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Microsoft removes key limit for Windows 7 Starter

Those running the lowest-cost version of Windows 7 will not be limited to running three simultaneous programs at a time.

Microsoft confirmed on Friday that, with Windows 7, it will lift the limitation that the entry-level "Starter Edition" run no more than three applications at a time.

With Windows 7, Microsoft is for the first time allowing the product to be used globally, as opposed to just in emerging markets. In particular, Microsoft is positioning it as its lowest-cost Windows 7 option for Netbooks.

Initially, Microsoft said it would maintain that restriction that users run no more than three programs at a time, however speculation has been growing that it would lift that limitation.

"We believe these changes will make Windows 7 Starter an even more attractive option for customers who want a small notebook PC for very basic tasks, like browsing the Web, checking e-mail, and personal productivity," Microsoft said in a blog posting on Friday.

Although Microsoft is lifting the three-application limit, it notes that there are still a number of other differences between Starter and Home Premium, including the former's lack of support for Windows 7's cool graphics, multiple monitors, Windows Media Center or XP Mode, among other features.