Windows 7 Home Basic is a Windows 7 edition that is not available worldwide. It has been specifically created by Microsoft to be sold in emerging markets. Its feature set is superior to the Windows 7 Starter edition. The features that it comes with are the following:
- Concurrent Applications Unlimited
- 32-bit and 64-bit mode support
- Home Group Join Only
- Windows Internet Explorer 8
- Windows Media Player 12
- Desktop Window Manager
- Windows Mobility Center
- Windows Aero Partial
The most apparent differences are that it does not come with the concurrent application limit. Other advantages are 64-bit support and the inclusion of the Desktop Window Manager, Windows Mobility Center and partial support for Windows Aero.
Most users won’t really see lots of differences between Home Basic and Premium, should they run the operating systems side by side. The reason is simply: Differences are scarce. The Homegroup feature might be one of the things that some users may want to have in their operating system. Windows 7 Home Basic users can only join homegroups, but they cannot create them which is a severe disadvantage in a household network for instance.
The remaining features depend on the use of the system. Premium games might be nice for some, and unimportant to others. Especially since there are so many free alternatives available on the Internet.
Windows Media Center can be replaced with a in many regards superior media player such as VLC or MPlayer.
Aero “beautifies” the desktop, that is usually not really needed to work with the operating system.
The main problem however is availability of Home Basic. It is not sold by retailers in countries like the United States. While you can find Windows 7 Home Basic on eBay, Craigslist and other marketplaces, they usually come at a price point that would get you a Home Premium or even Professional Systems Builder version or upgrade.
Windows 7 Home Premium
Windows 7 Home Premium is the edition of Windows 7 that is next in line. It contains all the features of both the Starter and Home Basic edition but gets rid of all the limitations these offer. The additional feature set includes:
- Home Group Join and Create
- Full Windows Aero support.
- Home Group (Create & Join)
- Premium Games
- Windows Media Center
Windows 7 Professional
Windows 7 Professional has been designed for small and medium sized businesses as well as professionals and enthusiasts. It includes all of the features of the Home Premium edition of Windows 7 plus the following additional features:
- Windows Server Domain support.
- Remote Desktop Server support.
- Location aware printing.
- Encrypting the file system
- Presentation mode
Windows 7 Ultimate / Windows 7 Enterprise
Current plans indicate that Microsoft will only sell Windows 7 Ultimate online (for example by offering upgrades from other Windows 7 editions). Windows 7 Enterprise has the same feature set as Windows 7 Ultimate. The only difference is that the Enterprise edition is reserved for large companies.
- BitLocker Drive Encryption
- BranchCache Distributed Cache
- Multilingual User Interface Pack
- Virtual Hard Disk Booting
A full overview of all Windows 7 editions, their features and differences is available at our Windows 7 Features page.