Netbooks won't suffer Windows 7 edition restrictions

— 11:48 AM on September 28, 2009

When netbooks started becoming popular last year, we heard about restrictions Microsoft enforced on hardware makers seeking to pre-install Windows XP instead of Vista. Only systems with certain display, memory, and storage sizes could apply. Good news, though: according to TG Daily, Microsoft will impose no such restrictions with Windows 7.

Here's the skinny from a Microsoft rep that talked to the site:

"OEMs and ODMs have the choice to install any version of Windows on a netbook," said a Microsoft UK spokesperson. "[But] Starter is an entry version and doesn't have many of the consumer or business features. The three application limit isn't there anymore."

In other words, you could see low-end netbooks bundled with Windows 7 Home Premium and high-end ones with the cut-down Windows 7 Starter. Microsoft presumably isn't too worried about Starter cannibalizing sales of more upscale editions—that version will lack many features, and Microsoft will encourage users to step up to Home Premium through the Anytime Upgrade scheme.

As TG Daily points out, Windows 7 Starter will leave out the Aero Glass user interface, taskbar thumbnails, Aero Peek, desktop personalization, fast user switching, DVD playback, Windows Media Center, multi-monitor output, and the ability to create HomeGroups, among other things. Microsoft won't offer a 64-bit version of this edition, either.

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