Global IT Rollouts

Compare Features & Cost of Windows 7 Editions Before Your Upgrade

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For a while now, Windows client operating systems have come in a variety of editions. To me it seems like they’ve had Home, Professional, Premium, Enterprise, Ultimate, Fantastic, Outstanding, and any other adjective that they decide to come up with. With all of these editions of Windows for workstations, which ones are available for Windows 7, and more importantly, which is the right one for your organization?

The two most basic factors to take into consideration would be features and cost. Let’s start by considering the 4 main editions of Windows 7 and the difference in features.

The 4 main editions of Windows 7 that we will compare are Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate. (I say main editions because there is also Starter edition, which is limited in features and is designed for netbooks)

As far as the difference in features, rather than tell you what each edition has, it will be much easier to tell you what the lesser editions do not have. So starting with the edition that has the most features…

1)     Ultimate: as the name implies, does everything.

2)     Enterprise: does everything Ultimate does except for the following:

  • AppLocker – Lets IT control what applications users can run
  • DirectAccess – Keeps mobile users connected on the go
  • BranchCache – Allows for faster file access at remote branches
  • Enterprise Search Scopes – Allows IT to index network drives for faster searches

Note: Enterprise is only sold through volume licensing to companies that have a Software Assurance contract with Microsoft.

3)     Professional: does everything Enterprise does except for:

  • Multiple User Interface Language Packs – To support multi-language environments
  • BitLocker Drive Encryption – To protect your data from loss or theft

4)     Home Premium: does everything Professional does except for:

  • Support for joining domains
  • Location Aware Printing
  • Remote Desktop Connection
  • Windows XP Mode
  • Advanced Backup and Restore
  • Group Policy Controls
  • Encrypting File System
  • Offline Folders

When considering these features, evaluate the usability of each one. Ask yourself these 4 important questions:

1)     A feature may be desirable, but what are the chances that an average user in your organization would actually use it?

2)     If the feature would realistically not be used, can you justify purchasing it?

3)     Obviously another factor to consider would involve forecasting and planning. Are any projects coming down the pike that require a particular feature?

4)     Also consider the frequency with which your organization deploys OS’s. Do you implement every version of a client OS, or do you skip a version? (For example, did you deploy Vista?) If you think it is possible for you to skip the next OS, you may need added features in this OS so as to get more “mileage” out of it. This is because the longer you keep an OS the harder it is to predict the demands you will have down the road.

Another factor to consider is firewalls. Check out: What is the difference between Windows XP and Windows 7 Firewall?

Now let’s talk cost. The list prices for these OS editions are as follows:

  • Home Premium – $119.99
  • Professional – $199.99
  • Enterprise – Requires an SA agreement with Microsoft
  • Ultimate – $219.99

Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t necessarily have to purchase just one edition for your whole company. Many corporations purchase a combination of these editions to meet the specific needs of their users.

As we can see above, this operating system (OS), as is the case with all Microsoft OS’s, is far from free. So when considering which Windows 7 edition to purchase, knowledge of your organization may be the single most important factor in making a cost effective decision that will stand the test of time.

If you are planning a software upgrade and would like expert consulting to make sure you choose the best edition for your organization contact us at Global IT Rollouts.

By Global IT Rollouts, New York company specializing in IT Rollouts, system migrations, and PC/Server/Networking upgrades across the globe.

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