Microsoft Windows 7

Everything you need to know about Microsoft Windows 7

Microsoft Windows 7 was one of the most successful versions of the Windows operating system line ever released.

As of January 2020, Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows 7. We recommend upgrading to Windows 10 to continue receiving security updates and technical support.

Windows 7 Release Date

Windows 7 was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009. It was made available to the public on October 22, 2009.

Windows 7 is preceded by Windows Vista, and succeeded by Windows 8.

Windows 10 is the latest version of Windows, released on July 29, 2015.

Windows 7 Support

The Windows 7 end-of-life was on January 14, 2020. This was when Microsoft discontinued technical support and quit supplying Windows 7 users with software updates and security fixes through Windows Update.

On January 14, 2020, Microsoft also ended support for the following for Windows 7 users:

  • Internet Explorer
  • Games like Internet Checkers and Internet Backgammon
  • Microsoft Security Essentials platform (signature updates remain)

Although Windows 7 has been discontinued, it can still be activated and installed on new computers. If you're an Microsoft 365 user, Microsoft will continue to provide security updates for Microsoft 365 until January 2023, but not feature updates.

Microsoft recommends upgrading to Windows 10 to continue getting security and feature updates for Windows.

Windows 7 Editions

Man carrying retail boxes of Windows 7
Oli Scarff / Getty Images

Six editions of Windows 7 were available, the first three of which below were the only ones available for sale directly to the consumer:

  • Windows 7 Ultimate  
  • Windows 7 Professional 
  • Windows 7 Home Premium  
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Starter
  • Windows 7 Home Basic

Except for Windows 7 Starter, all versions of Windows 7 were available in either 32-bit or 64-bit versions.

While Windows 7 is no longer supported, produced, or sold by Microsoft, you can still find copies floating around on Amazon.com or eBay.

The Best Version of Windows 7 For You

Windows 7 Ultimate is the, well, ultimate version of Windows 7, containing all the features available in Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Home Premium, plus BitLocker technology. Windows 7 Ultimate also has the largest language support.

Windows 7 Professional, often referred to as Windows 7 Pro, contains all the features available in Windows 7 Home Premium, plus Windows XP Mode, network backup features, and domain access, making this the right Windows 7 choice for medium and small business owners.

Windows 7 Home Premium is the version of Windows 7 designed for the standard home user, including all the non-business bells and whistles that make Windows 7... well, Windows 7! This tier is also available in a "family pack" that allows installation on up to three separate computers. Most Windows 7 licenses allow installation onto only one device.

Windows 7 Enterprise is designed for large organizations. Windows 7 Starter is only available for pre-installation by computer makers, usually on netbooks and other small form-factor or lower-end computers. Windows 7 Home Basic is only available in some developing countries.

Windows 7 Minimum Requirements

Windows 7 requires the following hardware, at a minimum:

  • CPU: 1 GHz
  • RAM: 1 GB (2 GB for 64-bit versions)
  • Hard Drive: 16 GB free space (20 GB free for 64-bit versions)

Your graphics card needs to support DirectX 9 if you plan to utilize Aero. Also, if you intend on installing Window 7 using DVD media, your optical drive will need to support DVD discs.

Windows 7 Hardware Limitations

Windows 7 Starter is limited to 2 GB of RAM and 32-bit versions of all other editions of Windows 7 are limited to 4 GB.

Depending on the edition, 64-bit versions of Windows 7 support considerably more memory. Windows 7 Ultimate, Professional, and Enterprise support up to 192 GB, Home Premium 16 GB, and Home Basic 8 GB.

CPU support in Windows 7 is a little more complicated. Windows 7 Enterprise, Ultimate, and Professional support up to 2 physical CPUs while Windows 7 Home Premium, Home Basic, and Starter only support one CPU. However, 32-bit versions of Windows 7 support up to 32 logical processors and 64-bit versions support up to 256.

Windows 7 Service Packs

The most recent service pack for Windows 7 is Service Pack 1 (SP1) which was released on February 9, 2011. An additional "rollup" update, a sort of Windows 7 SP2, was also made available in mid-2016.

See Latest Microsoft Windows Service Packs for more information about Windows 7 SP1 and the Windows 7 Convenience Rollup.

The initial release of Windows 7 has the version number 6.1.7600.

More About Windows 7

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