Windows 7 Upgrade Cost
I've heard so many different stories about the cost of upgrading to Windows 7, that I don't know what to think. Can you clarify the Win7 upgrade price for me?
What Will a Windows 7 Upgrade Cost Me?
Microsoft Windows 7 will be released to the general public on October 22, 2009. I have discussed the pros, cons, and and migration considerations of upgrading to this long-awaited operating system previously.
Now it's time to see just what a Windows 7 upgrade will cost. Like most things Microsoftian, the answer is not simply "X bucks". It depends on who you are and what version of Windows 7 you want.
Generally, retail pricing of Windows 7 upgrades is cheaper than comparable upgrades to Vista were. That's good news for consumers. Microsoft surely wants to put the embarassment of Vista behind it as quickly as possible, so it's pricing Win7 to sell.
If you bought a copy of Windows Vista or a PC running Windows Vista after June 26, 2009, then you can upgrade to Windows 7 for free. Check the PC vendor's website for details on getting your Windows 7 upgrade.
If you're a student, you can buy Windows 7 for a mere $30 after jumping through some hoops online. This seems to be a shot at Apple which has been wooing the college market with discounts for ages, and released Snow Leopard at prices everyone had to read twice.Students who bought Windows 7 at $50 during the June-July pre-release promotion are stuck with that receipt; those who waited save $20 more. Non-students will have to pay $120 for Windows 7 Home Edition, or $200 for the Professional Edition. So hurry up and enroll somewhere, even if you drop out as soon as your Windows 7 DVD arrives.
You could also get married, adopt a teenager, and buy the Windows 7 Family Pack, which will cost $149.99 for three Windows 7 Home Premium licenses. That'll save you more than $200 over the regular cost of three licenses.
Will Windows 7 Price Drop Further?
Or maybe, like those wise students who didn't snap at the $50 offer, you should wait and see if Microsoft caves in to protests about this discrimination against the unschooled and drops the price of Windows 7 for everyone, at least during the holiday season. The company has done stranger things, like Vista for example.
At least we don't have seven different versions of Windows 7 from which to choose, as Vista offered at first. Yes, Windows 7 comes in six editions but only Home and Professional will be generally available. The others target niche markets like netbooks, "developing countries" and enterprises. That deals a blow to freelance tech journalists' incomes but simplifies life for the rest us enormously. It may even be possible for Microsoft to keep two operating systems updated and patched properly.
If cost is the decisive factor in your upgrade intentions, don't neglect the Linux option. Its price - free if you download it somewhere, generally the cost of a CD and shipping otherwise - cannot be beaten unless the vendor includes a check payable to you. Desktop consumer-friendly flavors of Linux are getting better and more popular all the time. See my related article Which Linux Version Is Right For Me? if you're thinking about exploring Linux.
Consider, also, the cost of upgrading hardware or buying a whole new computer capable of running Windows 7 at an acceptable level of performance. Take these official minimum hardware requirements (for 32-bit machines) and double them, to get a realistic idea of what you need:
|Memory (RAM)||1 GB|
|Graphics Card||DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM driver model 1.0(For Aero)|
|HDD free space||16 GB of available disk space|
|Optical drive||DVD drive (only to install from DVD/CD Media)|
If you want to use the BitLocker To Go feature, that requires a USB flash drive. And if needed, the Windows XP Mode feature in Win7 requires an additional 1 GB of RAM, an additional 15 GB of available hard disk space, and a processor capable of hardware virtualization. The good news is that Windows 7 seems a little lighter on its feet than Vista. So it will probably run just fine, even on computers that are 3 or 4 years old.
Do you have something to say about Windows 7 pricing? Post your comment or question below...
Posted by Bob Rankin on 14 Oct 2009
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