Windows 7 Buying Guide

If you’re running a genuine version of Windows Vista, XP or 2000 you’re likely to be eligible for an upgrade edition of Windows 7. If not, you may have decided that now’s the time to purchase Windows 7. It sounds simple, to upgrade or not to upgrade, although choosing which edition of Windows 7 can be a little trickier than it first seems. There are six editions, Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate although you only really have three Windows 7 editions to choose from.

You can rule out Windows 7 Starter immediately as it is really only meant for netbooks and smaller devices that require minimum computing power. Unless you’re content with only being able to check email, basic web surfing and a little word processing, Windows 7 Starter is not for you. Windows 7 Home Basic is only for sale in developing countries like China and India and Windows 7 Enterprise is for large businesses that will have large scale licensing. In any case, these three won’t be available for general retail and so the majority of buyers are left with three options; Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate.

Before looking at each of the remaining editions remember that you can purchase an Anytime Upgrade to boost your edition to the next level should you find your needs outstrip the features of the edition you’re using. For example, Windows 7 Home Premium users can use Anytime Upgrade to get the features of the Professional or Ultimate editions at any time.

Windows 7 Home Premium is designed specifically for home users and includes Windows Media Centre that supports a variety of multimedia formats including DVD, CD and Blu-ray allowing users to read and write from DVDs and CDs. The backup utility creates full system images and other functions that allow users to retrieve data accidentally lost or deleted. To purchase the full package online costs £99 although to upgrade is cheaper. There’s also a family pack available that allows buyers to use Windows 7 Home on up to three different computers.

For around £10 more buyers can have all the perks of Windows 7 Professional. The software comes with all the features of Home Premium along with some advanced networking features like Location Aware Printing that allows you to choose different default printers for different networks, which is useful if you’re using a laptop in multiple locations. Other perks include the ‘offline files’ perk that allows you to continue working even if the network connection has dropped. Domain Join is another feature that allows you to connect to company networks securely.

Windows 7 Ultimate is available for around £130 and offers all of the above plus some extra security and enterprise features. Multiple languages can also be used on one PC and users get the ability to boot from a virtual hard drive and encrypt files on your PC. In conclusion, whilst Windows 7 Home Premium is likely to meet the requirements of most users, professionals or those working from home may well find Windows 7 Professional the more sensible option.

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