With its introduction of the Windows 7 operating system on Oct. 22, 2009, Microsoft Corp. offered six editions, including the Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate versions. The Professional edition is recommended for small business users, while the Enterprise edition is better suited for mid- to large-sized businesses. The Ultimate edition is on the same level as Enterprise, the only difference being that Microsoft restricts sale of the latter to licensed enterprise users; the former is available for retail.
Just like its consumer-oriented Starter, Home Basic and Home Premium siblings, the Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise versions of Windows 7 have certain basic features. These include applications and productivity tools such as WordPad, Paint and calculator; search bars and task bars; troubleshooting and repair tools such as Startup Repair and System Restore, and the Internet Explorer Web browser (IE8). Microsoft, however, also provides the Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise editions with the ability to perform functions such as menu display and to offer Help topics in 35 languages.
Each Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise operating system has a backup and restore feature, Windows Firewall and Windows Defender for protection against harmful agents such as viruses and malware, user account control for exclusive access to computer system settings, and Credential Manager for storing data such as user names and passwords for access to websites and other systems. Microsoft adds BitLocker to the Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise editions. It is a feature that protects the data stored in the hard drive of a computer system from loss or theft by encrypting it, which means it is transformed into code understandable only by authorized users.
For specific professionals, particularly those working in the information technology departments of companies, Windows 7 Professional offers the ability to access files even when the user is not connected to the network and a Group Policy Management interface as an arm of company administration. The Ultimate and Enterprise editions of Windows 7 add several other features, which include AppLocker for IT professionals to control the applications that employees can use, BranchCache to speed up file access and DirectAccess to connect mobile users.
The Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise operating systems have the 12th iteration of the Windows Media Player application -- or Windows Media Player 12 -- which customers use to play music, videos and other digital content. It is one of the features of the included home-entertainment hub called the Windows Media Center, which provides features such as Internet television, photo gallery, high-definition TV show recording and podcasting. Also included are Play To and Remote Media Streaming for enhanced streaming of content; and multiplayer games such as Internet Checkers, Internet Spades and Internet Backgammon.