How many flavors will Windows 7 come in?

The most recent leaked screenshots of Windows 7 build 7025 suggests 5 versions, but Gregg Keizer of Computer World reports that Microsoft hasn't decided on it yet.

A Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed the 5 version names in Windows 7 beta, but said they were only preliminary. She also added that Microsoft will continue to take customer feedback from the beta test period into account as they refine the SKU set for Windows 7 and will share more information when its available.

As far as netbook is concerned Cnet UK reported that Microsoft plans to make a single version of Windows 7 for netbook alone. Microsoft also plans to release a Small Business version of Windows 7, an Enterprise edition and two additional 'N' versions of Windows 7 for customers in the EU. This makes the edition count of Windows 7 rise to 10.

Paul Thurrott, a well-known Windows blogger, rules out the possibilities of Starter edition, netbook SKU edition, Home Basic being included in Windows 7. According to him, Microsoft plans to rename Business edition to Professional edition and include Media Center features as well as eliminate Enterprise edition and offer its features as add-ons to corporate customers. Thurrott believes Microsoft's best strategy will be to release Windows 7 in just 3 versions Home, Professional and Ultimate (excuding EU versions)

Do you think Microsoft should release multiple versions of Windows 7 or just one? Vote in the poll below.

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How many?

Less than Linux, more than OSX.

Suits me fine, as each of the three have their own target market, and the varieties suit each very well.

excalpius said,
The days of those target markets are long gone. There's no reason for three versions anymore. None whatsoever.

Yes, we know you don't think there is.

However, the long forum discussions about it, involving all sorts of analogies, would disagree. Discussions which I'm sure you've been a part of.

And the arguments keep coming down to drive space (argued by people who seem to still think it is 1980 computer wise) and "I don't want to pay for feature X if I don't use it", which is BS, because it's software from ONE company. You're ALREADY paying for that development and that software code, one way or another, no matter which version of Windows 7 you buy. Arguably, most of it was paid for by you purchasing Vista, since it's the same kernel. 8P

So, both arguments fail in a modern context. If you don't need encryption or windows media center, don't run it. It's chump change in drive space these days and doesn't take up any RAM or resources if you don't use it. In fact, with superfetch, anything you don't run won't even be cached, etc.

It's all out of date now. Something I give Apple due credit for.

The most recent leaked screenshots of Windows 7 build 7025 suggests 5 versions.....

It does nothing of the sort. We already know Busines is going to be called Professional this time around. So if that name is wrong, what else on that screenshot is wrong? No. More likely the list is just a copy of what was there in Vista and they haven't made any changes yet.

On-topic though, They should drop home basic and just have Home, Pro and Ultimate (with perhaps a different name?). You need Home so that home users aren't paying for business features, vice versa for the Pro version. And you also need Ultimate for those power users who want all the features from both. To have a single version just doesn't make business sense. As a home user I flat our refuse to pay for features I don't use. I'd rather have a lower priced version without the business features in it.

rakeshishere said,
Only one edition - Windows 7 and thats it with options for custom install :)

Ye i hate the fact you can no longer select which items are installed its fricken retarded.

3 is fine for me...(except the EU versions with N for non-media player...better MS can name it as Windows 7 EU (without WMP,without IE (if EU presses on it), dont even notepad ,calc & paint )

3 versions, Home, Business & Ultimate

3 versions is fine, although I have no problems with more. Different versions, different prices. Choice is good. Most users will get it pre-installled on their PC/laptop anyway. 1 big whooping OS...that would be one big whooping price and not give the consumer choice. Do we ask car manufacturers to produce only 1 model of a specific type? Different people have different budgets and for example, Starter edition of Vista is bought, so is basic and so are the other versions. If no copies sold, i.e. are not profitable, MS would not be reintroducing those versions.
Anyway, that is just my personal take on things.

One version like Opera does in their browser: clicking in Chat install IRC features ; clicking in Mail installs OperaMail.

Just Windows 7.
Double clicking on WMP icon installs it (like in default WinXP install); double clicking on Windows Media Center install it; double clicking on Remote Desktop icon installs it, and so on. And the ultimate features (i don't think calling they as 'ultimate features' are correct - 'encryption' and 'full backup' must be shipped, they are important as ever - in 2008/09 we say a gigantic growth in notebooks and netbooks sales).

The problem would be a custom install.
A custom-install option hasn't been offered in the business side since Windows 2000 Professional, and on the home side since Windows ME (notice that neither XP or Vista has such an option unless you go third-party), and some specialized configurations (such as netbooks) would demand a custom install.

Also, there could easily be such creatures as Aero-capable netbooks.

Just run a damn wizard AFTER the install. It's not friggin rocket science. MS have been doing very nicely with Server for YEARS.

One 7 for all.

...only because upteen was ridiculous. Ever argument you can apply for having three versions can be applied to the argument that there should only be ONE version...period.

excalpius said,
...only because upteen was ridiculous. Ever argument you can apply for having three versions can be applied to the argument that there should only be ONE version...period.

Not everyone need all features.
There should be like a version for home users, businesses and the ultimate version.

Im not counting the N version.

If you don't NEED the feature, don't USE the feature. It's not like it takes up any RAM if you don't actually use it. And drive space is a NON-issue now. Has been for years.

Home or Business, both with the added "features" of Ultimate with regards to your purchase. Ultimate features for the home go in home, business in business. Seems too logical for the world I guess.

Three versions sounds like a good number. Specifically Home, Business, and Ultimate (as mentioned above) seems to be the most fitting description based on what one would think the user's needs are. I considered the idea of just one version for the sake of simplicity as being the ideal solution but that's where cost comes into play. "Low", "middle-of-the-road", and "High" categories of the product would cover all the bases while keeping the options as simple as can be to avoid massive confusion. I believe this would be a very realistic approach given the breakdown of what versions of Vista are currently being preloaded on the majority of OEM systems whether it be notebooks or desktop systems. For example, it's hard to imagine why there would be that many people using copies of Home Basic with any recently purchased system.

Home, Professional and Ultimate are a good selection. However, I think MS will have a special version that is preinstalled on Netbooks.

If they do away with the basic, then I hope they put a disclaimer so they will not run into the lame law suit situation that they did with Vista Basic.

I doubt there would be lawsuits related to those type of issues as 7 will run on hardware that Vista can't even do or shouldn't. We'll see though.

Personally I think two editions would be OK.

A streamlined edition for home use, and a more full-fledged one that can either act as a "pro" edition, or as one for home users for "special needs" (domains, remote desktop, what have you...). So basically a Home and Pro edition, where Pro doubles as both Ultimate and "Business". Where, if you want it for business use, you should of course be able to skip home-oriented features at install time, perhaps with just a single check box. The price for this edition could be somewhere closer to Business than Ultimate IMHO; Ultimate was just way overpriced. I can't see it having done very good outside of piracy circles.

As Home would be more streamlined, it would also be suitable for netbooks.

My reason for not just one edition is simplicity for OEM's; pretty much all consumer systems would then have Home installed, so they wouldn't have a plethora of preinstalled features they'd never use for a home OS.

I'd like to see one version, but I know that will never happen.

Since I actually have (legal) access to the Enterprise version, I hope that will not go away. There are a lot of features in there I like (plus the name makes me feel like my computer is from Star Trek)

Marshalus said,
I'd like to see one version, but I know that will never happen.

Since I actually have (legal) access to the Enterprise version, I hope that will not go away. There are a lot of features in there I like (plus the name makes me feel like my computer is from Star Trek)

Enterprise isn't going away.

Marshalus said,
I'd like to see one version, but I know that will never happen.

Since I actually have (legal) access to the Enterprise version, I hope that will not go away. There are a lot of features in there I like (plus the name makes me feel like my computer is from Star Trek)

Does it travel at warp speed?

Some people just don't get it or are plain ignorant. Even if they released 20 SKU's it will not matter. There won't be more than 2 or at the very most 3 that you will see on store shelves and larger businesses will know to get the Enterprise edition through whatever licensing agreement they have with Microsoft. That's it.

Yes, it would be nice to only have one consumer version but everybody knows that will never happen and honestly what does it really matter? You all know most people here will be running Ultimate, most people that buy laptops will have Home Premium or whatever the equivalent SKU for that will be and business users will either run Business or Enterprise (I don't really know the difference between the two other than their names).

And as far as the EU SKU's - has anyone actually purchased one? Ever? I think those are just to shut those idiots up who ordered Microsoft to make these in the first place. The simple fact that nobody really uses them just goes to prove even further that the knuckleheads at the EU who ordered Microsoft to release the N versions are complete morons.

My laptop has pc6400 memory, 4 gigs of ram, and a 2.5 gig dual pros. At this time win 7 ultmate is loaded up, and there as been no programs up to this point. So if win 7 comes out with a pro or ultmate verison in the end then my laptop should have no problem.

Basic = Premium / Enterprise = Business / Professional = Ultimate

forget the basic, for that you may as well stick with Win98.

or for the Mac fanboys.

Dumb / Dumber / Dumbest.

If MS can't just deliver one version for all (since no business actually needs a gimped version anymore), then your suggestion of three is a good one.

The only problem with the multiple versions in Vista was Home Basic. The lay-man walks into the shop and all he wants is the Windows with the cool glassy see-through stuff and instead he missed out because he got Basic. Ordinary people don't care for the backend stuff - it's all about the gui.

So I'm all for the 3 versions.

Just Home and Professional, as it was with XP, would be fully sufficient.
Ultimate on top of the two would already be pushing it, but still be barely acceptable.
Anything more would be total overkill. I hope they learned something from the Vista debacle, also in form of releasing way too much editions.

@gamestargrinder
Being able to do a custom install would be abolutely great (no more need for nLite), but somehow I doubt they would do something that user friendly.

XP had Home, Professional, Starter, Media Center (3 versions), Tablet PC, and 64-bit (Itanium and x64). There were also subscription versions, WMP-free versions, and Embedded in multiple flavors including point-of-sale. Oh, and the Legacy version.

The two editions would be quite enough. Basic is just bad because it makes people feel shorted when they get it - not a sensation that people enjoy after just buying something expensive.

Ultimate would be better off just being Professional with a bundled add-on disc. Throw in some OneCare, themes, games, and an XP Virtual PC image to make it worthwhile to the tech crowd. There's nothing in Windows 7 that deserves to be crippled for the Professional version with the sole reason being to justify Ultimate's existance.

Windows 7 Professional with Ultimate Extras. Has a nice ring to it, no?

My take is one version with custom install. Let the users select presets on one disk and allow for even a custom install. All you need is one for the consumer and one for the server market.

Agreed. However, I should point out that not even Leopard gives users the option to pick and choose which components to install. At least it's a much simpler process to remove apps than in Windows (drag the app to the trash instead of running uninstall scripts).

There's no reason not to INSTALL everything. For example, if you don't have a TV tuner, then MediaCenter is just another Windows Media Player with a library which will be nice with Windows 7 Home Groups. Why NOT have it on every machine, even business ones? Drive space is a cheap and non-existent issue now and none of the gimped features require RAM just for being installed on the machine.

Despite protests from the business IT community, I don't see why we need a separate version for "businesses" anymore.

And since MS doesn't actually have any "Ultimate" extras beside the video wallpaper (which I love), we don't really need a normal and "deluxe" version. Because honestly, shouldn't EVERYBODY'S computer have full backup, encryption, and remote desktop assistant capability in this day and age? I mean...Apple's default OS has a hell of a lot more top drawer applications shipping with it than MS does, so why deliver Windows 7 in ANY gimped versions?!

3 Versions is more than enough. Obviously not counting the separate versions for netbooks/enterprise SKUs.

Doesn't really matter to me how many versions they put out. I'll buy the one that has the features I want.

I reakon Home, Business and Ultimate sound good.
They should however have an option during the installation to do a 'low-end' install for netbooks which doesnt include all the ******** and defaults to low-power and low-visuals settings.

Home, Business and Ultimate sounds good.

I'd like it if there was just one single version that had everything and you simply selected what features to install but unfortunately that doesn't coincide with Microsoft's pricing structure.

Might as well just install everything. It's not like drive space is an issue anymore, especially considering the difference between them would be < 1 GB. And RAM isn't used unless you RUN/Use the application.

One 7 for all.

Should have only Home and Professional.

Make Home real basic. The Ultimate stuff should be in a add-on package, like when they had this Windows 98 Plus. Could be split in 2 or 3 differents packages. MCE should be a separate package also. You buy what you need.