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Upgrading to Windows 7

by Parm Mann on 27 July 2009, 16:51

Tags: Windows 7, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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Introduction

Microsoft’s Windows 7 has thus far impressed both users and critics, and the software will be reaching store shelves on October 22nd.

With millions of users expected to migrate to Microsoft’s next release, we reckon many might be wondering what their upgrade options are. Given the complicated nature of the multiple editions of Windows 7 to be made available, upgrading to the upcoming OS is anything but straight forward.

In this guide, we’ll explain the options available to users wanting to upgrade from Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows Vista systems. However, before we do, let’s clear up a few terms that you’ll come across in the following pages.

In-place upgrade
An in-place upgrade refers to the installation of a new operating system from within an existing operating system. For example, a user running Windows Vista could insert a Windows 7 disc and begin an “in-place upgrade” direct from the Vista desktop. Following an on-screen wizard, and a few hours of installation, the system would reboot with Windows 7 as the new operating system. This method can be used to preserve system applications and data.

Clean install
Consider this as the exact opposite to an in-place upgrade. Instead of preserving data and applications, a system’s hard drive is wiped and Windows 7 is installed afresh. Although this requires a user to re-install applications, it is our preferred upgrade path and is known to be less problematic.

Upgrade edition or full edition
We’ll often refer to two varieties of Windows 7 – upgrade editions, and full editions. The difference between the two is simple, upgrade editions are applicable only to users who own a prior eligible Windows operating system. As a reward to existing customers, upgrade editions are notably cheaper to purchase when compared to full editions.

Happy with those? Good, let’s start with the options available to Windows XP/Windows 2000 users.