Windows 7: Everything You Need To Know

The following article will answer the most important questions about Microsoft’s upcoming operating system Windows 7, basically everything you need to know about Windows 7 to be prepared for the upcoming release. We have decided to create the article in a form that resembles faq pages to make it easier to read.

What’s the current stage of development?

The release candidate will be released publicly in the coming week. It will be available for 1-2 months and expire in mid 2010 giving every user enough time to test if they have the desire to do so.

When will Windows 7 be released?

Microsoft has not revealed a release date for their new operating system yet. Most experts think that it will either be released in the fourth quarter of 2009 or at the latest in the first quarter of 2010.

What are the hardware requirements?

Microsoft has published hardware requirements for Windows 7 Beta. It is expected that the same requirements will be valid for Windows 7 Final. It is generally accepted that computers that are running Windows Vista will be capable of running Windows 7 as well.

windows7 hardware requirements

Which editions of Windows 7 will be released?

Microsoft will release six editions of Windows 7. Not all of them will be made available worldwide though:

Windows 7 Starter – Designed for low end computer systems like netbooks, comes with severe limitations.
Windows 7 Home Basic – Designed for emerging markets only.
Windows 7 Home Premium – Worldwide available, one of the main end user systems that comes with a solid feature set.
Windows 7 Professional – Worldwide available, aimed at small to medium sized businesses, professionals and enthusiasts.
Windows 7 Ultimate – Will only be available online
Windows 7 Enterprise – Same as Windows 7 ultimate but only available to organizations and large companies.

What are the differences between the six Windows 7 editions?

Each version builds up on each other: Windows 7 Starter -> Windows 7 Home Basic -> Windows 7 Home Premium -> Windows 7 Professional -> Windows 7 Ultimate / Enterprise

windows 7 editions

All 32-bit editions will support a maximum of 4 Gigabytes of computer memory. The 64-bit editions will support the following amounts:

Starter / Home Basic: 8GB
Home Premium: 16GB
Professional / Ultimate / Enterprise: 192GB

What are the major changes to previous operating systems like Windows Vista?

Windows 7 feels in many regards like an optimized version of Windows Vista. It runs on the same computer hardware and combines better performance across the board. Some of the major changes are:

  • Improved interface
  • Better performance, i.e. startup times, system load
  • UAC improvements
  • Evolved kernel
  • Virtualization
  • Touch support, hardware sensors
  • New and improved software programs
  • Homegroup networking
  • Better Troubleshooting, Windows Solution Center
  • Better Customization, e.g. custom themes, wallpapers

Will Microsoft provide upgrade opportunities?

Microsoft will provide upgrade opportunities both for Windows XP and Windows Vista users. Free upgrades are provided for users who purchase a computer system with Windows Vista after July 1, 2009. Not all versions are however eligible for the upgrade. Upgrades are only available for systems of the same language and the only allowed upgrade paths are

Windows Vista Home Premium -> Windows 7 Home Premium
Windows Vista Business -> Windows 7 Professional
Windows Vista Ultimate -> Windows 7 Ultimate

There will be no free upgrade for all other versions of Windows Vista that are purchased after July 1.

How are the updates installed?

Windows XP users need to perform a clean install. This is the only way to upgrade to Windows 7 except for the possibility to first upgrade to Windows Vista and then to Windows 7 if copies of both operating systems are available. Windows Vista users can perform the upgrades right away. The upgrade paths are the same as for the free Vista to Windows 7 upgrades.

Windows Vista Home Premium -> Windows 7 Home Premium
Windows Vista Business -> Windows 7 Professional
Windows Vista Ultimate -> Windows 7 Ultimate

Every other combination has to be installed doing a fresh install.

How much will Windows 7 cost?

Microsoft has not revealed any information about the pricing of Windows 7 yet. It is likely that prices will be in the same range of Windows Vista and that the prices for Vista will drop a bit to reflect that. Expected prices will therefor be in the following price ranges.

Windows 7 Home Premium: $100-$150
Windows 7 Professional: $200-$250
Windows 7 Ultimate: $300-$350

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9 Responses to Windows 7: Everything You Need To Know

  1. pm April 28, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    hi martin, can you tell me if microsoft has officially announced that they will give free upgrades to vista users after july 1 or is it just speculation? i need a computer and i want to be able to use win7 as soon as i can, better if i pay only for vista. but if there is no such announcement i may as well go and buy it today.

    • Albert April 30, 2009 at 12:15 am #

      I’m not Martin, but it’s still speculation from TechARP.

  2. Tektel April 28, 2009 at 12:02 pm #

    Hey martin, Microsoft is gearing for Windows 8 , I read it in a blog , any info about that…

  3. Martin April 28, 2009 at 12:08 pm #

    pm Microsoft has released those information only to OEM as far as I know. You can read up on it here

    Tektel not a lot of information available other than that they are hiring developers. Don’t expect an release anytime soon.

  4. smilingman April 28, 2009 at 7:11 pm #

    I would like to see a solid 5 year cycle between each new windows release. This 3 year release was do to how badly Vista was doing in the retail and business market.
    So Windows 8 should be released in 2015, just my opinion.
    Can not wait to get Win7 tho.

    • Albert April 30, 2009 at 12:17 am #

      I think Windows 8 will take longer to release than Windows 7. One because Windows 8 is going to be like a Vista release, a real major release. I don’t care what Microsoft says about Windows 7 being a major release, to them it might be, to me not very much so, but I guess bigger than a minor release and smaller than a major. And two, they HAVE to introduce new features. There hasn’t been much innovation in Vista or 7 in my opinion, or not enough anyway.

      Plus the battle between Mac OS X and Windows is now stronger than ever and makes everything interesting =)

  5. Bigboy April 29, 2009 at 7:26 am #

    what did they mean when they said, Windows 7 Ultimate: Available only online?

    • Martin April 29, 2009 at 9:37 am #

      It means that Microsoft will not push the Ultimate edition as much as the other two editions (Home Premium and Professional)

  6. smilingman April 30, 2009 at 4:52 pm #

    5 years is longer they the current 3 from Vista. I agree it is not a major release, I disagree that Win7 has no innovative features and hope that the next to version are not major release as well.
    They have a good kernel here and all they need to do is optimize it and remove legacy code.
    Do a complete code write with Win10.

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