I understand why there is a Windows 7 Starter version. Offering a stripped-down version of the operating system to run lean and mean on low-end netbook computers is a brilliant strategic move. The full-blown Windows is too bloated for netbooks, but providing the Starter version still keeps customers engaged with Windows and may help prevent any mass exodus to Ubuntu, or the much-hyped Google Chrome OS.
My understanding of Windows 7 versions ends there though. As far as I am concerned, all of the other versions–Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise–should all be scrapped and the only version of Windows 7 that Microsoft should offer is Windows 7 Ultimate.
The majority of home users are still using Windows XP and could benefit from XP Mode virtualization, but its not available in WIndows 7 Home Premium. Small and medium businesses can use features like DirectAccess and Branch Cache as much as their larger corporate competitors, but Microsoft doesn’t include those features in Windows 7 Professional.
Users have told me that my advice is impractical because Windows 7 Ultimate is cost-prohibitive for many users. I understand that. I don’t fault the users for not investing in Windows 7 Ultimate (although if you can, you should). I fault Microsoft for not just narrowing the options and providing all users with access to the complete Windows 7 feature set.