Upgrading to Windows 7

Category: Vista , 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
order to install Windows 7. What's the scoop?

Upgrading to Windows 7 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…

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Most recent comments on "Upgrading to Windows 7"

Posted by:

10 Feb 2009

Went to the download page only to be told I couldn't get the download. Seems it has expired. Che sera,sera.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, I just read that the beta expired TODAY - sorry!

Posted by:

George R Cook
10 Feb 2009

Vista / Windows 7: How about the issue of programs that work with XP but will not run under Vista. Has MicroSoft done anything to solve this issue. I have a program I designed and have around 350 users but it will not run with Vista. It was developed using Borland Builder C++ 5 and using Paradox as the database.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I doubt that W7 will differ from Vista in that respect. Which piece doesn't work on Vista, the C++ executable, or the Paradox database? Perhaps a newer compiler or database engine is available.

Posted by:

11 Feb 2009

Great coverage of the techy aspects, but the main question is: why open my wallet to make the world's richest man richer? Or in sales jargon, where's the benefits to me upgrading? So I have a glass wall I can put gadgets on?

EDITOR'S NOTE: See my prior article -- http://askbobrankin.com/windows_7_is_coming.html -- for some details on what's in W7.

Posted by:

12 Feb 2009

Hi Bob,
I am beta testing the 7000 build of Win 7. It is beta software and there are bugs and concerns chief among them is the weak UAC as shipped the UAC allow a simple VBS script to turn off UAC / or change the level without elevated privilages MS has promissed that this will be fixed in the final release.............Phil

Posted by:

12 Feb 2009

Win 7 Beta will not install on Vista Machines with nVidia 6100 series onboard Video Cards if the computer is connected to an LCD monitor. Weird.

The problem has something to do with the OS needing High Resolution at one point of the installation, and the above combination will not allow it. Near the end of installation, the LCD monitor will go black with a one pixel wide blue line at the top of the screen.

Posted by:

Gavin Coles
12 Feb 2009

Windows 7 Starter Edition for $50, will this wipe out demand for Linux Netbooks? Well no, Linux will still be $50 cheaper and will be able to run more that three programmes at a time, unlike W7SE. Just by making Windows 7 cheaper doesn't mean that people who chose Linux are suddenly going to move to Windows 7.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Very true. But it will sway people who are nervous about switching to Linux. The logic for many will be "For $50 bucks, I'll stick with the Windows environment I'm familiar with now." Right now the price difference is $200 or so, which gives much more incentive to try Linux. I love Linux, and have written extensively about it. But if MS drops price on W7, it will have an impact.

Posted by:

15 Feb 2009

You wrote: "...and according to the early testers, (Windows 7 is) everything that Vista should have been."

Those early testers then admit by their statement that those who bought Vista were all suckers by purchasing an undeveloped or flawed product. If Microsoft is willing to foist such junk on an unsuspecting public how can we be sure that Windows 7 isn't another pig in the poke? I'll stick with XP as it works just fine. No sense fixin' what ain't broke.

Posted by:

16 Feb 2009

I think Microsoft should be giving windows 7 to all vista users after all vista is nothing but a big problem to most that have it. at least give it to the ones that bought vista within the last year.all i hear are Horror stories about vista.
at least come down on the price.

Posted by:

17 Feb 2009

I've been running the Windows 7 beta in VirtualBox under Xubuntu - it's stable and slicker than XP. (Never saw Vista.)

Posted by:

09 Oct 2009

I now have a Dell desktop pc with Windows Vista that was purchased in February 2009. I have pre ordered the new Windows 7 to be delivered at home when the release date comes. My question is...will I be able to take the new 7 version out of the box and download it right over the Vista version in my pc? Any comments one way or another as to the installation?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, you can install Win7 over Vista, as an upgrade.

Posted by:

12 Jun 2010

i m user of w-7.during shutdown my lappy shows me there are still programs remain to close. but i couldn't find any programs for close. please suggest me for same.

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