Guide to Upgrading to Windows 7

With more and more information regarding the various upgrade paths to Windows 7 becoming available, Ars Technica compiled a handy guide detailing the upgrade paths Microsoft offers to its customers. Are you wondering if you can buy a cheaper upgrade version of Windows 7 once it’s released? Read on.

If you’re still running Windows XP, Microsoft allows you to buy the upgrade version of Windows 7. However, and this is the catch, you will have to perform a clean install. Then again, I wouldn’t advise an upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 anyway – the company doesn’t have a very good track record in this regard (contrary to Apple, which does a much better job on this one).

Windows Vista users have it easier, since you can actually perform an upgrade to Windows 7, without removing your files. The upgrade paths are where it gets tricky though, as you have to do some version matching. Here they are:

  • Windows Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Business to Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Ultimate

I find it a bit odd that you can’t, say, move from Home Premium to Professional (they can only do a clean install), but when it comes to this whole versioning thing Microsoft has going on, logic hasn’t exactly been in attendance very often. You also cannot do an upgrade from 32bit to 64bit; that will require a clean install. Languages must match as well.

An interesting suggestion has been to make Windows 7 a free upgrade for current Vista owners – highly unlikely, but it would result in some major karma points for Microsoft. Another idea thrown around is that Windows 7 should be the final Ultimate Extra – also unlikely, but again, karma points galore.

Users who buy a Vista machine after July 1st (date may change) will be eligible for a free Windows 7 upgrade. And that’s about it.

It makes me long for sudo apt-get dist-upgrade. Linux has its own fair share of flaws, but they sure as Frankenfruity got this one right. I’m writing this story on my Ubuntu box, and I can’t help but chuckle at all those people trying to make sense of the above. Of which I will also be one once my two Windows Vista machines need upgrading.


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