Which Version of Windows 7 Should I Buy?

   Posted by David Kirk in Windows 7

Multiple versions of Windows 7 exist and users are left confused which version to buy. Luckily, the answer is actually very easy and we’ll walk you through the process.

Recently I helped my father purchase Windows 7 for his laptop. The guys at the big name tech store started peppering him with questions. It was obvious to me they were just trying to up-sell him. The decision is actually easy.

Which Version?

If you are purchasing this for your home, Window 7 Home Premium is 99% of the time your correct answer.

I know you think you may want some of those sexy features in the Professional or Ultimate versions. Don’t worry… you can upgrade your Home Premium version to another version at any time. Windows 7 comes with Windows Anytime Upgrade which makes the process relatively easy.

windows 7 upgrading

The only reason not to do it this way is if you know you’ll need the few extra features available on the more expensive packages. I’ll summarize the extra features at the bottom of this article.

What’s a Family Pack?

A “family pack” gives you permission to install on three different computers. If you know you are upgrading more than one system, the “family pack” will save you some money.

Upgrade Version or New Full Installation:

To me this is always the most complicated decision. Most people will buy the upgrade version and upgrade over an old version of XP or Vista. If that’s all you plan on doing, the upgrade version is perfect for you.

As I frequently install into virtual systems and rebuild my system from scratch, I usually opt for the new full installation. You can upgrade with a new full installation but it’s just more expensive.

What are the upgrades from Windows 7?

Professional and Ultimate features:

– Will run programs in an XP compatibility mode which may allow some stubborn XP-only programs to work.
– Has “Domain Join” features which assist with connecting to certain network types
– Contains the ability to backup and restore from a network.

Additional Ultimate features:

– Bitlocker encryption
– Easy language switching


About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

The Conversation

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  • Laserbeme

    I was under the vague impression that the upgrade version allows you to do a clean installation as long as you have an installation disk from an OS from which you can upgrade.

    • Anonymous

      I do not believe that is true. Of course, if you have the installation media for a prior version, you could certainly install the old OS on the new drive and then use your upgrade media to windows 7.

      Installing to a new drive from upgrade media is possible but much more difficult. That’s probably good information for a future tech-recipe. 🙂

      • Laserbeme

        Maybe it was just older versions of Windows… They would ask for the install disks from the upgradable OS as proof that you had them.