In This Chapter
Basic differences between the Windows 7 product editions
Which Windows 7 product editions you can safely avoid
Differences between the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7
Determining the best Windows 7 for you
Choosing between the home and business versions
Choosing between Windows 7 Home Premium and Professional
Features available in all Windows 7 versions
Choosing Windows 7 Ultimate
If you haven't purchased Windows 7 yet—or you'd like to know whether or not it's worth upgrading from the version you do have to a more capable version—this chapter is for you. Here, we'll explain the differences between the many Windows 7 product editions and help you pick the version that makes the most sense for you.
Back in 2001, life was easy: Microsoft released Windows XP in just two product editions, Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional Edition. The difference between the products was fairly obvious, and with its enhanced feature set, XP Pro was the more expensive and desirable version, as one might expect.
Over time, however, Microsoft muddied the waters with a wealth of new XP product editions. Three major product editions were added: Windows XP Media Center Edition (which received three major releases and one minor update between 2002 and 2005), Windows XP Tablet PC Edition (which received two major releases between 2002 and 2005), and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, ...