|Version of Microsoft Windows|
|OS family||Windows NT|
Windows 7 is an operating system developed by Microsoft. It is intended to fix many of the issues users perceived with Windows Vista. Windows 7 has NT kernel version 6.1, making it a minor update to Windows Vista. Windows 7 improved performance on older hardware, while also improving many areas of the Aero user interface. It is one of Microsoft's most popular operating systems, running on 35.63% percent of desktop and laptop computers as of January 2019, and prior to December 2017, more than Windows 10.
- 1 Features
- 2 Editions
- 3 Builds
Windows 7 includes few major new features but does include mountains of enhancements over previous Windows releases.
Features added in Windows 7
- Windows 7 added a Show Desktop button to the far right of the Taskbar (note: this feature was first introduced in early builds of Memphis (Windows 98) and NT 5.0 (Windows 2000), but was removed during development in both cases).
- Windows 7 introduced Aero Peek, which allows you to "peek" at your desktop without actually minimizing your applications.
- Windows 7 introduced the Superbar, an evolution of the Taskbar.
- Windows 7 added the ribbon to many of its stock applications, although not to Windows Explorer itself.
- Windows 7 includes Internet Explorer 8 and Windows Media Player 12 by default.
- Windows 7 introduced Libraries (note: this feature was first introduced in Milestone 5-7 of Longhorn, but was removed after the development reset)
- It's now possible to add gadgets all over the desktop.
Features degraded or removed in Windows 7
- Windows 7 introduced a simplified version of Windows Explorer, which cut underused features from the operating system. Needless to say, many of those features were sorely missed by those who did use them.
- The Quick Launch bar was disabled by default in Windows 7 since the Superbar provides that functionality. It can be re-enabled by manually creating a "Quick Launch" toolbar.
- The classic style start menu was completely removed; the reason for this is unknown.
- The Sidebar was dropped in favor of desktop gadgets.
Windows 7 is shipped in the following SKUs:
- Starter is a low-end edition available only through OEMs, who usually preinstalled it on netbooks, tablets and cheap laptops. It does not include the Windows Aero theme and doesn't support changing the desktop wallpaper and visual styles. Supports 2 GB of RAM at most and comes in x86 version only.
- Home Basic is available in emerging markets, such as India, Mexico, Brasil and others. It includes the Aero theme, but some of its features are disabled. This edition came in x86 and x64 versions.
- Home Premium is a standard edition aimed at the home customer segment and is most commonly preinstalled on new computers and laptops. It includes the fully featured Aero theme and Windows Media Center.
- Professional replaced Vista's Business edition and includes all features of Home Premium. It adds the ability to join a domain and other features commonly used in business environment. Supports activation over a KMS server.
- Ultimate and Enterprise are the top-level editions of Windows 7. The only difference between the two is that Ultimate is available via OEM and retail channels and is activated only by WPA, however, Enterprise is only offered through Software Assurance and support activation over a KMS server. Additional features include MUI support.
All of the above editions are offered in N (Europe) and KN variants without Windows Media Player. An E variant was also planned, which would also remove Internet Explorer, but in the end the variant was not released and the ballot screen was introduced as a replacement to satisfy European Union's demands. Some leaked builds leading up to the RTM are available in this variant.