Microsoft may adjust limitations on Windows 7 Starter

According to Paul Thurrott, Microsoft will be lifting the three running application limit for Windows 7 Starter Edition.

Previously with XP and Vista, Starter Edition was designed to run on low end equipment and be sold in what Microsoft called "developing markets." But for Windows 7, Microsoft moved Starter Edition into the rest of the world and decided to sell Home Basic in the developing markets instead. Starter Edition is expected to be sold on netbook class systems, so even if there isn't a software coded limit to how many applications you can run at one time, the limited amount of processor and memory resources in the computer will continue to be the deciding factor.

Even so, since Windows 7 has been engineered to work better on systems with fewer resources, many users report a positive experience even running the Ultimate edition of the beta and RC on lower end equipment. As we reported and proved today, even older systems running with 1.3GHz Celeron processors and 512MB of RAM can easily run Windows 7.

According to TechARP, Microsoft is also adjusting the guidelines for systems that can be sold with Starter Edition. This information has not yet been confirmed by Microsoft.

  • CPU: Single core processor that operates at 2GHz or less and uses 15W or less of power
  • Screen Size: 10.2 inches or smaller (previously 12.1")
  • RAM: 1GB or less
  • Storage: Up to 250GB hard drive or 64GB SSD (previously 160GB or 32GB SSD)
  • Graphics: No restrictions on touch screen or graphics
Some have pointed out, such as blogger Ed Bott, that the three application limit isn't always hard and fast, and that may be why Microsoft has chosen to simply dump the restriction all together. Bott himself did say on Twitter today that he cannot confirm that there will be a change to this restriction, saying he thought it was "under discussion, not decided yet."

Other restrictions currently in place on Starter Edition users include the inability to change the desktop background. No word yet on if this restriction will be removed as well, which for many users would be more annoying than the application limit.

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