William Stanek: Windows 7: Inside Track, Part 2 “Upgrades and Migrations”

William here. Last time, I talked about 64-bit installations, applications and hardware. So now let’s start looking at what upgrade and migration options are available for Windows 7. You’ve probably heard some grumblings about this already. Mac users seem to voice the complaints the most (though few seem to remember the OS 9 to OS X days [you know: classic, blue box, Carbon, etc.] or the fact every release from Cheetah to Snow Leopard has been a dot rev of 10).

The simple truth is Windows Vista represented a radical departure from previous releases of desktop Windows operating systems. Windows 7 is the continuing evolution of this brave new world. This brave new world brought PC users truckloads of new features and capabilities, including

  • Language independence

  • Modularization

  • Hardware independence

  • Windows imaging

  • Windows PE 2.0 (to replace the MS DOS)

  • Windows Pre-boot environment

This brave new world put up a dividing line between earlier desktop releases of Windows and everything that comes after. It is the reason why you can’t upgrade Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, or Windows XP to Windows 7. Setting aside Windows XP for a moment, why in the world would you want to drag forward Win 95/98/ME baggage? That would be a nightmare even if you could as you’re coming from what was primarily an MS DOS and 16-bit world to full on 32-bit (and 64-bit options largely didn’t even exist back then).

Now back to Windows XP. You can’t upgrade directly from Windows XP to Windows 7. Only Windows Vista includes upgrade paths from Windows XP. This is because the baggage required to support the transition from Windows XP (a legacy OS) to the new architecture is enormous. If you absolutely must upgrade, you could upgrade Windows XP to Windows Vista and then upgrade Windows Vista to Windows 7. Licensing options should be available, as you likely only need a few Vista licenses to support such a transition (but would need to confirm for enterprise scenarios). But again, why drag around legacy baggage? Why not make a clean break to the new architecture? Your installations will be cleaner and your PC operations will run more smoothly.

As both Windows Vista and Windows 7 implement the new architecture, you can of course upgrade Windows Vista to Windows 7. The upgrade options are fairly straightforward but there are some gotchas and these gotchas exist because Windows gives you so many options.

To get started, you’ll need to ensure your computers are running at least Service Pack 1 (SP1) to upgrade. Only Windows Vista with SP1 or SP2 can be upgraded to Windows 7. Generally, you can upgrade like or higher editions. This means you can upgrade from:

  • Windows Vista Home Basic to Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium or Ultimate

  • Windows Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Home Premium or Ultimate

  • Windows Vista Business to Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate

  • Windows Vista Enterprise to Windows 7 Enterprise

  • Windows Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Ultimate

If you’ve purchased a computer with a home edition of Windows Vista, you may want to go to a business edition of Windows 7. You can do this, and without having to shell out the additional cash for Windows 7 Ultimate. As with Windows Vista, Windows 7 supports anytime upgrades. With an anytime upgrade, you can go from more basic editions of Windows 7 to higher editions of Windows 7. This means you can upgrade from:

  • Windows 7 Home Basic to Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate

  • Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate

  • Windows 7 Professional to Windows 7 Ultimate

Thus, you could upgrade a home edition of Windows Vista to a home edition of Window 7 and then anytime upgrade that home edition to Windows 7 Professional. And if you’ve done an anytime upgrade before, you know it’s fast and easy.

Well, that’s it for now. In my next post—Windows 7: Inside Track, Part 3 “More on Upgrades and Migrations”—I’ll resume this discussion and dig deeper into upgrades and migrations.

William R. Stanek

williamstanek at aol dot com

Twitter at https://twitter.com/WilliamStanek

Comments (1)
  1. Kevin says:

    Thank you for the info. I guess your right, windows 98 has now become like the old rocking chair…

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