Microsoft Windows 7 Upgrade from XP Without Buying the Full Version
Caveat: before you follow any advice in this article make sure you first run Windows Upgrade Advisor to determine if your PC can run Windows 7 and always backup your data whenever installing or upgrading to anything.
Microsoft says you can upgrade to Windows 7 from Windows XP and Vista; however what they mean by upgrade is very confusing. If you think upgrade means taking an Microsoft Windows 7 Upgrade and laying it on top of an existing XP system – it cannot be done. That only applies to Vista; in the case of XP what Microsoft means by upgrade is buying a full version of Windows 7 and doing a clean install which is not really an upgrade but a new install.
I got my copy of Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade from Amazon for $219.99 instead of the full version because I believed what they wrote:
Not sure if you need the upgrade version or the full version? You can purchase the Upgrade version of Windows 7 if you’re currently running Windows Vista or Windows XP on your PC. If you’re not running Windows XP or Windows Vista on your PC, you’ll need to purchase the Full version of Windows 7.
But when I tried to “upgrade” my Windows XP version to Windows 7
A Microsoft Customer Service rep informed me that I could only “upgrade” from XP by buying the “full” version.
Instead of returning the upgrade disc and buying the full version disc, I did the following:
- I backed up my data onto a removable hard drive although Microsoft does supply a program called Easy Transfer that you must install before running Windows 7 to help migrate your files.
- I booted from the Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade disc.
- I formatted my hard drive.
- I followed the install prompts.
- When asked for the product key, I pressed NEXT without entering the key.
- Windows finished installing.
- I removed the disc from my DVD tray and rebooted.
- Once Windows 7 came back up, I re-inserted the disc and hit the UPGRADE option (not the CUSTOM option).
- Windows will start the install – ask for the key – this time put it in. And it will reboot a number of times (don’t let it bother you) until it finishes the install
- You’re done.
Remarkably, nowhere in the process did it ask me for my original XP product key. Usually if I am upgrading software I am asked for the underlying base product key. This means: even if you never purchased XP or Vista at all, instead of laying out $100 more for the full install, simply buy the upgrade version and follow this procedure. Until Microsoft fixes this great feature.
Related articles: Tom’s Hardware – Windows XP Can Upgrade to Windows 7, Sorta, Excerpt: Microsoft
has said that it will offer upgrade options for users to move from Windows XP to Windows 7, but to be clear, those are only for purchasing software licenses. There will be no software upgrade path.
Tech Mirage – Microsoft Plans to Offer Windows 7 on USB Flash Drives, Excerpt: Looking at the heavy increase in the netbook sales, Microsoft has admitted to CNET, that they will offer the brand new OS on USB Flash drives.
Photo credit: The Boy Genius Report