What's New: Windows 7 Versions Explained

Microsoft will release five versions of Windows 7: Starter, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate. To lower consumer confusion, only two will be available to buy at retail: Home Premium and Professional, for home users and businesses, respectively. Windows 7 Ultimate will only be an upgrade option purchased directly from Microsoft and available via download or an unlock code.

Windows 7 Starter is technically not new; Windows Vista Starter was released primarily to developing nations. Like its predecessor, Starter will be limited to running just three programs at a time, and targeted towards ultra low cost PCs and "netbooks" (ultra lightweight laptops).

Windows 7 Professional can join a Windows Server network, back up data over the network, and encrypt data. This version will also allow users the option of location-aware printing, such as printing to a home printer while at home, and defaulting to a shared printer in an office environment.

Windows 7 Enterprise will only be available through volume licensing, and add the option of using BitLocker data encryption on internal and external drives, locking apps with AppLocker, and improved remote access features when Windows Server 2008 R2 is used.

ITS expects Windows 7 to be released in late 2009.

Wednesday, Feb 4, 2009 11:12 am CST

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