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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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Upgrading from Windows XP and Windows 2000 to Windows 7

For users of Windows XP, the upgrade path for Windows 7 is quite simple – though, that’s because you’re given only one choice.

Microsoft hasn’t provided the means to perform an in-place upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7, and users will consequently have to perform a clean install. In order to make the transition a little less painful, each Windows 7 disc will ship with a migration tool dubbed “Windows Easy Transfer”. By loading the software, XP users – or, indeed, users of any Windows OS – can backup their data for easy transfer to a new operating system.

With in-place upgrades not an option, a question many may be wondering is ‘are XP users still eligible to purchase upgrade editions of Windows 7?’

The answer is yes, and the saving associated with upgrade media will be welcomed by most, but installation of a Windows 7 Upgrade edition isn’t without its complications. In order to install an upgrade version of Windows 7, users will be required to have a qualifying Windows operating system installed and activated. Microsoft states that “you cannot install an upgrade version of Windows 7 on a blank hard drive”.

But hang on, didn’t we just say that the only upgrade option for Windows XP users is a clean install?  We did, and that’s still the case. In order to install an upgrade version of Windows 7, XP users will first need to have their current operating system installed and activated with a genuine product key. Once validated, a user can insert their Windows 7 Upgrade disc and choose to perform a clean install by selecting the advanced menu option.

Looking ahead, this method could prove to be a headache for users who purchase an upgrade edition of Windows 7 as each re-install would require a copy of Windows XP to be installed and activated first.

For users of Windows 2000, or an older version of Windows, it’s bad news. You won’t be eligible to purchase an upgrade version of Windows 7. Your only option will be to purchase full-version software and to carry out a clean install.