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 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)
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:
- How To Install Windows 7
- How To Find Your Windows 7 Product Key
- How To Start Windows 7 in Safe Mode
- How To Format a Hard Drive in Windows 7
- What To Do if You've Forgotten Your Windows 7 Password
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.