Microsoft announces versions of Windows 7 to be released

February 3, 2009

Microsoft has announced the SKUs for Windows 7 and while most consumers will only see Home Premium and Professional options at retail, there is much to choose from.  The five versions available for U.S. customers will be: Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Ultimate. But Microsoft will only sell Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional at retail, in a bid to eliminate some of the confusion caused by a plethora of Windows Vista versions.  A sixth version, Windows 7 Home Basic, will only be sold in emerging markets, Microsoft said.

Microsoft did not release the prices of the new Windows 7 versions, but after the break will give details of each release and what the equivalent Vista release currently costs. Most expect Windows 7 to ship near the end of 2009.

Windows 7 Starter

  • Available worldwide to OEMs on new PCs
  • Missing Aero UI tweaks
  • Limited to 3 simultaneous applications

Windows 7 Home Basic (Vista equivalent: $200)

  • Only available in emerging markets
  • Missing Aero UI tweaks

Windows 7 Home Premium (Vista equivalent: $260

)

  • Available worldwide, to OEMs and in retail
  • Includes Aero UI tweaks
  • Features multi-touch capabilities
  • Adds “premium” games
  • Adds media capabilities (Media Center, DVD playback, DVD creation, etc.)
  • Can create home network groups

Windows 7 Professional (Vista equivalent: $300)

  • Available worldwide, to OEMs and in retail
  • Includes all features of Premium
  • Adds enhanced networking capabilities (Remote Desktop host, domain support, offline folders, etc.)
  • Adds Mobility Center
  • Adds Presentation Mode

Windows 7 Enterprise

  • Available only in volume licenses
  • Includes all features of Professional
  • Adds Branch Cache
  • Adds Direct Access
  • Adds BitLocker

Windows 7 Ultimate (Vista equivalent: $320)

  • Limited OEM and retail availability
  • Includes all features of Enterprise

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