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Windows 7 is out. What now?

23 October 2009 by J.M.

Your PC, simplified.

Windows 7 is generally available since yesterday. Never have the expectations for a new operating system been as high as this time, as we as end users have never been integrated into finding ideas for a new Windows, like we have this time. On top of that, Windows Vista has moved to the storage siding and is called a big flop by some people. Surely expectations climb up then—can Windows 7 embrace them?

Comparing the editions

What should run with Windows Vista is also suitable for the new Windows. That is because the system requirements have not been elevated, like normally. The lights are green for programs as well: Either a software runs directly, or you can convince it to run with the integrated Windows XP. Just in case. That’s called “Virtual XP Mode.”

But not every Windows 7 edition contains this mode. Which versions exist, and what are their differences? The editions important for us are Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate.

Windows 7 Home Premium

The successor of Windows Vista Home Premium will be the version sold most. It is preinstalled on PCs by manufacturers, and includes all features necessary to work and play.

Windows 7 Professional

The professional edition can do everything that Home Premium can, and additionally supports Windows Virtual PC as well as data backup and restore on network places.

Windows 7 Ultimate

The high-end edition has all that and on top of it, the BitLocker encryption. Furthermore, you can install more language packs here and for example use your Windows in German—without any reinstall, just a logoff/reboot is required.

Other versions

Thanks to the European Union, there are the “N” variants, coming without Windows Media Player and more media features. They cost the same as the normal versions, so rather don’t touch them.

Windows 7 Home Basic, Starter and Enterprise remain, where the first 2 are only interesting for developing countries and the last one is only offered to companies that can take advantage of extended network features.

Buy Windows 7

What does Windows 7 cost?

That depends totally on your home country. Sorry… =)

All editions are also available as OEM versions. These are normally only meant for computer manufacturers, but depending on your local laws, they might also be sold independently of hardware. You have no right for support by Microsoft, in exchange, the OEM versions are much cheaper than editions in the colored boxes.

You’re a student? Even better. If you have the corresponding legitimations, you can get Windows 7 for as low as $29.99 USD. More info on this special offer at

Is my computer ready?

You can find out if your computer is ready to run Windows 7 with Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. This is a free program that checks your system for known problems. If something is found, you get a notice. This way, you know where problems might arise even before you install Windows.

Some update tips:

  • Please take some minutes for backing up your data. If you don’t and something goes wrong, you’re going to have a problem. (We don’t want to hope, but who knows.)
  • You are using Windows Vista: Upgrading to Windows 7 is possible.
  • You are using Windows XP: You cannot upgrade to Windows 7 directly. The system must be reinstalled.
  • You want to take your settings and data with you? Have a look at Windows EasyTransfer (for Windows Vista and Windows XP). Moving is easier with this tool.


Long awaited, now published—the new Windows sounds solid. That is what the prerelease tests confirm as well. How Windows 7 will work in the wild remains to be seen.

What do you think about Windows 7? Tweet me your opinion!

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