What are the versions of Windows Vista?

A. Vista will ship in seven different versions centered around home or office use.

  • Vista Starter Edition, which maps to Windows XP Starter Edition, is for consumers in emerging markets with very low-end PCs. This version is a subset of the Vista Home Basic Edition and will ship in a 32-bit version only. Only three concurrent applications can run, and no inbound connections are supported. Fast user switching and account passwords aren't included.
  • Vista Home Basic Edition is designed for single-computer home environments. It includes features such as firewall, Security Center, antivirus, antispyware (Windows Defender), antispam, and phishing protection. The new Aero UI will be included as well as updated Movie Maker, Media Player, and Windows Mail (Outlook Express replacement). This version also has a photo-library manager and peer-to-peer (P2P) ad hoc meeting capabilities, and more.
  • Vista Home Premium Edition builds on Home Basic and adds Media Center and Media Center Extender functionality, DVD video authoring and ripping (with Digital Rights Management--DRM--protection) and High Definition (HD) support. It also features increased networking capabilities, including WiFi configuration, Internet File Sharing, and synchronization among PCs.
  • Vista Professional Edition includes the ability to join domains, Remote Desktop, Encrypting File System (EFS), and Microsoft IIS (similar to XP Pro). It will also include Tablet PC capabilities.
  • Vista Small Business Edition is designed for small companies that don't have full IT teams. This version is built on Vista Pro and includes additional client-side functions such as Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) support, PC fax and scanning, and subscriptions to the Windows and Office Live services. It also includes a network-backup solution.
  • Vista Enterprise Edition is available only to Software Assurance (SA) customers and not for retail purchase. It builds on Vista Pro and adds additional security features, such as full-volume encryption (BitLocker Drive Encryption), and secure startup. Microsoft Virtual PC and Multilingual User Interface are also included. It's designed for high-end business users
  • Vista Ultimate Edition is a combination of Vista Pro and Vista Home Premium with additional game-optimized technologies. It will likely have additional access to online services.

There will be no corporate editions of the Vista Home and Ultimate lines, which means they'll require activation.

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