Microsoft confirms no Windows 7 restrictions for netbooks

Fears that netbook manufacturers would be forced to install a cut-down version of Windows 7 on their machines have been allayed by Microsoft.

The software giant also confirmed that the daft three application limit originally planned for Windows 7 Starter has been removed.

“OEMs and ODMs have the choice to install any version of Windows on a netbook,” said a Microsoft UK spokesperson. “[But] Starter is an entry version and doesn’t have many of the consumer or business features. The three application limit isn’t there anymore.”

Microsoft’s reassurance follows heavy hints dropped earlier this week at Intel’s Developer Forum in San Francisco.

The Starter version only comes in a 32 bit variant – as does Windows 7 Home Basic, aimed at emerging markets – and is missing features such as Aero Glass, Taskbar Previews or Aero Peek.

Other bits of the OS that have been switched off include desktop personalization, fast user switching, multi-monitor support, DVD playback, support for domains and XP Mode. Windows Media Center is not available and Starter machines can join a homegroup, but not set one up themselves.

Home Basic also lacks the Aero interface, Taskbar Previews, Internet Connection Sharing and other goodies and will not be sold in the US, Europe and other ‘established’ markets.

Its key advantage over Starter was that it didn’t have the three app restriction, but now that’s been removed, it’s hard to see exactly why we need two entry SKUs of the OS.

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