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Concurrent Application Limit In Windows 7 Starter Edition

After we revealed that Windows 7 Starter Edition would have a 3-application limit, Microsoft received a lot of flak for that decision. Although Microsoft only meant Windows 7 Starter Edition for netbooks, such a limitation would severely limit the capability of Windows 7 netbooks. In fact, it may turn people off Windows 7 netbooks and they may instead opt for netbooks running Windows XP Home Edition.

On June 1, 2009, Microsoft finally announced that they would remove the 3 concurrent application limit for Windows 7 Starter Edition. However, Windows 7 Starter Edition would continue to be limited by the maximum hardware requirements we revealed here.

Here's the official Microsoft press release on the removal of the 3 concurrent application limit in Windows 7 Starter Edition :

Since announcing the Windows® 7 SKU line-up, Microsoft has received a great deal of positive feedback about Windows 7’s performance, stability, security, and the new look and feel.  As Microsoft has said since unveiling the Windows 7 editions in February, all editions of Windows 7 have been optimized to run on the broadest range of hardware, ranging from small notebook PCs all the way up to high end gaming machines. Microsoft increasingly sees customers requesting a full PC experience on many different devices and therefore wanted to enable a broader usage experience for entry-level devices.

Today, Windows Starter limits the number of concurrent applications an end user can run to three at a time, excluding background processes such as Anti-Virus and Connection Manager; this has been the case since Microsoft® Windows® Starter Edition first debuted with Microsoft® Windows® XP and also in Windows Vista®. With Windows 7, when the product is released to manufacturing (RTM), Microsoft will remove the concurrent application limit for Windows 7 Starter Products.

This technical change will make Windows 7 Starter an even more attractive option for end users purchasing a small notebook PC, or for those in emerging markets that are purchasing a value PC and want a PC for basic tasks, such as browsing the web, checking email and personal productivity. 

Windows 7 Starter products will continue to have hardware requirements as outlined in Additional Terms 7 and 15 of the Desktop Operating System (DTOS) 12.0 Agreement. Different hardware requirements will apply to Windows 7 Starter for Small Notebook PCs as compared to Windows 7 Starter for value PCs.    

Royalties and related incentives for these products will not change.


Windows 7 Starter Vs. Windows 7 Home Premium

With the removal of the 3 concurrent application limit, there seems to be less of a need for Windows Home Edition. However, Microsoft insists that while they may offer Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Premium would be a far better choice even for most users. Here's their official take on the differences between Windows 7 Starter Edition and Windows 7 Home Premium Edition :

  • Windows 7 Starter delivers a solid Windows computing experience; it has the familiar Windows user interface, Windows extensive application and device compatibility, and many of the improvements Microsoft has made in Windows 7.
  • However, Windows Starter includes only a subset of the features offered in Windows 7 Home Premium.  For example, Windows Starter does not include the Aero glass interface: users can only use the opaque “Windows Basic” theme with a standard out-of-box wallpaper that cannot be changed.  Windows 7 Starter also does not include many of Windows 7’s media and entertainment features, such as Windows® Media Center and remote media streaming, and it does not support as many media formats out of the box as Home Premium.
  • Microsoft believes that the majority of consumers buying a PC will prefer Windows 7 Home Premium.  Premium enables the creation of Home Groups for easy sharing of files and media across PCs in the home.  It also allows users to personalize their computer’s look and feel by changing backgrounds and color themes, and it gives users the ability to use their small notebook PCs as universal remotes within the homes, leveraging Windows Media Center’s capabilities for watching and recording TV.

Update @ June 22 : Microsoft announced on June 17 that Windows 7 Starter products will no longer use the usual Green PC COA (Certificate of Authenticity). Instead, they will utilize a Blue PC COA for mature markets and a Rose PC COA for emerging markets. This was likely done to make it easy to detect any "accidental introduction" of Windows 7 Starter COAs meant for emerging markets into mature markets.


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Windows 7 Product Map


Two Primary Versions


Specialized SKUs


Windows 7 In Europe
Windows 7 SKUs In Europe


Concurrent App Limit In Windows 7 Starter
Windows 7 Starter Vs. Windows 7 Home Premium


System Hardware Requirements


Max. Hardware Specs. For Small Notebook PCs
New Hardware Limitations & Comparison


Windows 7 SKU Summary


Easy Upgrades
Developed Market Restrictions
Windows 7 Pricing Details
More Windows 7 Information

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