX 9 graphics, has a Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) driver, Pixel Shader 2.0 hardware, and 32 bits per pixel and a minimum of 128 MB graphics memory. The main limitation of the x86 version of Windows 7 is that it does not support more than 4 GB of RAM. We can install the x64 version of Windows 7 only on computers that have x64-compatible processors. The x64 versions of Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions support up to 128 GB of RAM.

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