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Windows 7: How Many Versions of Windows 7

24 Nov 2008   #1
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
How Many Versions of Windows 7

How many editions of Windows 7 will there be?

Microsoft still hasn't officially said how many versions of Windows 7 it will sell but, based on what we've seen so far, it looks like "many" is a safe bet. We do know that Windows 7 will be available in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors, and while not all of the editions have been officially confirmed, it is possible to read the tea leaves. Those who hope that Redmond will have a change of heart and go back to the ways of Windows XP will be disappointed.

First, the pre-beta that was given away to PDC 2008 attendees was an Ultimate Edition, and while this doesn't prove much in itself, it is realistic to expect an Ultimate Edition of Windows 7. This is strengthened by the Windows 7 pre-release Privacy Supplement, which makes reference to an Ultimate Edition under the BitLocker Drive Encryption section: "BitLocker Drive Encryption (BitLocker) is available on computers running Windows 7 Enterprise Edition and Windows 7 Ultimate Edition."

This quote brings us to the next edition: Enterprise. This one is definitely coming, since Microsoft has already dedicated a section of its website to a list of various improvements: DirectAcces, BranchCasche, Search, BitLocker, AppLocker, Virtualization Enhancements, Management, as well as Compatibility and Deployment.

If there's an Enterprise Edition, it's possible that we'll see a Business Edition (but if it does exist, Microsoft has yet to mention it). However, there is a record of a Small Business Edition. On the Microsoft Careers website, there's a job posting for a marketing manager that lists various responsibilities for the job. One of these is described as "Communicate and generate Partner excitement for Windows Vista Business, Windows 7 for Small Business (future), Office Ready, Server channel programs, and new Server launches with Windows Small Business Server & Essential Business Server 2008."

My wager is that Microsoft will offer more Windows 7 SKUs to businesses, but not necessarily to the average consumer. It would be nice if consumers only ever had the option to choose between Home and Ultimate editions.

Disregarding the EU-specific "N Editions" as well as Embedded editions, both Windows XP and Windows Vista had six editions, though Vista had more 64-bit support. The reason Windows XP Professional x64 is usually counted separately is that it was released on its own and was actually based on Windows Server 2003 SP1. Here's how the last two operating systems broke down:

Windows XP: Starter, Home, Professional, Professional x64, Media Center, Tablet PC
Windows Vista: Starter, Home Basic (32bit and 64bit), Home Premium (32bit and 64bit), Business (32bit and 64bit), Enterprise (32bit and 64bit), Ultimate (32bit and 64bit)

Windows 7 will likely have about six editions as well, but there are rumors that Microsoft won't be keeping the same editions as Vista had (perhaps Home Basic will be scrapped). So far we've got three possible ones: Small Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise. Care to guess the rest?

Read more at the source.

Later Ted

My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Nov 2008   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1

I don't like the multi-edition thing
Home (includes MediaCenter) and Professional is enough for everyone.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Nov 2008   #3

Windows 7 Ult x64(x2), HomePrem x32(x4), Server 08 (+VM), 08 R2 (VM) , SuSe 11.2 (VM), XP 32 (VM)

well then again you have to say that technically there
n, starter, home basic, home premium, and ultimate
n, starter, home, professional, media center, and tablet pc edition
not counting enterprise or business because it was not be geared to the home user...
as you see there are 5 edition of xp and 5 (home user) editions of vista (x86 and x64 are another story since most just get the regular (read 32 bit) edition or it was already there (OEM)
while im not vouching for this i also believe there should be at most 3 edititions
home business and ultimate (pro or how ever you want to call it)
i know my POV might be flawed but thats what i
My System SpecsSystem Spec

25 Nov 2008   #4

Windows 10 Pro x64 x3, Ubuntu

Speaking for myself,

The need for Vista Home and Business can be understood - Home users want the Media functions but don't really need the domain based networking policy control etc and Business users are the opposite (or at least the system admin's are ) , as someone who has administered many systems over the years you don't want the complications of built in games and media capabilities

Historically the Starter and Home basic editions were necessary at the time of Vista's launch and the then state of hardware, Three years on and with hardware requirements of Windows 7 being the same as for Vista (more or less) the need for these editions no longer exists.

Ultimate is there for those users who need a combination of home and business functionality either because they use their laptop at home and in the office or because they support both sets of users (I include the self confessed geeks in this group, as they probably provide more real support than a lot of professionals ).

Enterprise is less of a Windows 7 Version as a licensing strategy so will probably continue.

So that is everyone covered with three versions (plus enterprise for its licence system for large business customers), which I think would be understandable for even the most inexperienced users, (and even the large retail chains who continually sell Vista Business to home users ).

The ideal would be a 32/64 bit selection option in the installation routine but I don't expect it - after all there is only one Vista Disk with the entered licence number setting the version installed so it is a technical possibility.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2008   #5

Windows 7 Ult x64(x2), HomePrem x32(x4), Server 08 (+VM), 08 R2 (VM) , SuSe 11.2 (VM), XP 32 (VM)

thank you nigel
as i have seen more than once that there have been people that wanted to go back to the way microsoft branded xp not realizing that there more than 2 editions...
as for the 32 bit/64 bit i believe there should be an automatic scanning of hardware and if the computer passes the the compatility check then off with 64bit...
if not default to 32...

It would be nice to be able to interchange between if needed (but of course as you said nigel that's never gonna happen too much money to be made...)
at least for now....

But I'm still hoping that would be for windows 7 as that would as the way i think is the last os with 32 bit support...
but at the same time before installation let the user have a chance (if they are experienced enough...) to either press a string of keys or click for advanced options (kinda the way they did back in the windows 95/NT -Me/2000 days)
that to me would be the ideal way...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Nov 2008   #6

Windows 10 Pro x64 x3, Ubuntu

Hi darkassain,

The ideal would be a selection dialogue in the install for 32/64 combined with a hardware check for those who get it wrong.

The only thing I would see that would cause problems is the actual space available on a DVD,

The 32bit of the Beta Windows 7 is about 2.5 Gigabytes on Disk with the Windows 7 x64 about 3.5 Gigabytes.

This will I'm sure increase when we get to RTM and retail. It may be that the two versions of the OS would not fit on a regular DVD and would have to go to dual layer, with the potential problems that would cause.

There is also the case of OEM disks - if the OS takes up the whole of the DVD they won't have the space to add their wonderful selection of bundled apps
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Nov 2008   #7

Vista Ult 64 bit Seven Ult RTM x64

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Barman58 View Post
There is also the case of OEM disks - if the OS takes up the whole of the DVD they won't have the space to add their wonderful selection of bundled apps
That would be a good thing IMHO. Save me having to undo. Maybe they could have their own version of Live to download what you want.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Nov 2008   #8


...and miss out on finding that 90% of manufacturer installed bloat is trial and the rest is useless?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Nov 2008   #9

Vista Ult 64 bit Seven Ult RTM x64

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by smarteyeball View Post
...and miss out on finding that 90% of manufacturer installed bloat is trial and the rest is useless?
Exactly :)

My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Nov 2008   #10

Windows 10 Pro X64 Insider Preview (Skip Ahead) latest build

So they'll just move to Blu-Ray....
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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