1. Computing

Windows 7

Important Facts About Microsoft Windows 7


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.

  1. About.com
  2. Computing
  3. PC Support
  4. How-To's & Tutorials
  5. Windows 7
  6. Windows 7

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.