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Which Edition of Windows 7 Do I Need?

Updated on May 9, 2012

Are you trying to figure out which version of Windows 7 to buy? Microsoft made it easy to determine which version of Windows XP you needed because they only had two versions: Home for home users and Professional for business users. Then with Windows Vista Microsoft decided to break it up into six different versions which does make it quite confusing. Windows 7 still has six product editions so it is quite difficult for the average person to determine which edition of Windows 7 they need.

We will look at the six different editions of Windows 7 and list their price as well as hardware requirements. We will also look at whether you need a 32-bit or 64-bit edition.

Windows 7 Starter

This edition is not available for retail sale. It is bundled with new low end computers such as Netbooks. Microsoft imposes strict requirements for hardware manufacturers to follow so it is rarely used on anything other than Netbooks. This edition is only available in

Windows 7 Home Basic

This edition is not available for retail sale either. It is designed for low-end PCs in emerging markets like India and China.

Windows 7 Home Premium

Windows 7 Home Premium is the edition that over 90% of people should buy. It comes preinstalled on most new computers now that are designed for home use. It is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit editions. The retail price is $199 for the full version and $119 for the upgrade version. If you already have a version of Windows on your computer like Windows XP then you qualify for the upgrade version. Windows 7 Home Premium includes support for the Aero interface which makes your windows have transparent borders and a lot of other nice visual features. Windows 7 Home Premium includes Windows Media Center to help you play a wide variety of multimedia formats (including DVD) and there’s a built-in DVD maker to create DVD movies or for burning files and disk images to CD, DVD, and Blu-ray disks directly from Windows Explorer.

Windows 7 DVD Maker
Windows 7 DVD Maker

Windows 7 Professional

Windows 7 Professional is designed for business users and is available for retail sale. Most consumers should avoid this version because it costs quite a bit more than Home Premium but you do not get much more functionality. It is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit editions. The retail price is $299 for the full version and $199 for the upgrade version.

Windows 7 Enterprise

Windows 7 Enterprise is not available for retail sale. It is only available to business customers with enterprise licensing agreements, typically large corporations. The feature set is the same as Windows 7 Ultimate.

Windows 7 Ultimate

Windows 7 Ultimate has all the available features that Windows 7 has to offer. It is also the most expensive at $319 for the full version and $219 for the upgrade version. The only compelling reason to purchase Windows 7 Ultimate over Home Premium is the drive encryption that is included called Bit Locker. Bit Locker encrypts all the files on your hard drive so that if someone steals your computer they will not be able to read any of your files.

32-Bit or 64-Bit

If you are unsure about what type of hardware your computer has you should go with the 32-bit version because the 32-bit version will work on any computer while the 64-bit version will only work on 64-bit computers. The only advantage the 64-bit offers you is more memory support. 32-bit versions of Windows 7 support 3 GB of RAM which is sufficient for most tasks. If you are into video editing and gaming then you will probably want to get the 64-bit version if your hardware will support it.

Hardware Requirements

  • 1GHz or faster CPU
  • 1GB of RAM for 32-bit, 2GB of RAM for 64-bit
  • 16GB of available hard drive space for 32-bit, 20GB for 64-bit
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver


For the vast majority of people Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade will be the best choice. It offers the features that most people need at a great price.


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    • Shawn Scarborough profile image

      Shawn Scarborough 6 years ago from The Lone Star State

      boyaks0816--there is no Windows 7 Build Edition.

      Awais javed--thanks for your comment.

    • profile image

      Awais javed 6 years ago

      I have upgraded to window 7 ultimate and it has every thing you did not , emotion anything like it contains Make the things you do every day easier with improved desktop navigation,Start programs faster and more easily, and quickly find the documents you use most often,Make your web experience faster, easier and safer than ever with Internet Explorer 8,Watch many of your favorite TV shows for free when and where you want with Internet TV.

      ,Easily create a home network and connect your PCs to a printer with HomeGroup,Run many Windows XP business programs in Windows XP Mode (separate download),Connect to company networks easily and more securely with Domain Join,In addition to full-system Backup and Restore found in all editions, you can back up to a home or business network,Help protect data on your PC and portable storage devices against loss or theft with BitLocker,Work in the language of your choice and switch between any of 35 languages.

    • profile image

      boyaks0816 7 years ago

      is there windows 7 build edition?

    • Shawn Scarborough profile image

      Shawn Scarborough 7 years ago from The Lone Star State

      Robert--thanks for stopping by and commenting. You are right, there should be fewer editions of Windows 7.

    • profile image

      Robert Bowers 7 years ago

      Thank you for explaining the different editions of Windows 7. I think Microsoft should make it simpler by only having 1 or 2 editions.

    • Shawn Scarborough profile image

      Shawn Scarborough 7 years ago from The Lone Star State

      Thanks for stopping by joebeal17.

      Weaver6, your right that Ultimate is a waste of money for most people.

      waynetheman, thanks for visiting.

    • Shawn Scarborough profile image

      Shawn Scarborough 7 years ago from The Lone Star State

      askpowers--thanks for reading my hubs. Glad to hear that Windows 7 is working well for you.

    • profile image

      waynetheman 7 years ago

      I have home premium on my computer. It sounds like I have the right version for me. Great info.

    • weaver6 profile image

      weaver6 7 years ago

      It sounds like Ultimate is a waste of money.

    • profile image

      joebeal17 7 years ago

      This is really helpful. Thanks for sharing this information, now I know which version to get.

    • profile image

      askpowers 7 years ago

      Thanks for sharing such useful information. Well i have windows 7 ultimate edition. I think its running excellent