Microsoft Windows 7 is one of the most successful versions of the Windows operating system line ever released.
Windows 7 Release Date
Windows 7 was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009. It was made available to the public on October 22, 2009.
Windows 10 is the latest version of Windows, released on July 29, 2015.
Windows 7 Editions
Six editions of Windows 7 are available, the first three of which below are the only ones available for sale directly to the consumer:
- Windows 7 Ultimate
- Windows 7 Professional
- Windows 7 Home Premium
- Windows 7 Enterprise
- Windows 7 Starter
- Windows 7 Home Basic
Except for Windows 7 Starter, all versions of Windows 7 are available in either 32-bit or 64-bit versions.
While Windows 7 is no longer produced or sold by Microsoft, you can often find copies floating around on Amazon.com or eBay.
The Best Version of Windows 7 For You
Windows 7 Ultimate is the, well, ultimate version of Windows 7, containing all the features available in Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Home Premium, plus BitLocker technology. Windows 7 Ultimate also has the largest language support.
Windows 7 Professional, often referred to as Windows 7 Pro, contains all the features available in Windows 7 Home Premium, plus Windows XP Mode, network backup features, and domain access, making this the right Windows 7 choice for medium and small business owners.
Windows 7 Home Premium is the version of Windows 7 designed for the standard home user, including all the non-business bells and whistles that make Windows 7... well, Windows 7! This tier is also available in a "family pack" that allows installation onto up to three separate computers. Most Windows 7 licenses allow installation onto only one device.
Windows 7 Enterprise is designed for large organizations. Windows 7 Starter is only available for preinstallation by computer makers, usually on netbooks and other small form-factor or lower-end computers. Windows 7 Home Basic is only available in some developing countries.
Windows 7 Minimum Requirements
Windows 7 requires the following hardware, at a minimum:
- CPU: 1 GHz
- RAM: 1 GB (2 GB for 64-bit versions)
- Hard Drive: 16 GB free space (20 GB free for 64-bit versions)
Your graphics card needs to support DirectX 9 if you plan to utilize Aero. Also, if you intend on installing Window 7 using DVD media, your optical drive will need to support DVD discs.
Windows 7 Hardware Limitations
Windows 7 Starter is limited to 2 GB of RAM and 32-bit versions of all other editions of Windows 7 are limited to 4 GB.
Depending on the edition, 64-bit versions of Windows 7 support considerably more memory. Windows 7 Ultimate, Professional, and Enterprise support up to 192 GB, Home Premium 16 GB, and Home Basic 8 GB.
CPU support in Windows 7 is a little more complicated. Windows 7 Enterprise, Ultimate, and Professional support up to 2 physical CPUs while Windows 7 Home Premium, Home Basic, and Starter only support one CPU. However, 32-bit versions of Windows 7 support up to 32 logical processors and 64-bit versions support up to 256.
Windows 7 Service Packs
The most recent service pack for Windows 7 is Service Pack 1 (SP1) which was released on February 9, 2011. An additional "rollup" update, a sort of Windows 7 SP2, was also made available in mid-2016.
More About Windows 7
Here is some of our popular content on Windows 7: