Microsoft to offer XP-to-Windows 7 upgrades

But XP upgrade customers will have to do a "clean" installation of Windows 7, meaning that all data on their machine will be lost.

Microsoft Tuesday confirmed that it will sell what it calls "upgrades" for Windows 7 to users running the aged Windows XP operating system.

Those users, however will have to do a "clean" installation of Windows 7, meaning that all data on the machine will be lost.

"Regarding XP, customers can purchase upgrade media and an upgrade license to move from Windows XP to Windows 7," a company spokeswoman said in an e-mail Tuesday morning. "However, they will need to do a clean installation of Windows 7."

In a follow-up reply to questions, the spokeswoman fleshed out what Microsoft means by upgrade. "The 'upgrade' part is referring to the license," she said. "You will be able to get the discounted 'upgrade' license, but it will include full bits."

That's how David Smith, an analyst with Gartner Inc., interpreted "upgrade" in Microsoft's description of what it would offer XP owners. "They're talking about the upgrade price," he said, pointing out that most software vendors use the term to designate a lower-priced version aimed at existing customers.

Although Microsoft Tuesday spelled the six planned versions of Windows 7 , it declined to provide pricing for them, or for the XP upgrade licenses.

Typically, an operating system upgrade offers users the choice between an in-place migration of the machine -- including installed applications and all data -- and a fresh installation, which overwrites the hard drive's contents. When Microsoft launched Windows Vista in January 2007, for example, it offered people then running XP those upgrade paths.

Smith and other analysts applauded Microsoft's decision to not provide in-place upgrades from XP to Windows 7. "I'm not a big fan of them," said Smith. "They're tough enough from one version to the next, and from two versions [behind], it would be pretty challenging, technically."

Michael Gartenberg, formerly an analyst at JupiterResearch, and now a vice president of mobile strategy with JupiterMedia, agreed. "For most end users, it will probably mean that they end up with a more reliable installation," he said.

Microsoft benefits, too. "It makes life a lot easier for Microsoft by not having to support an XP to Windows 7 transition," said Gartenberg. "It means that it's something they can get out the door earlier."

Microsoft has been aggressively pushing Windows 7's timetable. Just two weeks after it launched the first -- and in the end, the only -- public beta of the new operating system, the head of Windows development said the company is moving directly to "release candidate."

But the process of upgrading a PC from Windows XP to Windows 7 won't be easy, Gartenberg predicted. "It's a double-edged sword. For many consumers who may be looking to go directly from XP to Windows 7, the idea of doing a clean install, backing up their applications, backing up their data, can lead to a lot of hassles," he said.

"Considering that there's a lot of XP out there, one has to wonder why Microsoft is taking this approach," Gartenberg added. "It's not going to be the simplicity of sticking a disc in the drive and upgrading. We'll have to see if that affects the upgrade market."

Microsoft said it was working on ways to help Windows XP users make the move, but would not get specific. "Microsoft plans to have other tools and ways to help people get through that process, but we don't have full details on that at this time," the company's spokesman said today.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Windows 7xp

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?