Redmond-based Microsoft is set to release Windows 7 on the market in about two months and a half, on October 22, and, as the launch day approaches, some of those who already own a license for Windows XP or Windows Vista are considering ways of upgrading to the new client. The software giant already announced the pricing for upgrading to Windows 7, as well as the full retail cost of different flavors of the platform, and now a chart showing the upgrade path from current Windows versions to the upcoming Windows 7 has been unveiled.
The upgrade chart shows existing consumer versions of Windows XP and Windows Vista on one side and three versions of Windows 7 listed at the top. As one can easily see, the upgrade to a flavor of the new Windows 7 implies either a custom install, which, basically means that the hard disk needs to be wiped clean before installation, or an in-place upgrade, which “Keeps your files, settings, and programs intact from your current version of Windows.”
While the in-place upgrade seems to be a comfortable move, the custom install is a little more complicated and will probably consume a lot of time and energy for most users out there. As Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal notes, in case a computer has only one hard disk, all files will have to be relocated on an external solution, after which the hard disk will be wiped clean and the installation performed. Of course, the process does not end here, as users will also need to move their files back on the disk, install the applications they need, update them, make customizations, etc.
Some of the upgrade options that can be seen on the chart might not make sense to some, such as the possibility to upgrade from an older 64-bit Windows to a new 32-bit one. Even so, it can be easily noticed that in-place upgrades can be performed only when moving from a 32-bit platform to a 32-bit Windows 7 flavor, or from a 64-bit Windows Vista to a 64-bit Windows 7. All “cross upgrades” will need custom installs, and this might be the reason why they are listed there. At the same time, upgrading from Windows XP will also need a custom install, though Microsoft already announced that previously.
As for the prices that upgrading to different flavors of the OS would imply, they have been already unveiled a while ago: Windows 7 Home Premium (Upgrade): $119.99; Windows 7 Professional (Upgrade): $199.99; and Windows 7 Ultimate (Upgrade): $219.99. What hasn't been known until recently was the cost of Windows 7 Family Pack and Windows Anytime Upgrade options. The former has been officially priced at $149.99 for three Windows 7 Home Premium licenses, as for WAU, Microsoft announced the following upgrade prices: Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Home Premium: $79.99; Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional: $89.99; and Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Ultimate: $139.99.