Windows Vista editions comparison matrix

Windows Vista boxes + Hello Kitty Bubblegum Girlfriends + Mac OS X Tiger

A lot of people have asked for an in-depth comparison between the many consumer edition of Windows Vista: Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate. And of course, I tell them, “Don’t look at me, I don’t have a clue.” But someone has to know, and who better to know than Microsoft.

Windows Vista ships with a new tool called “Windows Anytime Upgrade“, which enables on-the-fly upgrades to higher-tiered versions of Windows Vista with the ease of a simple online transaction. In this tool, is also a “comparison matrix” chart which helps Microsoft to tease you about all the features you’re missing out on because you’re too cheap to buy Ultimate. But of course, this chart might also help some understand and value the differences between the three editions of Windows Vista. (Excluding Home Basic N, for all the media-crippled Europeans.)

Remember, this is the matrix. Can you handle the truth?

Windows Vista editions comparison matrix
Click image to view full-sized chart. (231KB)

For an alternative comparison matrix with Business and Enterprise editions, have a look at Ed Bott’s Secret Decoder Ring.

18 insightful thoughts

  1. w00t Unlimited! Nice Long, like your last post, I live in IE, so contacting you, yea, how long these betas last for? Any idea?

  2. What would really be a cool comparison chart that you will never see is Windows XP Professional vs. Windows Vista Business because many features of the former are no longer available at less than $399 US retail in Ultimate. The same is true of Windows XP Media Center 2005 because it is really Windows XP Professional with Media Center components added.

    So what has really happened is that Microsoft has dropped a big price increase by crippling Windows Vista Home Basic and Windows Vista Business. I know that this won’t mean much to most people. But I purchased Windows NT 4.0 Workstation, upgraded to Windows 2000 Professional, and then upgraded to Windows XP Professional. Now I have no choice but to upgrade to Utimate because Business doesn’t have all of the features I use.

  3. You got to be kidding me. MUI, Remote Desktop and Fax & Scan arn’t avaliable to Home Basic… That’s crazy. Anyone else think this?… Because Remote Desktop is more like a feature used for support and helping the user fix problems on the pc, and therefor to me it should be a requirement. As well as Fax & Scan as they are just basic tools everyone uses… And MUI, bit wierd you would need to fork out like another 200-300$ for that… I dunno… To me those are all required features for everyone…

  4. Wow, either go for Ultimate or Home premium for all the bells and whistles.

    All can buy Home premium and then upgrade to Ultimate when needed or they pocket get little heavier with more cash.

  5. If you need a comparison short of marketing fluff, and also detailing the Enterprise and Business editions, try Ed Bott’s “secret decoder ring”:

    The only item missing on that chart (I think) is Ultimate Extras.

    I agree, Fax and Scan and the MUI are definitely required features for home customers.

    Logical arrangement:
    Home Starter: Needs no explanation
    Home Basic: Home minus say Aero and Tablet PC support
    Home: All the things a home user might need, but nothing that only business users will need
    Business: All the things a business user might need, but nothing that only home users/media moguls will need
    Ultimate: Everything

    No need for the Enterprise edition either. Sick bastards.

  6. Long story short:
    vista home premium = windows xp home edition
    windows enterprise = windows xp professional

    Don’t even thing about purchasing the simple vista home edition. Get the premium.

  7. Thanks folks, I almost bought a laptop with Vista Home Basic. Ouch. I think I’ll go for the XP version for now :)

  8. ultimate seems like a waste of money, everything that shows to be for ultimate only u can do with home premium. maybe its easier to use ultimate or something like that but most of the stuff u can do in home premium, just have to look for it.

  9. You can view a good feature chart comparing the four flavors of Vista here:

    I haven’t used it much myself yet, but will be when I buy my new laptop, whic is why I’m researching it. I liked what I saw, and after getting used to it, I expect that I’ll like it better than XP. I was reluctant to switch from NT to 2000 and from 2000 to XP, but in the end, the newer versions are always better.

    But, it seems clear from the cnet comparison table that a lot of the messages on this image displayed here are misleading – implying that features aren’t included when they actually are.

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