Windows 7 FAQ
Article by George Norman
On 30 Apr 2009
With Redmond-based software developer Microsoft having put the finishing touched on Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) and releasing it to the masses, the reality of a final version of this operating system is closing in on us. Keep in mind that Windows 7 RC that has been released to TechNet and MSDN subscribers today, the 30th of April, and will be made generally available on the 5th of May, is the only RC that Microsoft plans to bring out. The next version will be Windows 7 RTM (release to manufacturing), not a second RC.

If you have any questions about Windows 7 RC, we’ve already covered the topic here. Now we will focus on more specific details about Windows 7, and the questions you might have regarding the OS.

Will Windows 7 be distributed for free?

Unlike Windows 7 Beta and Windows 7 RC, the software will not be distributed for free. There is talk about Microsoft letting users who have purchased a system with Vista pre-installed on it (after July 1st) upgrade to Windows 7 for free, but we’ll just have to wait and see if this will actually happen.


Will I be able to get Windows 7 for free?
Yes, if you pirate it, which is a course of action we would not advise. Pirated versions will certainly be made available via torrent sites – take Vista SP2 RTM for example and pretty much every build in the Windows 7 development process.

What are the disadvantages of getting a pirated Windows 7 version?

You will be able to get security updates for the OS, but no additional updates (details here).

What are the minimal system requirements for Windows 7?
Processor: 32-bit 800MHz processor
Memory (RAM): 512MB
Graphics card: DirectX 9.0 capable
Graphics memory: 32MB
HDD space: 16GB
Other drives: DVD-ROM
Audio: Audio Output

What are the recommended system requirements for Windows 7?
Processor: 32-bit or 64-bit 1GHz processor
Memory (RAM): 1GB
Graphics card: DirectX 9.0 capable
Graphics memory: 32MB
HDD space: 16GB
Other drives: DVD-ROM
Audio: Audio Output

How many Windows 7 will be released?

Six different versions (details here).

What are the Windows 7 versions that will be released?
Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, and Windows 7 Ultimate. Microsoft has explained its choice of SKU versions here.

Are there any differences between these Windows 7 versions?
Yes, the versions are superset on one another. More details provided here.

How much RAM memory will Windows 7 support?
All 32-bit versions will support up to 4GB of RAM. 64-bit versions on the other hand will support more than that: Starter and Home Basic – 8GB of RAM; Home Premium – 16GB; Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise – 192GB.

When will Windows 7 final be released?

An official date has not been provided. Rumors have it that it will be released late 2009 or early 2010.

Will I be able to upgrade my XP to Windows 7?

No. You will have to perform a fresh installation.

Will I be able to upgrade my Vista to Windows 7?
Yes, an upgrade path will be provided for Widows 7 final. The upgrade is version specific:
Windows Vista Home Premium -> Windows 7 Home Premium
Windows Vista Business -> Windows 7 Professional
Windows Vista Ultimate -> Windows 7 Ultimate

How much will I have to pay for a genuine version of Windows 7?

A detailed pricing strategy has not been provided.

Tags: Microsoft, Windows 7
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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