Windows 7 Home Premium vs. Windows 7 Professional

What are the differences between Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional?

People often ask us which version of Windows they should purchase for their new PC build. Generally speaking Windows 7 Home Premium Edition has everything that most end users would need for normal day-to-day usage of their PC. There is no use in paying extra for Windows 7 Professional Edition if the added features will be of no benefit to you. Here is a list of the major differences between Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional.

Memory support

Home Premium: 16GB of physical memory supported
Professional: 192GB of physical memory supported

(*64-bit editions only.)

Recent tests of a mid range Windows 7 based PC with configurations of 4GB, 8GB and 16GB of system memory have shown only a marginal overall performance benefit between 8GB and 4GB. No performance improvement was evident when moving from 8GB to 16GB, therefore I do not see the 16GB physical memory limitation of Home Edition to be an issue when choosing an operating system.

Backup and restore

Home Premium: Limited to local HDD or DVD
Professional: Local HDD, DVD and Network

The Backup and Restore centre was first introduced in Windows Vista and provides users with the ability to back up files, folders, libraries or even their complete hard drive. Backups can be automatically scheduled by the user to any frequency they like. The only limitation on Windows 7 Home Premium Edition is that it cannot backup data to a network location such as a network-attached storage device (NAS), another PC on the network, or to a network server. Full hard drive backup can be performed by choosing the “Create a system Image” option. This image can be used as a complete disaster recovery option (as long as the image is not stored on your operating system drive). In the event of a mechanical failure or data corruption on the Operating System drive in the PC the “system image” can be restored to a new HDD and your PC can be back up and running in an hour or two, complete with all data and programs intact.

Read More: Windows 7 Review: Windows 7 gets the basics right

Encrypting File System

Home Premium: No
Professional: Yes

Encrypting File System (EFS) enables transparent encryption of files and/or folders, directly from within Windows Explorer, adding a layer of security to sensitive files or folders and preventing access to these files or folders by unauthorised users or programs not in possession of the appropriate cryptographic key. Any files placed in an encrypted folder will automatically be encrypted. Encrypted folders and files will be displayed in green in windows explorer.

Location Aware Printing

Home Premium:

This feature is particularly useful for laptops, netbooks or other portable devices which move between different networks. Windows will automatically keep track of the different networks and remember which printers are available on each of them. This saves you the trouble of having to reassign the default printer you wish to use, every time you connect to a different network, as windows will switch to the last default printer you used on any particular network. You even have the option of manually presetting which printer you would like to use on each network.

Tags Windows 7

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Glenn Howlett

PC World


Josh Mamet


That was very helpful thanks - I'm in the process of choosing a new Dell system and wondered what I'd be paying the extra for.

Carl Thomposn


I have read many premium vs professional comparisons and yours is the best. It is the only usable one. The others tell on that one is green, the other red, but doesn't put the differences into context like your analysis does. Thanks so much. This was a gem.

Stefan Hreszczuk


Have just purchased the Pro ver before reading your article. Looks like I have wasted some $$$'s as clearly the added features are not required in my home environment & intended use.

Regards - Stefan H.

Len Vanderlinde


What about the ability to run some Windows XP based programs on 7 Pro but not on 7 Home Premium? Is this an issue worth commenting on?



Excellent article! Concise and to the point, this is exactly the kind of bullet-list comparison that is really useful in easy to understand terms! Thanks!






Windows 7 does not have the card games ect. that Home Premium does. I found this out too late. Very disappointed



also in the pro version it can support 2 cpu's which home premium cannot



A very helpful and straight forward explanation. Just what I needed to know. Thanks.



good review, helps me a lot. in process of purchasing a new lap top for education purposes. based on your review, I think I will need a home premium. thank you.

Daniel Pryor


@Len Vanderline: You can actually run Win XP progs inside Home premium just run as an administrator and then run it in compatibility mode. presto. Pro version the only difference is that it will actually let you install a completely seperate WIN XP on a different partition on the hard disk. AND you can actually download this program from Microsoft for free!

Don Lambert


I just got a PC loaded w/Windows 7 Home Premium and was dismayed to see that there is no MS Word included. there is a "word pad" but that is not the same - there is not even a spell check feature on it. In that I do have an XP program disc I apparently can load that onto the hard drive and still keep the MS 7 Program. Is this a long laborious process or fairly straight forward procedure?



You just saved me a hundred bucks. I am buying a laptop online.

ed pfau


I just bought a computer with Windows 7 Home Premium. I cannot locate the toolbar that had file, tools etc. I used this a lot. Can anyone tell me how to install this/



To ed pfau: The menu bar with files, tools, etc. can be found by right clicking at the top of the computer screen and checking menu bar on the list.



I'm going to college next year for computer engineering. Which Windows would you recommend, Pro or Home Premium?



Thanks you saved me from doing a blunder.

Peter Leonard Wales


excellant article:clear enough for oldies like me!

Anne Pensini


Great to find this site today as I am getting a pc built.
I really appreciate your clear explanations of the difference between the systems.

Jim T


Had all sorts of problems with my new home HP WIN 7, until I realized I was trying to run my old XP programs. Sent it back and now have a Professional (p6-2220) coming. I am told that I can run 32 and 64 bit on it. Hope this works, I just went through a 3 week nightmare. I know half the Tech guys in India by their first name. :)



-intel(R) Core(TM) 2Duo CPU t5800 @2.00Ghz
- 3.00 GO rami

witch windows is the best for my..i play games



Had a windows vista that died, got a new one with 8.1, but unable to burn photo, music, video movie made in movie maker to a DVD. Can I do this in windows 7?

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