Although Windows 7 is slowly fading out of use, you will certainly still find some pockets of installations that need maintenance and upgrades. In this video, you’ll learn about the editions of Windows 7 and some of their associated features.
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Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system was released on October 22, 2009, and although their mainstream support ended on January 13, 2015, they are still providing extended support for Windows 7 through January 14, 2020. Windows 7 has a similar look and feel to the previous Windows version, Windows Vista. And although it uses the same type of hardware and the same software drivers, you’ll find that Windows 7 has a bit of improved performance over Windows Vista.
In Windows 7, we saw some new features over Windows Vista such as libraries, HomeGroup, and the pinned task bar at the bottom of the screen. There are six main versions of Windows 7, Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate Professional and Enterprise, we’ll talk about most of these versions, except for Windows Home Basic. This was a special version of Windows 7 that was created exclusively for emerging markets. Before we were using tablets, we were using netbooks, and Windows 7 Starter was designed to be used on these network platforms. For example, we didn’t have any DVD playback or Windows Media Center functionality on a netbook, because netbooks were not designed with enough CPU to be able to provide video, and most netbooks didn’t have any DVD hardware.
The limited graphics functionality on a netbook also meant that you weren’t going to use Windows Aero. You also didn’t have Windows Internet Connection Sharing or ICS functionality on a simple netbook platform. Obviously Microsoft’s Internet Information Service, which is their web server would not be running on Windows 7 Starter, and you also wouldn’t have any enterprise-type functionality on Windows 7 Starter, so you wouldn’t be able to connect to Windows domain, you wouldn’t have any full disk encryption with BitLocker or individual file encryption with the encrypting file system. Windows 7 Starter is also only available as a 32-bit operating system, and it only supports a maximum of 2 gigabytes of RAM.
Windows 7 Home Premium is the version of Windows that was built for the consumer market. As the name implies, this is the version of Windows that you would commonly find running in the home. It allowed for DVD playback, there was graphical functionality with Windows Aero, you had the Internet Connection Sharing and IIS web server functionality as well. But again, because this was in the home, you didn’t have any enterprise functionality such as domain connectivity, BitLocker, or EFS. This version of Windows 7 is available as a 64-bit version, and it supports up to 16 gigabytes of RAM and two physical processors in the computer.
If you wanted to use a Windows 7 version at home that was fully featured, then you’re probably going to run Windows 7 Ultimate. This version included domain support, Remote Desktop, encrypting file system, and full disk encryption with BitLocker. This version of Windows 7 is also available as a 64-bit version and supports up to 192 gigabytes of memory. In many ways, Windows 7 Ultimate has the same functionality as the Windows 7 Enterprise Edition, except Windows 7 Ultimate is one that can be purchased and used by the home user.
In the workplace the edition of Windows 7 that’s commonly used as Windows 7 Professional. This has all of the same capabilities as Windows Home Premium, but it includes the ability to connect to a Windows domain. And you can turn on a remote desktop host and encrypting file system. The Professional Edition of Windows 7, though, did not support BitLocker. So you were not able to have full disk encryption with Windows 7 Professional. This is also available as a 64-bit version and supports up to 192 gigabytes of memory.
If you are a large organization and you use volume licensing to purchase your Windows licenses, then you commonly used Windows 7 Enterprise. This is a version of Windows that had all of the same functionality as the Windows 7 Professional, but included additional multilingual user interface packages and included full disk encryption with BitLocker.
The hardware requirements for Windows 7 were different whether you were running a 32-bit version of Windows 7 or 64-bit version of Windows 7, regardless of which edition. The CPU that you need is a 1 gigahertz processor. The amount of memory for the 32-bit version is 1 gigabyte, and that’s doubled to 2 gigabytes for the 64-bit version. The 32-bit version of Windows 7 needs 16 gigabytes of free disk space to install and the 64-bit version needs just a little bit more at 20 gigabytes. And for both of these editions you need a DirectX 9 graphics device that has compatibility with the Windows display driver model 1.0 or higher.
Here’s a summary of the features available in these different windows 7 editions. The edition that has the least functionality is Windows 7 Starter. You can see none of these features are available. It’s not supported in a 64-bit version. You can only get a 32-bit version, and that only supports 2 gigabytes of RAM. The Home Premium version includes DVD playback, the Aero graphics, and the internet Connection Sharing functionality. When you move up to the Professional version, you have the ability to connect to a Windows domain, and you can encrypt individual files with the encrypting file system. With the Enterprise and Ultimate versions of Windows 7, you include BitLocker functionality so that you cover all of these different features for those two editions.