Microsoft Windows 7 Operating System Overview


Windows 7 is the latest release of Microsoft Windows, a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft for use on personal  computers, including home and business Desktops, laptops, notebooks, tablet PCs, and media center PCs. Windows 7 was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009, and reached general retail availability on October 22, 2009, less than three years after the release of its predecessor, Windows Vista.

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) was announced on March 18, 2010 and is currently in development. A beta was released on July 12, 2010.

Minimum hardware requirements for Windows 7


32 bit

65 bit


1 GHz x86 processor

1 GHz x86-64 processor

Memory (RAM)

1 GB

2 GB

Graphics Card

DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM driver model 1.0

(Not absolutely necessary; only required for Aero)

HDD free space

16 GB of free disk space

20 GB of free disk space

Optical drive

DVD drive (only to

install from DVD/CD Media)

Physical memory limits for Windows 7 versions


Limit in 32-bit Windows

Limit in 64-bit Windows

Windows 7 Ultimate

4 GB

192 GB

Windows 7 Enterprise

4 GB

192 GB

Windows 7 Professional

4 GB

192 GB

Windows 7 Home Premium

4 GB

16 GB

Windows 7 Home Basic

4 GB

8 GB

Windows 7 Starter

2 GB

2 GB

Multi-core processor and multiprocessor limits

The maximum total quantity of logical processors in a PC that Windows 7 supports is: 32 for 32-bit, 256 for 64-bit. The maximum quantity of physical processors of a PC that Windows 7 supports is: 2 for Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate; 1 for Starter, Home Basic, and Home Premium.
Windows 7 Editions
Windows 7 is available in six different editions, but only Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate are widely available at retail. The other editions are focused at other markets, such as the developing world or enterprise use. All editions support the 32-bit (IA-32) processor architecture and all editions except Starter support the 64-bit(x86-64) processor architecture (64-bit installation media is not included in Home Basic edition, but can be obtained from Microsoft). You can find reviews about Windows 7 here.
                                 According to Microsoft, the features for all editions of Windows 7 are stored on the machine, regardless of what edition is in use. Users who wish to upgrade to an edition of Windows 7 with more features can then use Windows Anytime Upgrade to purchase the upgrade, and unlock the features of those editions. Microsoft announced Windows 7 pricing information for some editions on June 25, 2009, and Windows Anytime Upgradeand Family Pack pricing on July 31, 2009
  • Windows 7 Starter
  • Windows 7 Home Basi
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
Windows 7 Starter
Windows 7 Starter is the edition of Windows 7 that contains the fewest features. The Windows Aero theme is not included in this version. Windows 7 Starter is only available in a 32-bit version. The desktop wallpaper, and Visual Styles (Windows 7 Basic) are also not user-changeable. Its functions are very limited.
This edition is available pre-installed on computers, especially netbooks, through system integrators or computer manufacturers usingOEM licences.
Windows 7 Home Basic
Windows 7 Home Basic is available in emerging markets such as Argentina, Brazil, the People's Republic of China, Colombia, India,Pakistan, the Philippines, Mexico, Russia, Thailand, and Turkey. It is not available in first world countries including in Western and Central Europe, North America, Hong Kong, Australia and Saudi Arabia. Some Aero options are excluded along with several new features. Home Basic, along with other editions sold in emerging markets, include geographical activation restriction, which requires users to activate Windows within a certain region or country.
Windows 7 Home Premium
This edition contains features aimed at the home market segment, such as Windows Media Center, Windows Aeroand multi-touch support.
Windows 7 Professional
This edition is targeted towards enthusiasts and small-business users. It includes all the features of Windows 7 Home Premium, and adds the ability to participate in a Windows Server domain. Additional features include operating as a Remote Desktop server, location aware printing, Encrypting File System, Presentation Mode, Software Restriction Policies (but not the extra management features of AppLocker) and Windows XP Mode. Like Enterprise, Microsoft will support this edition until 2020.
Windows 7 Enterprise
This edition targets the enterprise segment of the market and is sold through volume licensing to companies which have a Software Assurance contract with Microsoft. Additional features include support for Multilingual User Interface(MUI) packages, BitLocker Drive Encryption, and UNIX application support. Not available through retail or OEM channels, this edition is distributed through Microsoft Software Assurance (SA). As a result it includes several SA-only benefits, including a license allowing the running of multiple virtual machines, and activation via VLK. Like Professional, Microsoft will support this edition until 2020.
Windows 7 Ultimate
Windows 7 Ultimate contains all of the same features as Windows 7 Enterprise, but unlike the Enterprise edition, it is available to home users on an individual license basis. Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional users are able to upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate for a fee using Windows Anytime Upgrade if they wish to do so. Unlike Windows Vista Ultimate, the Windows 7 Ultimate edition does not include the Windows Ultimate Extras feature or any exclusive features as Microsoft had stated. However, even though it is the consumer equivalent to Enterprise, Microsoft will only support Ultimate unt
New and changed features
  • Windows 7 includes a number of new features, such as advances in touch and handwriting recognition, support for virtual hard disks, improved performance on multi-core processors, improved boot performance, Direct Access, and kernel improvements.
  • Many new items have been added to the Control Panel, including Clear Type, Text Tuner, Display Color Calibration Wizard, Gadgets, Recovery, Troubleshooting, Workspaces Center, Location and Other Sensors, Credential Manager, Biometric Devices, System Icons, and Display. Windows Security Center has been renamed to Windows Action Center.
  • Windows 7 also supports images in the RAW image format,
  • The video modes supported in Windows 7 are 16-bit sRGB, 24-bit sRGB, 30-bit sRGB, 30-bit with extended color gamut sRGB, and 48-bit scRGB.
  • Microsoft has also implemented better support for solid-state drives, including the new TRIM command, and Windows 7 is able to identify a solid-state drive uniquely
  • Microsoft is planning to supportUSB 3.0 in a subsequent patch, support not being included in the initial release due to delays in the finalization of the standard.
  • Windows 7 includes Internet Explorer 8 and Windows Media Player 12.
  • Windows 7 includes 13 additional sound schemes, titled Afternoon, Calligraphy, Characters, Cityscape, Delta, Festival, Garden, Heritage, Landscape, Quirky, Raga, Savanna, and Sonata.
  • Windows 7 supports the mounting of a virtual hard disk (VHD) as normal data storage, and the bootloader delivered with Windows 7 can boot the Windows system from a VHD, however, this is only available in the Enterprise and Ultimate editions
  • The Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) of Windows 7 is also enhanced to support real-time multimedia application including video playback and 3D games, thus allowing use of DirectX 10 in remote desktop environments.
Removed features
A number of capabilities and certain programs that were a part of Windows Vista are no longer present or have been changed, resulting in the removal of certain functionalities. These include the classic Start Menu user interface, some taskbar features, Windows Explorer features, Windows Media Player features, Windows Ultimate Extras and InkBall.
         Four applications bundled with Windows Vista - Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Movie Maker, Windows Calendar and Windows Mail - are not included with Windows 7, but applications with mostly similar functionality are instead available for free in a separate package called Windows Live Essentials.