In the graphic below, you’ll find a total of 6 different SKU’s listed for the new Windows 7 family. If you are wondering what makes sense for you, let me help you understand your choices. Let's start at the bottom and work our way up. The Windows 7 Starter SKU is designed for an entry level solutions for systems like the ever popular Netbooks. However, its low price comes with several limitations. If you want a full functioning, feature rich version of Windows 7 for use at home, you need to start with Home Premium.
For those of you coming from the Vista line up, you may remember a Home Basic Product. This product has changed and is now only available in emerging markets outside the US. This is basically a name change between Starter and Home Basic to help the US Consumer better understand the differences between the entry level option. The name Home Basic lead to confusion for the non-techy consumers, so we made the names more distinct so it would reflect the differences in functionality.
Moving up the stack to Windows 7 Professional, this is where you find the first “Business Class” offering of the product line up. If your computer will need to “join a domain” ie. connect to a Windows Server, Small Business Server etc, this is where you should begin. Home Premium will NOT connect to a server.
At the top of the list you find the Ultimate and Enterprise editions. These products include all the functionality of the previous versions, plus additionally functionality including “Bit Locker” and “Bit Locker To Go”. Microsoft’s system encryption solution to protect the mobile worker now extends beyond the laptop to offer protection to USB thumb drives and external USB Hard drives.
To learn more about the differences between each version go to http://www.microsoft.com/windows7