Microsoft announced the different versions of Windows 7 today. You’re likely to see some reporting and commentary emphasizing the number of different versions and complaining that it’s too complicated. It’s not. The buying process will actually be more straightforward than it has been with Vista. For almost everyone:
- Home users will buy Windows 7 Home Premium.
- Business users will buy Windows 7 Professional, which includes all the features in Home Premium and adds the ability to be used in a company network run by a server plus a few other features.
That’s easier than it has been with Vista. The various versions of Vista have different features – Home Premium has multimedia features that Business does not, for example. Each edition in the Windows 7 lineup includes everything from the previous edition.
Reportedly it will be possible to upgrade easily from Windows 7 Home Premium to Professional if necessary. If true, that will allow you to buy a computer at Best Buy or Costco with Home Premium and put it to work in your office with a minimum of fuss.
The other versions of Windows 7 will be invisible to us. There will be “Starter” for little netbooks, “Home Basic” for developing countries, “Enterprise” for big companies with volume licenses, and “Ultimate” for almost no one. (After the Vista Ultimate fiasco, there are apparently no plans to market Windows 7 Ultimate as a showcase for fun things. It’s just a way to get some enterprise-level features – BitLocker, boot from VHD, a few others.) There will only be two versions sold at retail to normal home and small business users.
Here’s more information about the Windows 7 versions hitting the market later this year. Ready or not, here it comes!