By Val Bakh 2. Windows 7 2.1 Windows 7 Editions 2.1.1 It can be fun to choose the right edition
Windows 7 is basically an upgraded version of Windows Vista. Windows 7 has many new features and functionalities in addition to the standard features and functionality of Windows Vista. Before you get excited about it, you must make one important decision: choose the right edition of Windows 7. Since Windows XP, Microsoft has done a good job streamlining Windows editions. You may find that choosing the right edition for you is not an easy task, regardless of whether you are a home user or a corporate IT professional.
Which Windows 7 editions are available? This question is not as simple to answer as you might think. Before we can talk about editions, it is important to define what the term edition means. First, editions and versions are not the same thing. Versions can refer to different operating systems. Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 are examples of versions. Versions can also include different levels of updates. These versions include the original Windows 7 (also known as Release to Manufacturing (RTM) and Windows 7 with Service Pack 1(SP1). An edition is a variation or flavor within a particular version. There are many ways to organize editions depending on what aspects of Windows 7 you want to focus on. These include a feature set or architecture type, licensing method, distribution channel, marketing zone, or even an installation type. This makes it more fun because there is no one official way to refer to each category. Some combinations can be called edition families, while others can be called lines or products. Instead of wasting time trying to invent a single term for each type, we will refer to them all as editions. We will use descriptive, common-sense terms to navigate this maze.
Let’s begin with feature sets. There are six major editions:
Basics of Home
Premium Home
Each edition’s next-level features are a superset any previous-level editions’ features. You probably don’t think you can do that. There is an exception. Enterprise editions and Ultimate editions are almost identical. The only difference is that Enterprise editions are volume-licensed editions (VL), whereas Ultimate editions can be purchased retail. Enterprise editions allow volume activation (VA) whereas Ultimate editions don’t.
This brings us to another classification: Windows 7 editions can be classified as either retail editions or VL editions. Retail editions include Starter, Home Basic and Home Premium. All Enterprise editions can be purchased as VL editions. The Professional group includes VL and retail editions. Sometimes, retail editions are also called consumer editions.
Each group includes standard, full-featured editions. However, some editions (N, K, and N) do not include Windows Media Player or other related features. These special editions comply with certain foreign legal requirements. They are intended for specific markets such as the European Union and South Korea.
Home Basic editions aren’t likely to be discussed much because they are considered special and are only available in markets that Microsoft has identified as emerging.
Architecture-wise, all editions except Starter come in both 32 and 64-bit versions. Only 32-bit versions are available for Starter editions.
If you feel dizzy already, don’t panic. There is more. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), are allowed to use OEM-discou