Does it make sense to pay extra for Windows 7 Professional or does Home Premium edition offer all the functionality one needs? The answer depends upon whether you need some special features that are not found in Windows 7 Home Premium.
edit Windows XP Mode
Windows XP Mode lets you run older Windows XP software on your Windows 7 computer. It is available as a separate but free download but only works on Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise editions.
edit Networking and Domain Join
Both editions of Windows 7 allow you to create and join homegroups to share files between Windows 7 PCs on the same Wi-Fi network. However, if you plan to use your PC at the office or for telecommuting then you might need to connect to a domain (a collection of computers on a network). Windows 7 Professional is designed to join a domain quickly and more securely using a Domain Join wizard. The Home Premium edition does not have this feature, making the Professional edition better by yet another feature.
edit Backup and Restore
Both editions of Windows 7 feature automatic backups, with options to configure which files and folders get backed up and when the backups are scheduled. But with Windows 7 Home Premium, you can only back up to another drive or a DVD where as Windows 7 Professional allows you to back up over a network.
edit Remote Desktop Connection
Remote Desktop connects two computers over a network or the Internet. Once connected, you can see the remote computer's desktop as if you were sitting right in front of it, and have access to all its programs and files.
The Remote Desktop Connection feature is included with all editions of Windows 7, but you can only connect to computers running the Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise editions. This means you can use a computer running Windows 7 Home Premium to connect remotely to a computer running Windows 7 Professional but not vice versa.
The retail price for Windows 7 Home Premium is $119.99 for an upgrade license and $199.99 for a new license. For Windows 7 Professional, the price is $199.99 for an upgrade and $299.99 for a new installation. The software can be purchased at a discounted price on retailers such as Amazon:
- Windows 7 Home Premium on Amazon (discounted price)
- Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade on Amazon (discounted price)
- Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade Family Pack (3-User)
- Windows 7 Professional on Amazon (discounted price)
- Windows 7 Professional Upgrade on Amazon (discounted price)
edit Location-aware printing
If you work in different locations that have different wireless networks and printers, you can use the location-aware printing feature in Windows 7 Professional. This feature, which is not available in Windows 7 Home Premium, lets you create preferred printer-network pairs so that Windows automatically selects the correct default printer for you based on which network you're on.
edit BitLocker encryption
BitLocker encrypts the entire drive that Windows and your data reside on. Once BitLocker is turned on, any file you save on that drive is encrypted automatically. Neither edition has this feature. It is only available for Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise editions.