Some cheap PCs aren't eligible for free Win 7 upgrade

Microsoft says it isn't offering free upgrades to buyers of cheap PCs preloaded with Vista Home Basic

Many potential buyers of laptops priced under US$300 in the U.S. had an unpleasant surprise over the weekend: The machines would not be eligible for a free upgrade to Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 operating system.

Wal-Mart and Best Buy attracted plenty of buyers for laptops during a promotional offering of laptops priced under $300.

Some of those laptops sold out just one day after the offers began. The prices were respectable considering the generous features, including large screens, better graphics and DVD drives, which are not typically found in most low-cost netbooks today.

However, the laptops came preloaded with the Windows Vista Home Basic OS, which does not include a free upgrade to Windows 7 in the U.S. Instead, consumers will have to shell out about $120 to upgrade the operating system.

Mainstream laptop prices have dipped under the $300 mark just a few times over the past few years. Last week Best Buy initiated a price war by offering a fully equipped Acer laptop for less than $300. Wal-Mart responded by selling a $298 Compaq Presario CQ60-419WM from Hewlett-Packard.

Best Buy soon countered by offering for $298 Toshiba's Satellite L305-S5955, which is still available on the retailer's Web site.

Many potential buyers left questions on Wal-Mart's Web site asking if the laptop was eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 7. Vista has been panned by critics for being sluggish and resource-hungry. Windows 7, due for release on Oct. 22, has been praised by beta testers as faster and more efficient.

Retailers are still offering many inexpensive PCs that aren't eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 7. Best Buy and Wal-Mart are still offering many inexpensive netbooks, laptops and all-in-one PCs from Acer, Gateway and other PC makers preloaded with Windows Vista Home Basic.

Hewlett-Packard, which makes Compaq laptops, wasn't offering a free upgrade from Vista Home Basic to Windows 7 because Microsoft wasn't providing such an upgrade path to PC makers in the U.S., according to HP spokeswoman Ann Finnie.

Microsoft is providing a free upgrade to Windows 7 for consumers who buy a PC with Windows Vista Home Premium, Business or Ultimate, said a spokeswoman from Microsoft's public relations firm.

But it won't offer an upgrade with Vista Home Basic because there won't be a Home Basic version of Windows 7 offered in the U.S., she said. Windows 7 Home Basic edition will only be offered in developing countries.

"Microsoft and its partners will continue to evaluate and offer additional programs such as the Windows Upgrade Option through launch, but we have nothing to share at this time," the spokeswoman said.

Microsoft has listed an upgrade path from Vista Home Basic to multiple versions of Windows 7.

Users can buy an upgrade version of Windows 7 from retailers with prices starting at $120.

Join the newsletter!

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

Tags upgradesWindows VistaMicrosoftWindowsWindows 7PCs

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

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?