Updated: Windows 7 final editions announced

We recently revealed that Microsoft still hadn't announced how many flavors Windows 7 would ship in. In a recent briefing with Paul Thurrott, Microsoft Senior Vice President Bill Veghte revealed the SKUs that Windows 7 will ship in. "We feel that this lineup offers a clear onramp for Windows 7, making it easier than ever to find the right version for your needs", Veghte added. So without further ado, here is the official lineup of Windows 7 versions with an outlined overview:


Windows 7 Starter
Market: Emerging markets, with new PCs only
Key features: Enhanced taskbar, Jump Lists, Windows Media Player, Backup and Restore, Action Center, Device Stage, Play To, Fax and Scan, basic games
What's missing: Aero Glass, many Aero desktop enhancements, Windows Touch, Media Center, Live thumbnail previews, Home Group creation

Windows 7 Home Premium
Market: Mainstream retail market
Key features: Aero Glass, Aero Background, Windows Touch, Home Group creation, Media Center, DVD playback and authoring, premium games
What's missing: Domain join, Remote Desktop host, advanced backup, EFS, Mobility Center, Offline Folders

Windows 7 Professional (superset of Home)
Market: Mainstream retail market
Key features: Domain join, Remote Desktop host, location aware printing, EFS, Mobility Center, Presentation Mode, Offline Folders, Media Center
What's missing: BitLocker, BitLocker To Go, AppLocker, Direct Access, Branche Cache, MUI language packs, boot from VHD

Windows 7 Enterprise
Market: Volume-license business customers only
Key features: BitLocker, BitLocker To Go, AppLocker, Direct Access, Branche Cache, MUI language packs, boot from VHD
What's missing: Retail licensing

Windows 7 Ultimate
Market: Retail market, limited availability
Key features: BitLocker, BitLocker To Go, AppLocker, Direct Access, Branche Cache, MUI language packs, boot from VHD
What's missing: Volume licensing

There will be a Home Basic edition, but it will only be released to emerging markets. "We know emerging markets have unique needs and we will offer Windows 7 Home Basic, only in emerging markets, for customers looking for an entry-point Windows experience on a full-size value PC", said Windows General Manager Mike Ybarra. Paul Thurrot is reporting that Home Basic will lack "Aero Glass, Live Thumbnail Previews, Internet Connection Sharing, and a few other goodies."

As with Windows Vista, each different SKU offers unique features, with the most advanced in the Ultimate edition. Microsoft has yet to release any retail suggests pricing for these editions. Consumers now have three versions to choose from: Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate. Compared to the Windows Vista line up, which offered editions. What are your thoughts? Has Microsoft made it easier for the average PC user to choose which version is right for their PC and day-to-day use with the three versions they will be able to purchase?

Personally I believe the lineup has been made clearer compared to Windows Vista. Each tier offers a specific version for a specific audience. The biggest plus for consumers with these editions is the fact that the hottest feature of Windows Vista, Aero and its extras, are now offered in Starter and Home Premium editions rather than in Ultimate. But what about Ultimate? With the majority of consumers buying Vista Ultimate for Aero effects and it's extras, how will Windows 7 Ultimate be marketed to gain consumer attention? Has it became a redundant SKU?

Article last updated at: 1:53 P.M. (-6 GMT) to make the Author's opinion clearer.

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rm20010 said,
I like how Professional is now a superset of Home Premium. MS realized that even business people and professionals do use their machines for entertainment on the go, so they kept Media Center in. With Vista, they'd have to go with Ultimate.


Not trying to argue, but this is the part I *don't* understand - including Media Center in Pro (and Enterprise). What would be it's use in the business world?
IIRC, XP Pro (not Home) allowed playback of DVDs in Media Player without additional software. Why not have this (and Blu-Ray) only in Pro? I guess I'm saying that I think Media Center is entertainment-overkill for business-oriented versions of an OS.

If I read that correctly, Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Ultimate are... feature-wise, completely identical. The ONLY thing that makes one different from the other is the licencing methodology? If this is the correct assessment, then we all know which version we should expect to see circulating on the net before the official release of the final product.

Man, the amount of ignorance in this thread always amazes me.

There's only two SKUs of Windows 7 that will hit USA store shelves, Home and Professional.

Windows 7 Starter is only for emerging markets in different countries. Enterprise is only through volume licensing for large business. Ultimate is only a non-VL version of Enterprise, which will likely be an online download.

Europe will get a couple N versions, because the EU isn't afraid of extortion to leech some money from Microsoft. Korea will get a couple K versions, for whatever reason.

The crybabies in this thread really need to shut their mouth and take their misinformation somewhere else. I come to Neowin.net to read news, fact, and intelligent conversation, and it becomes very difficult to wade through so many tons of nonsensical, useless crap.

@iamwhoiam and excalpius

Except I have taken the time to state the facts, and offer something beneficial to read. My comments add something to the discussion.

All you have done is reply to my comment with one-liners to try and score points on the internet. Your comments add nothing. The commentary in Neowin articles is degrading to cnet.com levels, and that is just sad.

Kojio said,
@iamwhoiam and excalpius

Except I have taken the time to state the facts, and offer something beneficial to read. My comments add something to the discussion.

All you have done is reply to my comment with one-liners to try and score points on the internet. Your comments add nothing. The commentary in Neowin articles is degrading to cnet.com levels, and that is just sad.

Name-calling and attitude tend to drown out "facts."

The beauty of the internet is that you have choice. If Neowin doesn't suit you, there are plenty of other places you can go.

Yeah, you're absolutely right. I have a choice of which news sites to read, and Neowin has a choice of which readers they cater too.

I remember when it was enjoyable reading articles on Neowin, not only because of the well-written articles, but the smart and objectionable commentary that brought out good points and interesting facts.

Things have changed, and Neowin has become a rat-race for raging fanboys to post misinformation and push their own agenda. Take this article for example: an absurd amount of thoughtless people fail to read the article and simply bypass the fact that only 'two' Windows versions are being released to Retail shelves in the USA.

Neowin commentary is becoming as pathetic as cnet, and you seem to enjoy it. I'll try to keep an eye on some of the better Neowin articles here, but Gizmodo has higher quality articles and a more balanced community, where fanboys like you never gain any real momentum.


Kojio said,
Yeah, you're absolutely right. I have a choice of which news sites to read, and Neowin has a choice of which readers they cater too.

I remember when it was enjoyable reading articles on Neowin, not only because of the well-written articles, but the smart and objectionable commentary that brought out good points and interesting facts.

Things have changed, and Neowin has become a rat-race for raging fanboys to post misinformation and push their own agenda. Take this article for example: an absurd amount of thoughtless people fail to read the article and simply bypass the fact that only 'two' Windows versions are being released to Retail shelves in the USA.

Neowin commentary is becoming as pathetic as cnet, and you seem to enjoy it. I'll try to keep an eye on some of the better Neowin articles here, but Gizmodo has higher quality articles and a more balanced community, where fanboys like you never gain any real momentum.

Put your money where your mouth is.

Maybe you can help write some of those "objectionable" articles.

Provided of course, that you're familiar with the meaning of the words you're using.

Kojio said,
Yeah, you're absolutely right. I have a choice of which news sites to read, and Neowin has a choice of which readers they cater too.

I remember when it was enjoyable reading articles on Neowin, not only because of the well-written articles, but the smart and objectionable commentary that brought out good points and interesting facts.

Things have changed, and Neowin has become a rat-race for raging fanboys to post misinformation and push their own agenda. Take this article for example: an absurd amount of thoughtless people fail to read the article and simply bypass the fact that only 'two' Windows versions are being released to Retail shelves in the USA.

Neowin commentary is becoming as pathetic as cnet, and you seem to enjoy it. I'll try to keep an eye on some of the better Neowin articles here, but Gizmodo has higher quality articles and a more balanced community, where fanboys like you never gain any real momentum.


I hope you arn't taking a personal digg at all of us here at Neowin who take the time to write these articles. And just so you know, there are three major news sources that are saying there will be three versions available for consumers to purchase in retail stores.

I can't take a personal 'digg' at the authors because I don't know them personally. However, I have noticed quite a few articles being rushed to headlines with plenty of spelling and grammatical errors. I've noticed quite a few readers disgracing and leaving Neowin due to the authors either trying to hide the original source links inside word phrases, or simply not including the source links at all. I also noticed a few articles that simply "rephrase" the original source without actually summarizing the information or improving on delivery of the original content.

Take this article for example. The article tries to state how "the lineup has been made clearer" yet the actual delivery of the information is even more confusing. I believe that if the author simply spent an additional 10-15 minutes streamlining the information in this article, there wouldn't be so much widespread confusion and hostility throughout the article's commentary. If the purpose of the article is to highlight the simplified Windows 7 SKUs, then the article should be simple in its explanation. Instead, we have a convoluted article which offers people more confusion than information, and does the opposite of what the original news source is all about: Something becoming more simple.

Take the article on Lifehacker for example: Here

Where in this article does it say there will be three versions for retail? I have read this news across several different sites, and they all say that Home and Professional are the only two SKUs hitting retail. Enterprise/Ultimate are not Retail SKUs, and Baic/Starter are either for OEMs or emerging markets. Where is this third retail SKU?

Kojio said,
I can't take a personal 'digg' at the authors because I don't know them personally. However, I have noticed quite a few articles being rushed to headlines with plenty of spelling and grammatical errors. I've noticed quite a few readers disgracing and leaving Neowin due to the authors either trying to hide the original source links inside word phrases, or simply not including the source links at all. I also noticed a few articles that simply "rephrase" the original source without actually summarizing the information or improving on delivery of the original content.

Take this article for example. The article tries to state how "the lineup has been made clearer" yet the actual delivery of the information is even more confusing. I believe that if the author simply spent an additional 10-15 minutes streamlining the information in this article, there wouldn't be so much widespread confusion and hostility throughout the article's commentary. If the purpose of the article is to highlight the simplified Windows 7 SKUs, then the article should be simple in its explanation. Instead, we have a convoluted article which offers people more confusion than information, and does the opposite of what the original news source is all about: Something becoming more simple.

Take the article on Lifehacker for example: Here

Where in this article does it say there will be three versions for retail? I have read this news across several different sites, and they all say that Home and Professional are the only two SKUs hitting retail. Enterprise/Ultimate are not Retail SKUs, and Baic/Starter are either for OEMs or emerging markets. Where is this third retail SKU?


First of all, many newsources these days do inline sourcing. Which is what we are focusing on doing here at Neowin. If you feel that we should directly state the source, then please bring your concerns to an editor or administrator here at Neowin. Second, you're right we don't always find the spelling errors or grammatical errors. We try our best to deliver news fast, simple, and in ways that our readers can engage in conversations.

Third this article was not published with the intention that Microsoft was delivering a "clearer lineup". The list provided was taken off Paul Thurrott's website, I delivered an overview for consumers, and then stated my personal opinion on the matter. How is that confusing?

A) Listing the lineup of Windows 7 with features
B) Clearly stating that there will be three SKUs available at retail outlets.
C) Giving my personal incite on the lineup.

Once again, how is that confusing?

Fourth, regarding the SKU's that will be available at retail stores. If you actually read the source I provided you would have seen that the Ultimate, the third SKU is going to be available at retail stores.

jjrambo said,
This is joke right?

Why?

If you read my post below, it makes sense.

All we will see anyway is Home Premium and Professional.

Enterprise and Starter will not be seen and Ultimate won't be seen much at all.

Did you not read Brandon Live's response on the availability of Ultimate?

This is a joke. So if you have Ultimate you are downgraded to an inferior product, at least in name. Do I at least have the option of renaming my version of Windows Ultra Super Fantastic edition... that way I can feed my ego. Otherwise, I am just going to have to go someplace else.

I think all of these SKUs do make sense, even Ultimate, after some consideration.

However, why the need for both Home Basic and Starter? Couldn't they be merged into the same product called Windows 7 Starter? That way, Home Premium could have a much better name which relates to the product. I mean a lot of people are going to be wondering what the "Premium" is for and it doesn't make sense to have it on the end, if Basic and Starter are merged :)

It should be these 5 versions:

Windows 7 Starter - for emerging markets.
Windows 7 Home - for the average home user
Windows 7 Professional - for small businesses and home users who want those more 'professional' orientated features.
Windows 7 Enterprise - for large businesses and corporations, with everything included in.
Windows 7 Ultimate - for people who want everything Windows has to offer. This should not be available commercially, but in special deals with OEMs or to be ordered from Microsoft online or something.

That way, we, as customers would see only 2 versions of Windows, essentially: Windows 7 Home and Windows 7 Professional.

^ That is all very similar to what we have now, with a few minor changes - mainly Home Basic merged with Starter so Home Premium doesn't have to have that horrible name.

-- Windows 7 Home Premium ... What's missing: ... advanced backup

Boo! Everybody needs good backup software no matter what OS you're using.

-- Windows 7 Professional (superset of Home) ... What's missing: BitLocker, BitLocker To Go

That Ultimate upgrade had better be cheap, or really discounted with Server 2008 R2 CALs. BitLocker To Go looks like one of the best new business features in Windows 7, and there's no way the folks I work with (small businesses) will spring for a volume license version when the systems already come preloaded with Professional.

What a really bad idea, they do the too many editions crap once again... I thought they'd be wiser now.
I'm also especially displeased that once again, the multi-language interface is only in Enterprise and Ultimate.

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