Hasn’t Microsoft Learned Anything?

Sometimes, it is pretty difficult to figure out what versions of Vista there are. At it’s release, there was no less than 5 versions.

  • Home Basic
  • Home Premium
  • Professional
  • Enterprise
  • Ultimate

Now, you couldn’t buy the Enterprise, unless you were a high end “enterprise customer,” in which the only version you could buy was Enterprise.

As time went by, this plethora of versions just weren’t confusing enough. I have tracked down 4 retail versions from
Microsoft’s comparison page for editions, the Enterprise edition s tucked away at their Enterprise Edition page, then there is the Starter version (which I like to call Vista Celeron), and then two “N” editions which lack media software. Add that up, and you get 8 versions.

Now, you would think that after all of the hell Microsoft has gone through in the release of Vista, and the overall rejection it has received, that they would have learned some lessons.

You would be wrong. It seems that Windows 7 is going to be coming out in 6 different versions.

That’s right, 6 versions. So, let me try to put together a comparison chart.

Don’t mind the really long gap here, I can not figure out what the heck wordpress is doing to this!

XP VersionVista Version7 Version
Home EditionHome BasicHome Basic
Media Center EditionHome PremiumHome Premium
64-bit Professional
Tablet PC
Home Basic N
Business N

I have pulled some info for this from this post by Ed Bott, Microsoft’s retail list, Microsoft’s Vista Starter page, Microsoft’s Enterprise page, Microsoft’s Vista N page, Microsoft’s XP vs Vista page, and the article about about the 6 versions of 7.

OK, so let’s go down the list and make some notes.

First off is Starter edition, which is only for emerging markets, so you really can’t buy it anywhere but a few markets. While it makes sense for Microsoft to mention it, since they already have starter versions, the entire idea of a starter version is fairly inane. That is probably why it was some time before XP Starter came about.

Then there is the Home Basic version. While this is often given as the equivalent to XP Home Edition, I don’t feel that is an accurate assessment. This is a stripped down version, and doesn’t deliver what people were/are being offered. There is an entire lawsuit about that going on right now with respect to Vista’s Home Basic version.

There is Home Premium and XP Media Center. Honestly, Premium should be in line with XP Home, while Media Center is/was a version for media applications only. I could understand if there was a Vista/7 Media Center edition, but Premium is what most people are expecting when they buy a home computer (if not professional).

So far, we have two home versions of Vista and 7, which should be a warning sign right there.

Now we have Professional. This had a name change to Business for Vista, but is back again. While XP did have a 64 bit version of this, it is not directly comparable to anything, since it was supposed to be the successor to XP Professional anyways. This should be the top of the line, but wait, there’s more.

XP Professional 64-bit. The follow-up to XP Pro with 64-bit built it. The only reason that it is considered as a separate version is because there were, and still are, a number of incompatibilities between the two. However, this was still a successor to XP Pro.

Tablet PC. This is a specialized version of XP and should not be considered a full fledged version. Honestly, if you tried to install it on a desktop, you are just messing with your own head.

Enterprise versions. Now we start really getting into murky waters. So, you have Professional, but then you have this even greater kick-ass version. Oh wait, only enterprise customers can purchase it, the rest of you can go play with your lesser versions. But wait, what about…

ULTIMATE! This is supposed to be a top of the line for both the Home and Professional editions. But what about Enterprise? Shouldn’t that be Ultimate in a different default GUI layout? What, no?

So, do we know have only 5 versions, but how do we get that from 3 Home versions and 3 Professional versions? When you get into math as fuzzy as this, your head starts hurting.

XP VersionsVista/7 Versions
Home UsersHome EditionHome Basic
Home Premium


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