Differences Among Windows 7 Versions

Windows 7 comes in six basic versions in the U.S. market:
• Windows 7 Starter
• Windows 7 Home Basic
• Windows 7 Home Premium
• Windows 7 Professional
• Windows 7 Enterprise
• Windows 7 Ultimate

Although all versions contain the same integrated applications and many of the same multimedia features, Professional and Enterprise editions include greater security and emphasize the needs of the business sector (Enterprise is available only through special corporate licensing agreements, not via retail). The Starter version is available only pre-installed on low-end PCs (primarily netbook PCs). Home versions emphasize the multimedia experience. For the buyer who has to have it all, the Ultimate version leaves nothing out.

Furthermore, 64-bit versions are available for all platforms. As of this writing, most users will be running the x86 code base because their computers have 4GB or less RAM installed. But as more computers begin to ship with 4GB or more RAM installed, that will change. Then 64-bit CPUs, such as AMD’s Athlon 64 and Opteron, or Intel’s Core Duo and i7 families, can take advantage of their speed and other enhancements. The 64-bit versions use an emulation layer called WOW64 to run Win32-based applications, although, for best performance, Microsoft recommends using 32-bit software on 32-bit Windows systems. The emulation feature enables organizations to use their Itanium-based systems with existing Windows applications until they create 64-bit versions created internally or purchase them from software vendors.

Available in all Windows 7 versions are Aero Snap, Windows Flip, Jump Lists, more granular UAC, Action Center, Windows Defender, Windows Firewall, Parental Controls, Windows ReadyDrive, Windows ReadyBoost, SuperFetch, 64-bit support, unlimited processor core support, Windows Backup, System Image, disk defragmentation, create and attach VHD, IE 8, Windows Gadgets and Gallery, basic games, Windows Photo Viewer, basic photo slideshows, Windows Media Player 12, AAC and H.264 decoding, Device Stage, Sync Center, 20 SMB connections, Network and Sharing Center, improved power management, connect to projector, remote desktop, and RSS support.

Certain limitations apply to 64-bit Windows versions. For example, there is no Win16 or MS-DOS support, so you cannot run 16-bit Windows (3.x and 9x) or DOS applications.
You might occasionally encounter issues with availability of 64-bit device drivers for the 64-bit platform. Many experts believe that home/small office users should install the 32-bit version of Windows 7 even if they have x64 processors, and should use the 64-bit versions only if they must run specific 64-bit apps with huge memory requirements (such as Adobe PhotoShop or Flash Professional). We think the dawn of the 64-bit age has finally started, and with Windows 7 you can go either way (32- or 64-bit, that is).

Source of Information : QUE Microsoft Windows in Depth

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