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Windows® 7 Secrets® by Rafael Rivera, Paul Thurrott

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Chapter 1. Selecting the Right Windows 7 Edition

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.

The Way We Were: XP and Vista Product Editions

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, ...

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