Windows 7

Windows NT 3.5 Windows NT 3.51 Windows NT 4.0 Windows 2000 Windows XP Windows Server 2003 Windows XP Professional x64 Windows Vista Windows Server 2008 Windows 7 Windows Server 2008 R2 Windows 8 Windows Phone 8 Windows RT Windows Server 2012

Microsoft Windows 7 is an operating system of the U.S. company Microsoft. It was released on 22 October 2009 and is the successor of Microsoft Windows Vista. The global market share of Windows 7 is 51 percent (as of December 2013).

  • 3.1 Windows 7 Starter
  • 3.2 Windows 7 Home Basic
  • 3.3 Windows 7 Home Premium
  • 3.4 Windows 7 Professional
  • 3.5 Windows 7 Ultimate
  • 3.6 Windows 7 Enterprise
  • 4.1 surface
  • 4.2 Windows Explorer
  • 4.3 Security
  • 4.4 Multimedia
  • 4.5 Accessibility
  • 4.6 input methods and devices
  • 4.7 Paint and WordPad
  • 4.8 computer
  • 4.9 Windows Photo Viewer
  • 4:10 Windows Media Player 12.0
  • 4:11 Other features at a glance
  • 4:12 DirectX 11
  • 4:13 Remote components
  • 4:14 unbundling
  • 9.1 Service Pack 1


History of development

While the company has developed an operating system version, code-named Longhorn, which was later released as Windows Vista, Microsoft began initially codenamed Blackcomb, Vienna from 2006, the development of the next version. In October 2008, the manufacturer "Windows 7" announced as the name for the successor system of Windows Vista.

Version number

The internal version number of Windows 7 is NT 6.1. Microsoft explains the strange numbering so that one must take from the internal version number 7.0 spacing, so that programs written for Windows Vista to Windows 7 still remained to run. Since Windows Vista and 7, are very similar apart from numerous bug fixes and a new surface, the number in the product name can also be interpreted out of context with the version: It was decided after giving Microsoft firstly because of the symbolism of numbers for screening, as well as for the reason that Windows 7 after the company's counting is the seventh Windows product series:


The first preliminary issue was distributed on September 28, 2008 to the participants of the Professional Developers Conference (PDC).

At the Consumer Electronics Show 2009, which began on January 7, a beta version was officially made ​​available to MSDN and TechNet members and then provided to the public on January 9 download (Build 7000).

Due to the great interest had to download Microsoft shut down temporarily due to server overload, to enhance the technical infrastructure. The download limit of 2.5 million downloads was then lifted and set the availability of the software until January 24. One day before the end of the period was extended, so the beta download was started to 10 February and be completed by February 12, 2009.

In the first beta phase only the Ultimate edition that includes all the features of the operating system was offered for download. MSDN Subscriptions owner and Microsoft Connect members also had access to other editions, such as Home or Professional. The term of ( activated ) beta version was limited to 1 August 2009. After the Beta 1 was not followed by further public beta version.

This was followed by the release candidate, build number 7100, which was released on April 30 for TechNet and MSDN subscribers and on 5 May 2009 to the public. The running time of ( activated ) release candidate was limited to 1 March 2010. After this date, the operating system every two hours drove down automatically. Since the beginning of June 2010, the release candidate refuses to start final.

On 15 July 2009 Windows 7 Home Premium was offered in a pre-sale action at a special price of 50 euros in highly limited numbers, it was mostly sold out in Germany within a few minutes.

On 22 July 2009 the completion of the operating system was announced that compiles internally at Microsoft on 13 July 2009 and 22 July 2009, after successful completion of all the tests at Microsoft as final RTM version ( release to manufacturing ) with the build number 7600.16385 was called. Large customers with volume licenses received since early August have access to the RTM version, since mid-August it was available in different languages ​​. Meanwhile, different license key for all editions of Windows 7 on the Internet are available with which you can activate Windows 7 illegally; these make use of the built-in option that use Microsoft's partner for mass activation of pre-installation (OEM Preactivation ).

Until 22 October 2009 the international launch, all the language ( " language packs " ) for Windows were completed.


The operating system is available at tiered license prices in six different editions:

  • Starter Edition (for emerging markets and netbooks ),
  • Home Basic ( for emerging markets)
  • Home Premium (including Media Center - for the broad market )
  • Professional (for smaller companies ),
  • Ultimate ( combines all the features of the other versions, excluding Starter) and
  • Enterprise ( extent as Ultimate; distribution only with volume licensing to companies and organizations version of the 90 - day trial ).

The differences lie in the range of functions in the scope of the license and with the support timelines. The versions mentioned are also available as an upgrade from Windows XP, but each requires a new installation.

Windows 7 Starter

This edition is the only version that is available only as a 32- bit version and when the memory is limited to a maximum of 2 GB. There is only the Aero Basic surfaces and the pre-installed Windows Media Player is limited in its function. So no DVDs can for example be played in Windows Media Player. The restriction that except system processes started (like the desktop ) up to three user processes can run concurrently, was repealed in comparison to the Starter editions of Windows XP and Vista. In addition, the desktop background does not change. The surface can indeed pose on a second monitor, but the display area can not be extended or enlarged by a second monitor. This version is only (usually pre-installed on netbooks ) as an OEM license.

Windows 7 Home Basic

Home Basic is reduced in the equipment version of Home Premium and it comes packed basic functions and does not contain Windows Media Center. For this, the Windows Media Player is included. Home Basic and all higher versions support multiple monitors, and quickly switch between users is possible, but this edition supports up to 4 GB of memory in the 32- bit version. In the 64- bit version 8 GB are supported.

Windows 7 Home Premium

This version is designed for the private market, the limitation of the working memory is 16 GB. Compared with Home Basic, it has some additional features such as support for HDTV and playing and writing DVDs. The Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center as well as some games are included from Home Premium.

Windows 7 Professional

This version of Windows 7 is aimed primarily at the business sector. It includes all functions of Home Premium Edition and has, like the other Ultimate and Enterprise editions, a limitation of the working memory of 192 GB. It supports Windows Server domains. The XP Mode lets you run programs that otherwise would not work under Windows 7. The Professional version of the games like Minesweeper, Solitaire and Freecell are not installed by default, but can be added later. The Games Explorer, however, is installed by default, since it is only a special folder in Windows Explorer. Microsoft offers an Extended Support phase for the Professional and Enterprise editions of the end of the Mainstream Support phase.

Windows 7 Ultimate

Windows 7 Ultimate contains the functions of all other versions and is aimed at small business owners who use their PC for private and business, as well as home users who operate their computers both at home and in the enterprise network. Ultimate also offers, among other things, the BitLocker disk encryption and booting from the virtual disks in VHD format. Also, it enables the user at any time to change the system language.

Windows 7 Enterprise

This version is basically a Windows 7 Ultimate, which is sold under volume license. In the Enterprise version, however, as those of the Professional version, games like Minesweeper, Solitaire or FreeCell not installed by default.

New and Changed Components

With Windows 7, Microsoft has redesigned the user interface of the operating system and some applications to improve the user experience. Improvements were also system security, and supporting alternative input methods ( for example, tablet PCs ). Compared with Windows Vista, Windows 7 feels to faster, although it is objectively true often, but not always work faster.


Optical changes include the design geometries and topologies in the taskbar and the desktop. By default, the taskbar is taller and bigger than previous versions of Windows, and not only displays open windows, but can also be used to store applications on it ( similar to the popular Mac OS X Dock). The function of the previous Quick Launch bar is thus integrated into the taskbar ( internally referred to as the " Superbar "). The display of the windows in the taskbar has become narrower since only the program icon, but not the name or the window title is displayed. In addition, several windows of the same program are grouped together as an icon, the button border is displayed several times, which should mimic a stack of icons. The icons can be rearranged by clicking and dragging. However, these defaults can be changed so that the former concept remains available per window with a labeled button.

Moving the mouse over an icon is a running application drawn in the taskbar, a thumbnail of the window is to be displayed. In addition, all open tabs (tabs ) can ( such as in Internet Explorer 8 ) appear as a single preview. This preview can (for example, "Previous", " Play / Pause " and "Next" when Windows Media Player 12 ) contain small features. If an application several windows open, so all windows are shown side by side as a preview while showing on the program icon, this feature must be supported by the respective program. The preview feature is included as part of Aero in Windows 7 all versions except Starter Edition and is known from other desktop environments.

New in Windows 7 is a feature called " Aero Snap " which allows you to quickly arrange windows by dragging them to different edges of the screen. The window can each be placed right or left half side (right and left of the screen), or it can be maximized ( upper screen). The principle has now been taken up by several programs that make the function even for older Windows operating systems 2000, XP and Vista only, or even extend the functionality.

Windows Explorer

The Windows Explorer has been enhanced with new virtual folder called libraries that summarize the media files from any folders of the file system and connected via a network of computers as a virtual collections. For example, there are the libraries music and pictures that include audio or image files from all over the hard disk or from the home network. Thus, the inclusion of network storage is achieved in a library, it must be ensured that the memory is indexed by Windows Search.

In addition, the Explorer will search through its own data sources, such as web services and databases, expanded (so-called federated search). This may have as well as files previews and thumbnails.

The so-called gadgets (called by Microsoft mini-applications ) which have been placed yet with the previous version in a sidebar, can be placed anywhere on the desktop now, the sidebar has been removed. Due to serious security flaws, the gadgets for Windows 7 and Vista, but were set in 2012.


The Security Center of Windows 7 was compared to its predecessor restructured and renewed. Renamed Action Center program can monitor the status of the scan engine and the firewall and create system backups again.

The User Account Control (UAC ), which was criticized its predecessor because of its many demands to make changes to the system, is set in Windows 7 adjustable in steps and default to a lower level.

Because the default, all users initially get administrator rights and UAC in Windows Vista accepted more system-oriented interventions unasked, Windows 7 is less secure than its predecessor, according to an article on The highest level of User Account Control ( "Always notify" ) corresponds to the demands for its many criticized by default in Windows Vista. The same article goes on to say that an alternative safe solution revoking administrator rights is what is not in all editions is easy but possible and can cause some applications to access problems. Windows 7 thus as its predecessors contains contradictions in the safety concept.

The operating system is maintained by means of an integrated Windows update from Microsoft with corrections and certified drivers up to date. Microsoft pursued with regard to the approach vulnerabilities Coordinated Vulnerability Disclosure.


The Windows Media Center has been updated. Windows 7 includes more preinstalled codecs than any previous versions of Windows; among other things, H.264, MPEG -2, MPEG -4 ( DivX and Xvid, for example ) or AAC now supported without external drivers. The same applies to the container formats MOV and MP4. Thus, a manual re-installation of an appropriate codec is no longer necessary for many formats. Also new is the support of color profiles with color depths of 30 and 48 bits.


Windows 7 includes a number of features for easier operation by users with limited capabilities. Among the most important components include the voice control and voice output, the onscreen keyboard and magnifier. In the control panel there are options for Ease with which one can switch the display to high contrast and can, for example Braille device, configure the administration of other input devices.

Input methods and devices

Windows 7 supports multi-touch. Example, can be operated Paint with multiple fingers.

New functionality for devices are the device stages: For device fits a window appears that offers frequent promotions for your device ( a mobile phone, for example, organizing contacts and synchronizing media files) in one central location.

Paint and WordPad

The two components of Windows Paint and WordPad have been revised. They were equipped with a ribbon interface as Office. Furthermore, WordPad can now open and save documents in DOCX and ODF formats to, but the DOC format is omitted.


The computer has been visually redesigned and now supports, among other units and financial calculator.

Windows Photo Viewer

Introduced in Windows XP program Windows Picture and Fax Viewer was particularly improved with Windows Vista and renamed Windows Photo Gallery. In Windows 7 it ​​was again truly cleaned and received his third program name. Most of the changes are in optics. For example, the menus have been arranged in a slightly different order. In addition, the icons have been removed from the menus. The Windows Photo Viewer is - as in Windows XP - reopened on DLL files and not - as in Windows Vista - a exe file.

Windows Media Player 12.0

Windows 7 comes with Windows Media Player 12.0. This has a revised user interface, in which the library and the playback window are separated.

By default, the library is selected as a source for music media files. In addition to DVDs Windows Media Player plays 12.0 from those referred to in multimedia formats. There is also a preview function that allows you to hear the beginning of a title.

Other features at a glance

New is, among other things, an error recording program ( Problem Steps Recorder ). It logs after its launch, all mouse clicks and more relevant for programmers and support staff information and stores it as MHT file. So it should easily be possible, according to Microsoft, to create detailed problem reports.

Windows PowerShell is installed in Windows 7. This feature provides a development environment for command-line scripts. It thus offers an alternative to cmd.exe and resembles UNIX shells such as bash.

DirectX 11

With Windows 7, DirectX 11 was released as a new version of DirectX programming. Although DirectX 11 includes the functionality of the previous versions, but is not itself fully backward compatible with, for example, on DirectX 9 optimized programs. DirectX 9 can be installed for such programs in addition to DirectX 11.

Removed components

Some programs and features that were part of the previous version, in Windows 7 no longer exist or have been outsourced.

Removed were the classic start menu, some functions of the taskbar, Windows Explorer features, Windows Media Player features, some Windows Ultimate Extras, and the game InkBall. Four well-known applications, such as Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Movie Maker, Windows Calendar and Windows Mail, were outsourced to Windows 7 as Windows Live Essentials in a separate package, which is available free on the Microsoft website.


As already for Internet Explorer, the European Commission, the separation of the media player from the Windows 7 operating system for the distribution enforced (so-called unbundling). Functionally, this means no change, however, with separate supply a separate installation is required.

For Windows 7 is a version of the operating system without Windows Media Player will therefore be distributed in Europe ( "Windows 7 N"), which can re-install by a Media Feature Pack, however. This also goes back to the EU Commission demands.

In the N editions of Windows Media Player was removed according to the specification of the European Commission. Internet Explorer 8 is pre-installed in Windows 7 shipped. As required by the European Commission European users a choice screen offered, which allows to set the desired browser. This selection screen will be installed later in March 2010 via Windows Update and appear to users who use Internet Explorer as the default browser. Computer manufacturers who bring their devices with pre-installed Windows in the trade, it is allowed, a browser of your choice ( Internet Explorer included) pre-install.

System Requirements

Windows 7 needs tend to be slightly less resources than Windows Vista, but the officially recommended minimum requirements are slightly higher. The graphics card requirements depend on the three graphics modes (visual designs ) and resolution. It will be in mode "Classic" is no further requirement, in the Aero - modes, however, further requirements must still be met.

Windows 7 on netbooks is more usable than Vista, if they have at least a 1 GHz processor and 1 GB of memory. However, it is slower than the eight years older Windows XP.

To install the operating system is also a DVD drive or a USB port is required.


Windows 7 is Microsoft says at almost any hardware and software that was running under Vista, be compatible. Unlike previous versions of Windows, there is no more " compelling " and higher "recommended" system requirements, but only one value. This corresponds to the "recommended" requirements of Vista. Microsoft is also a free application available which programs and devices checked for compatibility and suggesting necessary updates. In February 2010, Microsoft released an additional update that improves the compatibility with numerous mostly older programs.

Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate contain a so-called XP Mode. This is a virtual machine with a special matching Windows XP Professional. It is powered by Windows Virtual PC, a further developed for Windows 7 version of Microsoft Virtual PC. The XP mode is designed for programs that do not work even in compatibility mode. Communication with the host was greatly simplified compared to Microsoft Virtual PC. So by default, are the drives of the host computer as network drives are available. New drives that are connected to the host computer are automatically detected in XP mode and the clipboard can be used by Windows 7 and XP mode simultaneously. Also, USB devices are detected by the virtual machine. This allows older USB hardware for which there are no new drivers, use inside the virtual machine continues. However, on 3D acceleration must be dispensed within the virtual machine. The Windows XP Mode is therefore not suited for 3D games or 3D CAD. To use the XP mode, up to an update in March 2010, a main processor with AMD Virtualization or Intel VT was needed.

For the first time Microsoft allowed owners of certain single-user licenses, alternatively use not only the direct predecessor of the new operating system generation, but either the pre-predecessor. This downgrade option was attributable to the provision of the first service packs for Windows 7


For the optimization of the start - and run-time behavior of Windows 7, there are numerous free and commercial tools available. One of the strongest tools is already the Windows Msconfig own, on which all unneeded and can also disable suspicious services and startup programs.


Even before the official launch on 22 October 2009 Windows 7 was granted a predominantly positive media coverage. Microsoft reached with Windows 7 until the official launch a market share of about 1.8 percent, two weeks later had Windows 7 a share of 5 percent. Three months after the publication of the proliferation of Windows 7 in Germany was more than 20 percent, 10 percent internationally.

In the first quarter sales Microsoft has sold more than 60 million licenses of Windows 7, so that is so far the fastest selling operating system and has thus increasing the company's profit in the previous year by 60 percent. By early March 2010, more than 90 million licenses have been sold. According to Microsoft, Windows has sold about 240 million times in the first 365 days of sales 7. The global market share of Windows 7 is about 51 percent (as of December 2013). To 26 October 2012, the day of the launch of the successor, Windows 7 has sold over 670 million copies.

Support and updates

Originally, the support for Windows 7 should be scheduled early 2015 up to and including Edition Home Premium and Ultimate (so-called mainstream phase) and by the beginning of 2020 for the Professional and Enterprise editions (so-called Extended - phase) provided by Microsoft. Thus addressed to private customers editions would have been only slightly longer than that of the pre-predecessor supports Windows XP. On 20 February 2012 Microsoft announced that all versions are uniformly supplied to the beginning of 2020 with updates.

Service Pack 1

The Service Pack 1 (SP1 ) was provided on 16 February 2011 by Microsoft through its developer platforms MSDN and TechNet for their members to download. The service pack has a size of up to 538 MB ( 32- bit ) or 903 MB ( 64- bit) and mainly includes the published up to its release patches, but also several small stabilization and optimization. The SP1 responds with the build number 7,601th The SP1 was made available for all users on 22 February 2011 via Windows Update. The download of the SP1 file for manual installation is possible directly from the Microsoft Web site. Since 19 March 2013, the service pack is distributed automatically and without prompting from Windows Update. This does not include computers that are managed by System Center Configuration Manager ( SCCM) or WSUS server.