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Windows 7

Important Facts About Microsoft Windows 7

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Windows 7 Professional Boxshot

Windows 7 Professional

© Microsoft

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 7 is preceded by Windows Vista, and succeeded by Windows 8.

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 [Buy: TD | NE | Other]
  • Windows 7 Professional [Buy: TD | NE | Other]
  • Windows 7 Home Premium [Buy: TD | NE | Other]
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Starter
  • Windows 7 Home Basic

Windows 7 Enterprise is designed for large organizations. Windows 7 Starter is only available for preinstallation by computer makers, usually on small form factor or lower end computers. Windows 7 Home Basic is only available in some developing countries.

Windows 7 Home Premium 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.

Except for Windows 7 Starter, all versions of Windows 7 are available in either 32-bit or 64-bit versions.

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.

See Latest Microsoft Windows Service Packs for more information about Windows 7 SP1.

Not sure what service pack you have? See How To Find What Windows 7 Service Pack is Installed for help.

More About Windows 7

Here is some of the more popular content on my site about Windows 7:

You can find many more Windows 7 tutorials on my Windows 7 How-To's, Tutorials, and Walkthroughs page.

While my site focuses on troubleshooting and maintenance of operating systems like Windows 7, we also have a dedicated Windows site here on the About.com network where you can learn how to get the most out your version of Windows.

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