An Overview of Windows 7 – CompTIA A+ 220-802: 1.1

| February 11, 2013


The number of installed Windows 7 systems has grown into the hundreds of millions, making Windows 7 one of the most successful operating systems ever. In this video, you’ll learn about the different editions and installation requirements for Windows 7.


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Windows 7 was released in 2009. And it was the successor to Windows Vista. There are six editions of Windows 7 that were introduced. This is very similar to the editions that were in Windows Vista.

There’s a Windows 7 Starter, a Windows 7 Home Basic, a Windows 7 Home Premium, and a Windows 7 Ultimate. For use at work you would commonly see Windows 7 Professional, or Windows 7 Enterprise. And you’ll notice that I’ve grayed out the Windows 7 Home Basic. That was a version that was created specifically for emerging markets. You would not be able to even activate Windows 7 Home Basic unless it was in one of those particular countries or geographies.

Windows 7 Starter is a basic version of the Windows operating system that was really designed for netbooks. And netbooks, of course, are very small portable computers that don’t have a lot of advanced graphics capabilities or high end processors. So you generally don’t see things like DVD playback.

That was a feature that you would not find in Windows 7 Starter, because netbooks generally don’t have DVD players inside of them. There’s no Windows Aero, because the graphics capabilities in those devices are not very advanced. And things like Internet Connection Sharing would not apply either.

There’s no Web Server functionality in Windows 7 Starter, and certainly none of the enterprise technologies that you might need at work, like access to an active domain, or things like using BitLocker or EFS encryption. You would only find Windows 7 Starter in a 32-bit version. There are not 64-bit versions of this operating system. And this version only supported a maximum of two gigabytes of memory.

If you’re at home and you’re using Windows 7, then you’re probably using Windows 7 Home Premium. This is the version that you would buy at a big box store. You would purchase it and run it on your home computer.

This is probably the version that was also included with many home computers. It allowed for playing back DVDs. There was the graphical Aero support inside of it. And you could enable Internet Connection Sharing, or even run your own web server on a Windows 7 Home Premium device.

Again, you didn’t have the enterprise functionality. This was really designed to be run at home. So no connectivity to Active Directory, or any of the more advanced encryption capabilities.

Windows 7 Home Premium did provide a 64-bit version of the operating system, which gave you more hardware to work with. You could use up to 16 gigabytes of RAM in your 64-bit processor. And you could have up to two separate physical processors inside of your computer that allow you to do more than the 32-bit version of the Windows 7 Home Premium.

If you wanted to use Windows 7 with every feature enabled, then you were probably wanting to run Windows 7 Ultimate. This allowed you to connect to Active Directory. You would use this as a remote desktop server. You could use some of the encryption technologies for encrypting files, or even use BitLocker for encrypting the entire hard drive of your computer.

The 64-bit version of Windows 7 Ultimate supported a total memory of 192 gigabytes of memory. And this was exactly the same functionality as Windows 7 Enterprise. Think about taking the Enterprise version that would only be available through volume licensing with Microsoft, and be able to use that same type of functionality on an operating system that you could run at home.

If you needed to run Windows 7 in a business environment but you didn’t need every single capability of Windows 7, you’re probably running Windows 7 Professional. This has exactly the same functionality as Windows Home Premium, but it enables the capability to connect to a Windows Domain, and be able to administer that device through Active Directory. You can also turn on the Remote Desktop Host capabilities on a Windows 7 Professional, and use the encrypting file system, so that you’re able to encrypt individual files.

The Windows 7 Professional, though, did not allow you to enable BitLocker. So the entire encryption of a hard drive is not something supported inside of Windows 7 Professional. The 64-bit version of Windows 7 Professional allowed you to use a lot more memory. You could use up to 192 gigabytes of RAM.

As I mentioned earlier, you would be using the Windows 7 Enterprise version if you had a volume license. If you were managing very, very large deployments of Windows 7, this is probably the version that you’re using. This allowed and enabled multiple languages in the user interface, which is important for large international organizations.

It also allows you to turn on that volume level encryption, called BitLocker in Windows. So that you could put that on a laptop, send the laptop out. And even if that laptop got stolen or lost, the data on that system would still be protected. The Windows 7 Enterprise version also enabled some Unix application support, which is important for some large organizations.

Here’s a summary of all those additions on one single slide. You can see that the starter version of Windows 7 really doesn’t provide any of those functions. And it only allowed up to two gigabytes of memory use on a 32-bit system. The 64-bit functionality, not even available on Windows 7 Starter.

Windows 7 home premium obviously allowed the DVD playback, the Aero graphics, and some of the Internet Connection Sharing an internet information system web services. But it’s not designed for the business. So it didn’t have domain, EFS, or BitLocker capabilities. And you can see the memory allowed for a Windows home premium was four gigabytes on a 32-bit system and up to 16 gigabytes on a 64-bit system.

If we look at Professional, we’re enabling the Active Directory functionality, and the encrypting file system. But you do not have that BitLocker volume level encryption on the Professional version. You’re also increasing the total amount of memory that you can access on the 64-bit version up to 192 gigabytes.

The Ultimate and Enterprise versions, of course, enable everything, including BitLockers. So now we can have that volume level encryption, and protect those devices that happen to go outside of our environment. Or we just want to be sure that all of the data on that volume is encrypted, no matter what happens to that computer. And you can see that the maximum memory, very similar to the professional version, at four gigabytes for a 32-bit system and a maximum of 192 gigabytes for a 64-bit system.

The requirements for Windows 7 are a little bit different between a 32-bit version and a 64-bit version. Some things are identical. For instance, the processor required is a 1 gigahertz processor for both of those editions. You can see the memory is different, though. On a 32-bit version, one gigabyte of memory is the minimum.

On a 64-bit version, there is a doubling of two gigabytes of memory required for a 64-bit version of Windows 7. You also would need a minimum of 16 gigabytes free to install a 32-bit version of Windows 7. But you would need an extra amount, up to 20 gigabytes of memory, free and available with the 64-bit version.

The video requirements for both the 32 and the 64-bit are identical. You need a DirectX 9 graphics device. And it would need a standardized Windows driver called a WDDM. That’s a Windows Display Driver Model version 1.0 that had a very standardized way of accessing the graphics driver in a Windows environment. Those are identical, whether you’re using Windows 7 32-bit or 64-bit.

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Category: CompTIA A+ 220-802

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