With Windows 7
, Microsoft is no longer referring to the business edition of the platform as, well, Business. This because the Professional SKU has made a comeback from the pre-Windows Vista era, putting at an end Microsoft’s flirt with the Business edition of its Windows client. Chances are that if you did buy and use Window Vista Business, you did so on a work computer rather than on a home machine. The reason is simple enough, and it was related to the set of features that the Redmond-based company thought was perfectly tailored to business users. One of the mistakes Microsoft made with Windows Vista was to attempt to impose its own reference point on what business users need as opposite to what they want. Not to worry, it’s been corrected in Windows 7.
The unfortunate decision to limit the home user-oriented features in Vista Business was not repeated in Windows 7 Professional. In fact, from the get go, Microsoft emphasized that Windows 7 editions would be superseding each other. The Professional SKU contains the complete feature set of the Home Premium edition plus additions designed specifically for businesses.
Here is how Microsoft describes Windows 7 Professional, “With Windows 7 Professional, fewer walls stand between you and your success. You can run many Windows XP productivity programs in Windows XP Mode and recover data easily with automatic backups to your home or business network. You can also connect to company networks effortlessly and more securely with Domain Join. With all the exciting entertainment features of Windows Home Premium, it’s a great choice for home and for business.”
Did you miss Windows Media Center in Vista Business? This won’t happen with Windows 7 Professional. But if you want all the premium games enabled, you’ll have to tinker with the default configuration, and turn the Windows 7 Professional casual gaming content on, just as in Vista Business. Windows 7 RTM Professional installation
Te deployment process of Windows 7 editions is extremely similar from SKU to SKU. The general user experience is the same, and it has pretty much been kept within the same lines since before RTM. The only “variables” involve information displayed for the specific edition users are installing, but otherwise, deploying the high end Ultimate or the low end Starter editions looks and feels pretty much the same. Windows 7 Professional makes no exception to this rule. Below, you will be able to find screenshots of the installation process, step by step. Windows 7 RTM Professional
Windows 7 RTM Professional is without a doubt the most complete edition of the operating system with the exception of Ultimate/Enterprise
. Because of the added features, don’t expect Professional to be any sort of bargain, and you won’t be disappointed. The full box retail edition of Professional costs $299.99, just $20 less than Ultimate. The upgrade variant of the SKU comes with a price tag of $199.99, also only $20 cheaper than the high end Windows 7 edition.
The real question is if it’s worth the price difference compared to Home Premium, $100 for the retail version and $80 for the upgrade flavor. The answer depends on whether you need business specific features or not. Want an operating system that can be controlled remotely, that automatically backs up data over a network, and that has an intimate connection with your printer? Then you have to buy Professional. Don’t even know what automatic data back up over a network implies? Then Home Premium is for you.
Just as Home Premium
, Windows 7 Professional comes with full Windows Aero, and the associated customization options, support for Multi-Touch, a tad more advanced Windows Mobility Center though, and even Windows Media Center. It is, of course, the business features that make the difference. Such as the ability to quickly identify the right printer. Professional comes with support for Location Aware Printing. Computers running this SKU of Windows 7 are designed to make it an effortless task to locate a specific printer in the office, or at home.
And there’s also support for Active Directory-based domains, a capability that allows Windows 7 Professional to Connect to multiple PCs, even in the absence of a server. The Professional SKU can “Domain Join” computers over a domain network. Of course, I also mentioned that Windows 7 Professional is capable of automatically backing up your files. The backups created can be stored on an external hard drive, another hard drive, removable media such as DVDs, or to a network location.
And last but not least, there’s also Windows XP Mode. All Windows 7
Professional copies come with the right for end users to run Windows XP Mode, a free and activated copy of Windows XP SP3 virtualized in a Windows Virtual PC machine. Microsoft has integrated XP Mode deep into Windows 7, allowing customers to run various programs that are designed exclusively for Windows XP right from the Windows 7 desktop.
There are a few features that separate Professional from Ultimate. Only the high-end SKU of Windows 7 offers AppLocker, BitLocker Drive Encryption, BranchCache, DirectAccess, Subsystems for UNIX-based applications, Multilingual User Interface Packs and Virtual Hard Disk booting. Worth an extra $20? I actually think that it does. Windows 7 RTM Starter Edition, 100-Screenshot GalleryWindows 7 RTM Home Basic 110-Screenshot Gallery Windows 7 RTM Home Premium 120-Screenshot Gallery