Report: XP downgraders to receive free Windows 7 upgrades

Free or discounted upgrades will also apply to PCs with factory-installed XP, says TechARP.com

Microsoft Corp. will provide free or discounted Windows 7 upgrades not only to users who buy Vista PCs between June 2009 and January 2010, but also to people who buy a system that's been factory-downgraded to Windows XP, according to a report on the Web.

TechARP.com, a Malaysian Web site that earlier this year leaked Microsoft's upgrade plans, said Saturday that users who purchase a PC equipped with a Windows XP downgrade will also be eligible for the "Windows 7 Upgrade Option" program.

In Microsoft's terminology, "downgrade" describes the Windows licensing rights that let users of newer versions replace the OS with an older edition without having to pay for another license. In effect, the license for the newer Windows is transferred to the older edition.

The inclusion of new PCs running Windows XP shouldn't come as any surprise, since by definition, those systems also come with a license for Vista. "Unlike actual Windows XP installations, [these PCs] come with a Windows Vista COA (Certificate of Authenticity) and are therefore eligible for the upgrade program," said TechARP. "Hence, users with Windows XP downgrade licenses can upgrade to Windows 7."

Because Microsoft allows downgrades only from Vista Business and Vista Ultimate, the free or discounted upgrades to Windows 7 will be for Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Ultimate, respectively, claimed TechARP.

One caveat: Windows XP users will not be able to do an in-place upgrade to Windows 7, as can people running Vista. Instead, XP owners will have to do a clean install of Windows 7 that overwrites the hard drive's contents.

Computer makers will be allowed to start shipping the Windows 7 upgrade media to customers when Microsoft announces the general availability of the new operating system.

As with the Vista Express Program, a similar marketing effort that offered free or discounted upgrades to Vista to people who purchased an XP-equipped machine during the three months leading to Vista's launch, PC makers will be allowed to set their own pricing for the Windows 7 upgrades. Three years ago, PC makers charged a variety of prices for the XP-to-Vista upgrades. Hewlett-Packard Co., for example, gave away the upgrades, but others, such as Dell Inc., charged users $49.

According to TechARP, new PCs purchased between June 26, 2009, and Jan. 31, 2010, with a downgrade to XP Professional Service Pack 3 (SP3) will be eligible for a free Windows 7 upgrade. The site also said that XP users will be able to run Windows Easy Transfer from the Windows 7 installation disc prior to upgrading; that utility will let users save files and some Windows settings to an external drive, such as a flash drive, then after the hard drive is wiped and Windows 7 installed, migrate those files and settings to the new operating system.

Although Microsoft has not committed to a delivery date for Windows 7, last month the company inadvertently revealed that it will post a release candidate next month.

Microsoft was not immediately available for comment Monday, but it has previously declined to comment on reports of its Windows 7 upgrade offers.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Windows 7windows xptecharp

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

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?