Microsoft Makes Windows 7 Even More Attractive to Netbook Users

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-05-30 Print this article Print

Microsoft has freed up its Windows 7 Starter operating system to enable users to do more with the software than the company initially allowed, such as run more than three applications simultaneously.

Microsoft has freed up its Windows 7 Starter edition operating system to enable users to do more with the software than the company initially allowed, such as run more than three applications simultaneously.

Windows 7 Starter edition is an attractive destination for netbook users, and Microsoft would like to tap that opportunity. However, the Starter version is not the only edition of Windows 7 that is effective on netbooks, the company said.

In a blog post on the issue, Brandon LeBlanc, a Windows communications manager at Microsoft, said that when Microsoft introduced Starter editions of Windows-first with Windows XP and then with Windows Vista-there were certain limitations imposed, "such as being able to run only 3 concurrent applications on a PC at a time (this excludes background processes such as anti-virus applications, wireless and Bluetooth, and system tools like Explorer and Control Panel)."

However, based on reactions from Microsoft partners and customers, the company has "decided to make some changes compared to previous Starter editions," LeBlanc said.

Detailing some of the changes, LeBlanc said:

"For the first time, we will be making Windows 7 Starter available worldwide on small notebook PCs. We are also going to enable Windows 7 Starter customers the ability to run as many applications simultaneously as they would like, instead of being constricted to the 3 application limit that the previous Starter editions included.

"We believe these changes will make Windows 7 Starter an even more attractive option for customers who want a small notebook PC for very basic tasks, like browsing the web, checking email and personal productivity."

LeBlanc noted that all editions of Windows 7 have been optimized to run on "the broadest range of hardware ranging from small notebook PCs all the way up to high end gaming machines." Moreover, "Windows 7 Starter should not be considered 'the netbook SKU' as most machines in this category can run any edition of Windows 7," LeBlanc said. "Many of our beta users have installed Windows 7 Ultimate on their small notebook PCs and have given us very positive feedback on their experience."

However, LeBlanc said it is important to note that Windows 7 Starter still includes only a subset of the features offered in the higher editions of Windows 7 such as Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional and above.

According to LeBlanc, the following is a list of things Windows 7 Starter does not include:

  • 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 colors 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 who want the ability to run older Windows XP programs on Windows 7.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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