With the release of Windows 7, there are many different options to upgrade. In typical Microsoft fashion, there is some complexity to upgrading to Windows 7. This blog will explain the difference between “upgrade eligibility” and “upgrade paths”, and let you know your options based on which version you are currently running.
You are eligible to purchase an upgrade to any version of Windows 7 if you own any previous version of Windows starting with XP or later. Windows 98, 2000, and ME don’t qualify you to purchase an upgrade. If the PC you want to install Windows 7 on has a version of Windows older than XP, you will need to purchase a full retail or OEM version of Windows 7.
An Upgrade Path is a scenario where you can install Windows 7 without needing to back up your files. For example, if you are currently running Windows Vista Home Premium, and you want to go to Windows 7 Ultimate, you would be able to insert the Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade disk while running Vista, it would then “convert” your Vista operating system to Windows 7 Ultimate; However, if you are currently running Vista Home Premium and you want to upgrade to Windows 7 Professional, you would have to back up your files and perform what’s called a “clean install” by rebooting your system from the disk and re-installing the operating system from scratch. You can only perform an upgrade path from the following versions of Vista to the corresponding versions of Windows 7:
Supported Upgrade Paths
|From: Windows Vista (SP1, SP2)||To: Windows 7|
|Business||Professional, Enterprise, Ultimate|
|Home Basic||Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate|
|Home Premium||Home Premium, Ultimate|
Note: If you are upgrading from any version of Windows XP you will have to perform a clean install. There are no supported Upgrade Paths from Windows XP.