Windows 7 Starter EditionMicrosoft has a list of Windows 7 minimum recommended system hardware specification requirement for desktop, notebook, netbook, nettop, laptop computer and tablet PC that intends to run any versions and editions of Windows 7. However, not all computers is required to meet these requirements though, and in fact, some PC is not even allowed to have such high hardware specifications.

For marketing purpose, Microsoft has a separate set of maximum hardware specification requirements (rather more appropriately limitation) for small notebook PC segment, which also known as netbook or nettop. The hardware specifications limit applies to the following SKUs:

  • Windows 7 Starter
  • Windows 7 Starter for Small Notebook PC
  • Windows 7 Home Basic For Small Notebook PCs (China only)

The maximum hardware specification limit is similar in scope to Microsoft Windows XP Home Ultra Low Cost PC (ULCPC) program. However, the maximum hardware specificaftions allowed for Windows 7 Start, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows XP and Windows Vista Small Notebook PC program has been streamlined and simplified, with universal CPU criteria and new screen limit size of 10.2 inches when measured diagonally as the defining boundary between a small notebook PC and full-featured laptop. There is also no more graphics card and touch capability limitations.

The maximum hardware specifications for Windows 7 Starter and Home Basic (in China) is listed in table below, with comparison the existing maximum hardware limitations for Windows XP Home and Vista Starter edition.

Key Specifications Windows XP / Windows Vista Windows 7 Starter / Home Basic for Small Notebook PCs
Screen Size Not to exceed 12.1″ Not to exceed 10.2″
Memory 1 GB RAM 1 GB RAM
Storage 160 GB HDD or 32 GB SDD 250 GB HDD or 64 GB SDD
Graphics Less than or equal to DX9 No limitation
Touch Resistive touch only No limitation
  • Single core processors that do not exceed 1 GHz frequency
  • Intel Atom (N270, N280, 230, Z500, Z510, Z515, Z520, Z530, Z540, Z550)
  • Intel Celeron 220
  • AMD (MV-40, 1050P, TF-20, Geode LX, Athlon 2650e, Sempron 210U)
  • VIA (C7-M ULV, Nano U1700, U2250, U2300, U2400 or U2500)
Single core processors that do not exceed 2 GHz frequency, and have a CPU thermal design power that is less than or equal to 15 W, not including the graphics and chipset.

Windows 7 Starter is now only features-limited with no restriction on running applications. To understand more about Windows 7, here’s consolidated information and FAQ for Windows 7 RTM.