Windows 7 Will Be Available in Six Versions


Additional news pertaining to Windows 7 was released earlier this week. This comes barely a month after the generally positive response to the first public beta of Microsoft's next iteration of the Windows operating system. Though it's not yet announced via official channels, a number of Internet sites have independently confirmed with Microsoft that there will be six versions of Windows 7 when it is finally released:


  • Windows 7 Starter Edition
  • Windows 7 Home Basic
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Ultimate


How will the various editions of Windows 7 related to the small and medium-sized business? Well, it all depends whether the new machines will be participating in a managed network with Domain Join.


Essentially, only Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Ultimate will support being joined to a domain, so your options are more or less decided if you require it. Windows 7 Professional is positioned as the entry-level edition for businesses and features Encrypting File System. Windows 7 Enterprise will come with DirectAccess technology to be used in conjunction with Windows Server 2008 R2, as well as AppLocker, which is used to centrally lock down unauthorized software.


SMBs that do not require participation in a Windows domain will probably do well with Windows 7 Home Basic or Windows Basic Home Premium. Note that Windows 7 Starter Edition is unlikely to be suitable for any form of business activities, since it only allows up to a maximum of three user applications to run at a time.


In addition, another fact known at this point is that Microsoft will not be providing any software migration tools to upgrade Windows XP or Windows Vista to Windows 7. What that means is that you will have to manually back up user documents and reinstall the requisite applications. Based on this information, I rescind my earlier advice for Windows XP users to migrate to Windows Vista. It now appears to be a better idea to simply wait for the general availability of Windows 7.


And if you must ask, Microsoft has not released any pricing or availability information at the moment.