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In India, the cost of different versions:

Ultimate - 11,200 INR
Professional - 10,700 INR
Home Premium - 6,600 INR

The absolute cost of the first two is so high to me that the difference (500 INR) doesn't matter. So to me there is really no choice between the first two - If I decide to buy the Professional version, I'd rather go for Ultimate itself.

What I want to know is, whether Home Premium is enough for my needs.

I tried searching for comparison but many look like just marketing junk from MS. They are short and vague. According to this page, the major differences between Pro and HomePremium are

  1. Run many Windows XP productivity programs in Windows XP Mode.
  2. Connect to company networks easily and more securely with Domain Join.

You can do both in Pro but not in Home Premium.

I intend to use my Windows 7 for a small business - just starting up. So I'll be dealing with the following:

  • All kinds of development tools, servers
  • Very important - I will run Virtual Machine Software (MS VPC or VMWare or Sun VirtualBox etc..)
  • My system will be acting as the server for most purposes till I can afford dedicated servers.
  • Connect the system to a variety of network devices (PCs, Printers, etc..)
  • Run productivity, business and financial apps
  • Any other small software startup business requirement that I haven't thought of yet.

Professional (and Ultimate) is twice as expensive as Home Premium. So it'd be great if someone can point out the things you cannot do with Home Premium, when you use it like I explained above, so that I can make a decision about which one to buy. I need some real-life experiences so that I can make an informed decision - not a decision based on marketing junk.

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Have you thought of running Win Server? That sounds more of what you are looking for. – MrStatic Feb 18 '11 at 3:07
up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you want native RDP access into your machine, then you will need pro or higher as premium only supports RDP out. If remote desktop in is required, then you will need to fallback to a VNC setup.

So essentially the following are only in the elite copies:

  • BitLocker encryption
  • RDP IN capabilities
  • Joining a Domain
  • Native Windows Backup support
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So you cannot use RDP to view/control a machine that has Premium (RDP in). But from a Premium machine, you can RDP and view a higher edition machine (RDP out). am I right? – user57813 Feb 17 '11 at 9:31
@Senthil: Correct. – josh3736 Feb 17 '11 at 14:21

Straight from the horse's mouth (more detailed than the page you linked to). A more detailed view is on the Feature Comparison tab.

Home Premium should be sufficient for your needs, however it doesn't have network backup which is something very useful in a business environment.

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+1 Thanks for the link to the (yet another version of) Microsoft's Windows 7 Editions Comparison page - especially the detailed feature comparison page. I missed it. – user57813 Feb 17 '11 at 7:34
Where MS is concerned, I'm not sure it always comes from the horse's mouth, but some other orifice! You will also need to be aware that there may be legal limitations between the editions as well as technical limitations. – James Feb 17 '11 at 14:34
"Network Backup".. does that mean.. "Standard Windows Backup saving the backup to a network location and the backup being accessible on any computer if needed"? – user57813 Feb 18 '11 at 5:19
@Senthil: Windows 7 Features: Backup and Restore: "If you want to backup to a network location, say on your company's central server, network attached storage, or another computer on your network, you'll need Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate." – Dennis Williamson Feb 18 '11 at 5:36

The WinSuperSite has a really good feature comparison chart detailing many features: check it out here.

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Sounds pretty straight forward,

If you need to share files to more than a couple machines, RDP in, domain or if even one of your required development tools was designed for XP and requires XP mode Pro will have significant benefits.

I run several Servers on either true server hardware or high end workstations. With exception to my media server, running Vista Premium all my other servers run Pro versions as it will handle up to 10 concurrent connections which is sufficient for my needs. I have one 2003 server that acts as DC for my network but otherwise really don't see a need unless you get over the 10 connection limit. Pro/Ultimate should be a good choice for you if you're just starting out.

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MS Virtual PC will only run on Windows 7 Pro/Ultimate. You can obviously use another virtual PC product, but remember that MS VPC comes with a free XP license, which might be worth it if you need to do testing in IE 6. (Or other versions of IE.)

As others have mentioned, you also get RDP hosting (totally worth it; VNC sucks by comparison), BitLocker, domain join, backup, and the ability to switch the operating system's UI language.

Also, it looks like you can save a couple thousand rupees on Ultimate online.

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