Windows 7 is the latest release of Microsoft Windows, a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, netbooks, tablet PCs, and media center PCs.Windows 7 was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009, and reached general retail availability on October 22, 2009,less than three years after the release of its predecessor, Windows Vista. Windows 7's server counterpart, Windows Server 2008 R2, was released at the same time. Unlike Windows Vista, which introduced a large number of new features, Windows 7 was intended to be a more focused, incremental upgrade to the Windows line, with the goal of being compatible with applications and hardware with which Windows Vista was already compatible. Presentations given by Microsoft in 2008 focused on multi-touch support, a redesigned Windows shell with a new taskbar, referred to as the Superbar, a home networking system called Home Group, and performance improvements. Some standard applications that have been included with prior releases of Microsoft Windows, including Windows Calendar, Windows Mail, Windows Movie Maker, and Windows Photo Gallery, are not included in Windows 7; most are instead offered separately at no charge as part of the Windows Live Essentials suite.
Windows 7 is available in six different editions, but only the Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate editions are available for retail sale to consumers in most countries. The other editions are aimed at other markets, such as the developing world or enterprise use. Each edition of Windows 7 includes all of the capabilities and features of the edition below it. All editions support the 32-bit (IA-32) processor architecture and all editions except Starter support the 64-bit(x86-64) processor architecture. The installation media is the same for all the consumer editions of Windows 7 that have the same processor architecture, with the license determining the...
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