Windows 7 Starter Edition Drops 3-App Limit, Keeps Other Restrictions


windows-7-logoI still think I could make do with the three concurrent application limits in Microsoft’s Windows 7 Starter Edition on a netbook. Luckily, I don’t have to and neither do you. Microsoft has removed that particular limitation on the Starter Edition, which I expect will be the base Windows (s MSFT) option for netbooks when the new OS hits later this year. You can give up a collective sigh of relief because if you want to multitask with oodles of apps, you’re welcome to do so. There’s still quite a bit you can’t do with Starter Edition, however, as these features simply aren’t supported:

  • Aero Glass, meaning you can only use the “Windows Basic” or other opaque themes. It also means you do not get Taskbar Previews or Aero Peek.
  • Personalization features for changing desktop backgrounds, window colors, or sound schemes.
  • The ability to switch between users without having to log off.
  • Multimonitor support.
  • DVD playback.
  • Windows Media Center for watching recorded TV or other media.
  • Remote Media Streaming for streaming your music, videos, and recorded TV from your home computer.
  • Domain support for business customers.
  • XP Mode for those that want the ability to run older Windows XP programs on Windows 7.

From a netbook perspective, none of these are deal-breakers for me, although I’d miss the Aero features. Of course, now that I have a Windows Home Server box running, I was planning to remotely stream media content to my netbook, which looks to be another “gotcha!” I suspect most netbook purchases will end up coming with Windows 7 Home Premium, although we don’t yet know what the premium will cost.



Microsoft still doesn’t seem to get it – there are users who simply won’t ‘upgrade’ to a hobbled OS (however minor MS may believe the restrictions to be) when they are able to use a full (albeit old) OS on their netbook now.

Win7 has achieved no epiphany – it is not a new, ground-up OS and is simply the SP3 to Vista. And Microsoft clearly didn’t learn from Vista – the uptake of an OS is directly tied to advantages of moving up to it. Win7 will not only have the inevitable ‘issues’ with any new(bootstrapped)OS as well as having restrictions that aren’t there on the current netbook OS.

Yeah, that’s appealing to consumers.


Streaming can be accomplished with 3rd party stuff.

The “no dual monitors” is a problem if you want to do presentations (which I often do) and which Linux handles very well (as well as all the other stuff on this list).



These seem reasonable sacrifices, and I would rather give up a “feature” than be forced to compromise on hardware. That 1GB ram limit MS has on netbook shipping with XP needs to go. I would assume MS will lift those hardware restrictions with Win 7.

James Kendrick

The last I heard the hardware limitations as to what hardware OEMs can put the lower end versions of Win7 still exist.


What about tablet and touch-screen facilities? I thought those wouldn’t be supported, but they’re not in your list of exclusions.

Kevin C. Tofel

That’s an excellent question, although I don’t know that I ever saw touchscreen support in the Starter Edition to begin with. The list of exclusions I posted came directly from the Microsoft Window’s Team Blog. I’ll circle back and see what I can find, but I don’t anticipate support for tablet & touchscreen.


No aero is a deal breaker for me considering how much features depend on it.

Also, does no multi-monitor support mean I can’t hook up my netbook to a tv?

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