Brien Posey's Windows Blog

Apr 23 2009   2:14AM GMT

Windows 7 Starter Edition

Brien Posey Brien Posey Profile: Brien Posey

In a slow economy, it is no surprise that netbooks are really starting to become popular. These low end laptops are small in size, and typically sell for around $300.

One of the problems with first generation netbooks though, was that they usually came with a Linux operating system. Manufacturers did this as a way of keeping netbook prices low, and also because first generation netbooks lacked the power to run Windows Vista.

Since Microsoft didn’t want to lose out on the entire netbook market, they have licensed Windows XP for use on netbooks. Using Vista still wasn’t an option, but because of improvements in the hardware and more efficient software, netbook users will be able to run Windows 7 when it is released.

Microsoft has created a low budget version of Windows 7 that they are calling Windows 7 Starter Edition. Netbook manufacturers can license this version of Windows 7 for about fifteen bucks. So what’s the catch? Windows 7 Starter Edition can only open three applications at once, regardless of what the hardware is actually capable of.

At first this probably sounds like a deal breaker. I sure wouldn’t buy a copy of Windows that only allowed me to run three applications at a time. Things are not as bad as they seem though. Just because you can only run three applications at a time doesn’t mean that you can only open three windows at a time. Microsoft also has a very easy going definition of what constitutes an application.

What this means is that things like control panel applets, anti virus software, system services, and Windows Explorer are not usually considered to be applications, and hence do not count against the number of applications that you have open. Furthermore, you are allowed to open multiple instances of an application. There is nothing stopping you for example, from opening a bunch of different copies of Internet Explorer all at the same time.

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