Microsoft Windows 7 was released in 2010 as an upgrade and replacement for the Vista version of the Windows operating system. Windows 7 is available as a bare-bones introductory distribution, called Windows 7 Starter, and it is also distributed in a Premium, Professional and Ultimate edition. The Premium and Professional editions of Windows 7 are similar in many ways, with only a few key differences to distinguish them.
Differences in Price
The additional options provided by Windows 7 Premium come with a higher price tag. Microsoft launched the two versions of Windows 7 with an $80 difference in the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. An upgrade to Windows 7 Premium from an earlier version of Windows sold for $119 on its initial release. The Windows 7 Professional upgrade sold for $199.
Additional Networking Features
Windows 7 Professional caters to business applications, with an eye toward accommodating professionals who will work from both home and an office location. With Location Aware Printing, Windows 7 logs the networks and printers you use from various locations. When you print from a location, Windows remembers your preferences and automatically switches the default printer for you whenever you print from that location in the future. Group Policy Controls help local network administrators to control policy for selected users and groups, and they are only available in the Professional edition. The Remote Desktop Host feature, which allows connections from outside computers, is not available on Windows 7 Premium.
Additional Backup and Security Features
Advanced Back-Up allows you to change your computer’s default backup settings. In Windows 7 Premium, if you expand the computer container you can designate which types of files and folders Windows includes when it backs up your important data. This option is not available in Windows 7 Premium. Windows 7 Professional also utilizes an encrypting file system for added security.