Upgrading to Windows 7
Will I be able to upgrade my XP system to Windows 7? I'm hoping I don't have to upgrade to Vista in
In anticipation of the official release of Windows 7 slated for the end of 2009 or beginning of 2010, discussion is already taking place about the upgrade options that will be available with Microsoft's latest desktop operating system. class="imgmain" />
Windows 7 Upgrade Options
So far, it looks as if the official upgrade path to Windows 7 will be from Vista. Moving from Vista SP1 to Windows 7 is expected to be a smooth upgrade option with few hiccups; hardware that supports Vista is sufficient to support Windows 7 and driver support should be even better with Windows 7 than in Vista.
But what about the fate of those users who did not make the jump from Windows XP to Vista. Many XP users, wary over reports of software issues, hardware incompatibilities, and performance problems, have decided not to install Vista. Others who are perfectly happy with their XP systems just didn't see any benefit to switching. I count myself in the latter group.
Will XP Diehards Be Left Out In The Cold?
The easiest answer is not really. Microsoft will offer an upgrade option for those users who remained on XP. Except, the upgrade option isn't really a true "upgrade"; Microsoft will allow XP users to install a full copy of Windows 7 at a discounted price. That means a fresh install over XP. Unfortunately, that means reformatting the disk, installing Windows 7, and re-install all your software, and re-loading all your personal files (documents, spreadsheets, music, photos, etc.) from a backup.
That's a pain for sure, but I expect that some noise about this will be heard in Redmond, and perhaps they will provide a true upgrade path from XP to Windows 7. But don't hold your breath. You could always upgrade from XP to Vista to W7, without needing to format and reload all your stuff. But honestly, my opinion is that a lot of crud builds up over time in any Windows system, and upgrades only add to the mess. A fresh install of Windows 7 on a shiny clean hard drive will probably be a lot less trouble in the long run.
XP users who have systems that meet the minimum system requirements needed for Windows 7 should be in the clear to install Windows 7 on their existing systems. Minimum hardware requirements for Windows 7 are; 1 GHz processor, 1 GB memory, at least 16 GB free hard drive space and a video card that can support DX9 graphics with 128 MB memory (for the Aero interface).
If you are running XP on a system with less memory but with at least a 1GHz processor and that computer can be upgraded to at least 1 GB of RAM, you can opt to upgrade the memory. Memory is relatively inexpensive now.
If however, you are running XP on an older processor, or on a computer with less than 1 GB memory and that computer cannot be upgraded, than your best and most economical bet would be to wait until the new desktops and laptops come out pre-installed with Windows 7. Given the rapid pace of computer technology, and the corresponding price drops over time, my feeling is that a personal computer more than 4 or 5 years old is basically obsolete.
Upgrading from Vista to Windows 7
What about Vista users? Microsoft is saying that new Vista-based systems purchased after July 1, 2009 will be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 7. The caveats: this is only valid for computers that are purchased with Vista preinstalled and does not apply to systems running Vista Basic.
Like Vista, Windows 7 will be released in different versions. The versioning process is a bit simpler than was the case with Vista. In the United States, there will be three main versions of Windows 7 available; Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate. Home Premium is anticipated to be the edition most commonly sold, while Professional and Ultimate will be targeted for business users. The versions targeted for businesses have some advanced networking and encryption features but other than that, Home Premium will allow the full experience of Windows 7.
Microsoft expects that 80% of all users will be using the Home Premium or Professional version, but there will also be a Windows 7 Starter Edition, targeted at the low-end netbook (mini laptop) computers.
How Much Will Windows 7 Cost?
So how much will a copy of Windows 7 set you back? Microsoft has not made any official pricing available as of yet. Most analysts assume that pricing will be about the same as Vista, which is $199 for Basic, $259 for Home Premium, and $299 for the Business version.
But some people are speculating about a significantly lower price point for the Windows 7 Starter Edition, which is supposed to run lean and mean on netbooks. The idea is that if Microsoft priced this Starter Edition at under $50, they could pretty much wipe out the demand for Linux-based netbooks. We'll see, all of this is just guesswork for now.
If you're interested in obtaining Windows 7, now is a good time to do an analysis of your current system, see if it meets minimum requirements, do any possible upgrades, and try the beta. (See Windows 7 is Coming for more on that.) Or you can wait it out and do some shopping around when computer vendors start offering their products with Windows 7 pre-installed.
Heard any good rumors on Windows 7? Post your comments or questions below…
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 10 Feb 2009
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Upgrading to Windows 7 (Posted: 10 Feb 2009)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved