Windows 7 Editions
Windows 7 is available to individuals in four different editions in the United States: Professional, Ultimate, Home Premium, and Starter (Home Basic is only being sold in developing countries while Enterprise is only available to institutional licensees). This University-centric document compares the various editions and offers contextual advice on which editions are appropriate for various University-affiliated user populations.
Comparable to Windows Vista Business and Windows XP Professional, this edition supports domain-based authentication, Encrypting File System (EFS), and Windows XP Mode, all features which both Starter and Home Premium lack. It also includes features such as support for Tablet PC and multi-touch functionality and scheduled backup. In a notable change from Windows Vista Business, Windows 7 Professional includes all the multimedia features (including Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center) available in Windows 7 Home Premium. $300 full retail price/$200 upgrade retail price/$69 University-negotiated Microsoft Select license price for eligible individuals.
This edition is an enhanced version of the Professional edition. It adds a technology called BitLocker that supports encryption of the system volume and also includes support for simultaneous installation of multiple languages and support for UNIX-based applications. $320 full retail price/$220 upgrade retail price/$79 University-negotiated Microsoft Select license price for eligible individuals.
This edition is comparable to Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows XP Home and includes features such as support for support for Tablet PC and multi-touch functionality, Windows Media Player, and Windows Media Center. It also includes some infrastructure-related features such as scheduled backup. Information Systems & Computing (ISC) does not recommend, but will support Home Premium. Home Premium is missing important networking and security features, such as domain-based authentication, that are critical to many Schools and Centers in the University. $200 full retail price/$120 upgrade retail price. There is no reason for an eligible Penn affiliate to purchase or install the full or upgrade version of Windows 7 Home Premium when the University-negotiated Microsoft Select license for Windows 7 Professional is only $69.
This edition is an extremely limited version of Windows. Multi-touch support, Windows Media Player, the Windows Aero visual style, and many other features are not included with this version. ISC will not support Starter. Starter is missing many important networking, maintenance, and security features that are critical to many Schools and Centers at the University.
ISC will initially support the Professional, Ultimate, and Home Premium editions of Windows 7 for its clients, including off-campus students, only on new systems that ship with Windows 7 pre-installed. ISC strongly recommends that all other University users adopt a "wait and see" approach, continuing to use previous versions of Windows (including Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista SP1/SP2) until the initial bugs in Windows 7 are identified and fixed.
ISC views Windows 7 Professional as the best choice for most University constituents. Home Premium and Starter will ship on many consumer-oriented desktops and notebooks that will be purchased by University-affiliated individuals. ISC believes that these devices should be upgraded to Professional.
For More Information
The Windows 7 page offers an overview of the various issues surrounding Windows 7 along with links to related documents.
Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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