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Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Windows to Come in Eight Versions

According to some information posted this weekend on Microsoft's Web site and subsequently removed, Windows Vista would come in six basic editions and two "N" versions that don't include Windows Media Player.

The information posted this weekend was removed a day later, with Microsoft declaring it hasn't made a final decision yet. Then on Monday, Microsoft said the information was incomplete and had been posted "prematurely," for "testing purposes."

According to the removed information,two of the editions are similar to Windows XP Home Edition and XP Pro, with an extra Home edition bundling Media Center features, two more enterprise-oriented editions with extra features, and a stripped-down version without Vista's graphics or 64-bit capabilities.

The two extra N versions, which don't include Windows Media Player would keep Vista in compliance with European Union (EU) anti-trust sanctions.

According to the briefly published lineup, Windows Starter 2007 would be the most basic version,and won't use the Vista branding because it won't include Vista's Aero graphics system and will only ship in a 32-bit version. This may correspond to the currently offered Windows XP Starter Edition.

Windows Vista Home Basic aimed at single-PC homes would be the most basic version of Vista. Home Basic N would be the same, but without Media Player. Vista Home Premium would add Media Center and Media Center Extender functionalities, including support for Cable Card.

Windows Vista Business would be the most basic professional edition, with Business N removing Media Player. Vista Enterprise would add features such as Virtual PC, multi-language user interface and "Cornerstone" technologies, secure Startup and full volume encryption. Vista Ultimate would feature even more, but the information was undislosed.

Vista is due to ship by the end of the year.

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