What is Windows 7 Starter Edition?

Most people who know about Windows 7 know that there are three primary editions – Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate – to choose from. But did you know there’s a fourth edition, known as Windows 7 Starter? It’s not well known yet, but as people explore Windows 7, we’re getting more questions from clients about whether this edition is for them.

For Netbooks Only!
The most important thing to know is that Windows 7 Starter edition is exclusively for use on netbook computers. You can’t get it on a standard PC (nor would you want it, in most cases.) It is currently offered on a number of netbooks, including the Samsung Samsung N210 10.1″ Netbook and the Gigabyte Atom Series Booktop M1022C to name just two.

What Doesn’t it Have?
Windows 7 Starter is a significantly stripped-down version of Windows 7. Here’s some of what it’s missing, courtesy of a Microsoft blog posting:

  • Aero Glass, meaning you can only use the “Windows Basic” or other opaque themes. It also means you do not get Taskbar Previews or Aero Peek.
  • Personalization features for changing desktop backgrounds, window colours, or sound schemes.
  • The ability to switch between users without having to log off.
  • Multi-monitor support.
  • DVD playback.
  • Windows Media Center for watching recorded TV or other media.
  • Remote Media Streaming for streaming your music, videos, and recorded TV from your home computer.
  • Domain support for business customers.
  • XP Mode for those that want the ability to run older Windows XP programs on Windows 7.

One feature that will be most missed by most people is the ability to change your desktop look and feel. Don’t like the background you get? Sorry for you; you have to live with. Did you also notice that you also can’t watch DVDs? In most cases your Netbook doesn’t come with a Optical drive anyway so it is something you’d expect. So if you can live without those features and want the stability and strong performance of Windows 7 on your netbook, it’s an option worth considering.

Upgrade Options?
Also, think about upgrading that netbook to a regular version of Windows 7. One thing the Microsoft blogger referenced earlier is the ability to run a non-Starter version of Windows 7 on a netbook. It is a good choice, if you have the money to upgrade. But be sure to check out the netbook’s system specs and compare it to Windows 7’s system requirements. Also think about upgrading the memory at the same time. If your Netbook can run it, we would recommend upgrading – since even Windows 7 Home Premium is a huge improvement over Windows 7 Starter and Windows XP for that matter.

Is Windows 7 Starter Edition a Good Option?
Windows 7 Starter is very limited, we are not disputing that. But, if you are performing all the usual functions on your netbook, which normally revolves around surfing the Internet, checking email and the like, it will do the job just fine. If you don’t like the limited functions of Windows 7 and want your Operating System to be able to do more, then upgrade to a regular version of Windows 7 or consider moving up to a non-netbook laptop. All laptops have come down a lot in price, and with models ranging is sizes from 11.1”, 12”1, 13.3” and even 14.1” offering you a smaller size option and less weight, you’ll be getting more for your money than ever before.


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