Microsoft never ceases to annoy me when it comes to their marketing machine. For instance, rather than release just Windows 7, they decided to release a total of six different editions of Windows 7.
Apart from being annoying from a financial standpoint, it can also be confusing when trying to figure out which Windows 7 edition is right for you. Sure, the easiest thing would be just to go all out and buy the big bad Windows Ultimate edition. However, what is it you’re getting for Ultimate Vs. Home Premium or Pro? Is the $$$ worth it? Luckily for you, I have the answer!
As I mentioned earlier, Microsoft released a total of six Windows 7 editions. However, of the six, only three are worth discussing: Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate. Enterprise edition and Ultimate edition are the same things; Enterprise is just designed for corporate use while Ultimate remains for the home user. Take a look at the chart below for some feature comparison between editions.
Keep in mind that if you are upgrading from Vista, Microsoft cuts close to $100 off the price tag regardless which edition.
|Home Premium||Professional||Enterprise / Ultimate|
|Maximum physical memory (64-bit mode)||16 GB||192 GB||192 GB|
|Maximum physical CPUs supported||1||2||2|
|Backup and Restore Center||No Network Sprt||Yes||Yes|
|Remote Desktop (Client and Host)||Client Only||Yes||Yes|
|Encrypting File System||No||Yes||Yes|
|Location Aware Printing||No||Yes||Yes|
|Windows Server domain joining||No||Yes||Yes|
|Windows XP Mode||No||Yes||Yes|
|Software Restriction Policies||No||Yes||Yes|
|Local Group Policy||No||Yes||Yes|
|Aero glass remote||No||No||Yes|
|Windows Media Player multimedia redirection||No||No||Yes|
|Audio recording over Terminal Services||No||No||Yes|
|Multi-display Terminal Services||No||No||Yes|
|BitLocker Drive Encryption||No||No||Yes|
|BranchCache Distributed Cache||No||No||Yes|
|Subsystem for Unix-based Applications||No||No||Yes|
|Multilingual User Interface Pack||No||No||Yes|
|Virtual Hard Disk Booting||No||No||Yes|
After a thorough examination of the differences in features, I would suggest Windows 7 Ultimate. The price difference is only $20 more, and you have to consider that this is your Operating System, not just an infrequently used “flunky program.” Skip a few lattes next week and take the plunge.