I like comparing stuff, especially when it comes to software products. If you have a choice to pick one Windows 7 edition out of few (sometimes this choice is very limited, say, you are buying a laptop — because then Operating System is included and rarely dominates as a factor to consider), then it is important to make a right decision. Of course, you can always upgrade later, but who wants all this headache with reinstalling and backup.
This time Microsoft made it easier to choose (comparing to Windows Vista), let’s have a look. Traditionally I will start with the best and then going down the road, explaining what we strip along the way.
Windows 7 Ultimate 32 and 64 bit
The best money can buy. All the Windows 7 features together. It’s good for home, office, and business use. What makes it special is Bitlocker disk encryption, which allows users to cipher an entire hard drive on-the-fly, so if it is stolen, data is not supposed to be recovered (hopefully). Plus only in ultimate edition you can download language packages to fully translate / convert Windows interface at once. For IT pros there are more to consider:
* DirectAccess to keep mobile users connected on the go
* BranchCache for faster file access
* Enhancements in BitLocker to protect data on computers and portable drives
* AppLocker to let IT pros control what applications users can run
* Enhanced management tools to improve IT productivity
* Compatibility with Windows Vista for ease of deployment
I think it is simply very cool to use Windows 7 Ultimate, if money is not a big question.
Windows 7 Professional 32 and 64 bit
Being oriented at business users it still contains all the nice stuff like Windows Media Center that found in the cheaper versions, so it is good to use at home too (not like in Vista scheme). Here’s features solely presenting in Professional edition (and in Ultimate one too, of course):
You can join Windows domain. You can run software designed for Windows XP without leaving Windows 7 session, neither you need an XP licence. You have here Encrypting File System, that selectively makes files readable only under particular user login. You can use remote desktop host to operate your PC remotely, and you can make backups to network drives with Windows 7 Professional edition. It is also the edition where you can deploy Group Policy controls
Windows 7 Professional limits RAM memory use to 192 GB (!) for 64-bit version (for all 32-bit versions you won’t use even 4 GB because of natural limitations).
Windows 7 Home Premium 32 and 64 bit
Smart choice if your money are affected! You can easily create a home network and connect your PCs to a printer with HomeGroup and fully enjoy visual appearance and interface functionality of Windows 7 interface such as Aero, taskbars previews, touchscreen support, multiple monitors, and also Peek, Shake, Snipping Tool, Sticky Notes, Tablet PC support, Windows Journal, Windows Mobility Center. Here you should choose between 32 and 64 bit versions. Total memory for 64-bit edition can go up to 16GB! What else? Watch many of your favorite TV shows for free when and where you want with Internet TV. So, as per its name, it is ideal for most home users.
Windows Starter (usually comes preinstalled)
Keep out of this if you can, unless this is inevitable (netbook as a gift, e. g.). Well you would be isolated from all those cool features described above. Imagine to get stuck with only one wallpaper and buying extra software to watch DVD…