back to article Windows 7 'upgrade' doesn't mark XP spot

The road to Windows 7 for Vista-shy customers who want to jump straight from XP to the upcoming operating system won’t be an easy one. Microsoft confirmed yesterday that Windows XP fans would be able to purchase a licence and media to “upgrade” to the new OS once it lands. But this being Redmond there is a caveat: XP …


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  1. Craig
    Gates Halo


    If you can upgrade from XP to Vista, and Vista to 7, and with 7 being basically Vista under the hood..surely it should be trivial for them to allow XP users to do a straight upgrade?

  2. Steve
    IT Angle

    Beta Test

    Wonder if they will fix that bug with the power saver thingy on me lap top.

    When running on battery the screen is dimly lit to save batt power however when I used to connect the mains to it when the thing had vista onit the screen would light up properlty.

    even in the power savings menu i ave tried to adjust teh brightness and it just laughs at me.

    How ever I found if i restart with main power in it works lol.

    And ye i have sent feedback to Microsoft!!

  3. David Webb

    Thats good!

    The upgrade media on Vista sucks, from a fresh hard drive you have to install Vista with no CD key or internet, then run the upgrade on that Vista install before you can use the upgrade key, if it has to be a fresh install for XP to work then it'll be much quicker.

  4. TeeCee Gold badge
    Gates Horns

    Anyone surprised?

    Has anyone *ever* got an MS O/S upgrade to work successfully? Even those that are supposed to?

    XP --> Vista is a well known "wipe and reinstall" setup, if you want it stable. Win 7 is just cutting out the middle man here.

    This is one of the few areas where the vitriol generally chucked at MS round here is entirely justified.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    These pills won't kill you...

    ...but they will terminate your life.

  6. david

    hook, line and pleb

    Lets see how many people take the 'Windows plebs' bait....

  7. D@v3
    Thumb Down

    6 different flavours????

    hands up who thinks they will have learned their lesson with the Vista Capable fiasco?

  8. Jonathan Schofield

    It gets my vote!

    I have been running 7 for three weeks now, and apart from some issues with Exploring on our Domain it's fabulous. Dell XPS M1330. I might even buy a proper copy.........

  9. Ken Hagan Gold badge


    XP to 7 is an OS upgrade, and it has *never* been a good idea to let the Setup program try an upgrade. (It will do its best to migrate all your malware, but unless Microsoft have tested every configuration of every Windows program ever written, the chances are they haven't tested anything similar to your system.)

    Fista to 7 is a service pack. The option of a "clean install" is the equivalent to those "XP with Service Pack 2" CDs that Microsoft eventually started shipping.

    Of course, if users actually bothered to back up, and if OEMs actually bothered to ship installation media rather than "helpfully pre-installing gigs of gobshite", the prospect of a clean installation would be "refreshing", not "scary".

  10. Richard
    Thumb Down


    Possibly. Cheeky sods!

    Still, I'd probably opt for a clean install anyway, since I'll be starting with a clean slate. Not really a good option for those managing a large network, having adopted a "We don't need no stinkin' Vista" attitude though.

  11. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Up

    And why is this a bad thing?

    I would never trust a new version of Windows to 'upgrade' for me - a clean install is the only viable way of avoiding all the registry/system crap that would otherwise be copied over.

    I give this thumbs up for being actual sensible advice from Microsoft!

  12. filey

    there you go

    obviously, upgrading vista to windows 7 will be easy as windows 7 IS vista, more like a service pack than a new OS

  13. Wortel
    Paris Hilton

    Gun, meet foot

    Another bold move by mickeysoft, to go where others have gone before to fail.

    Then again a clean install isn't such a bad idea, the only real problem is 'typical' Windows users will simply not be doing it but opt for buying yet another new pre-installed pc from the local PC Green Grocer. or should that be Green PC Grocer. oh well, sod it.

  14. The BigYin


    ...if it is going to destroy everything, change the UI to such a degree that your staff require retraining, demand massive investment in new hardware, break programs and generally cost a lot of money for untold grief; perhaps people should look at a Linux distro, even for a few minutes?

    It will still require re-training (but you could customise the hell out of Gnome/KDE/XCFS and keep that to a minimum), many programs have OpenSource equivalents (e.g. MS Office vs OpenOffice) and even if you *MUST* have the Windows prog (as does happen in the corporate world), it can hopefully run under WINE.

    Big pluses would be the saved license fees (which should more than offset any config costs), less virus attacks, better security in general. And you can still buy proper support if you want/need it.

    Not practical for everyone I absolutely agree, but not an option that should be dismissed out of hand either.

    Of course, people will most likely just unthinkingly follow the Redmond diktat.

  15. Les

    Much the best way

    In-place upgrades are best avoided when moving to a new version of Windows. A clean install will generally result in a more stable system, and it's an ideal opportunity to get rid of the 3,187[1] applications you installed, used once then forgot about. And are you suggesting that people shouldn't be routinely backing up their data anyway?

    Mine's the one with the "ODFO" sign on the back, apparently...

    [1] Approximately

  16. Slate

    No need to wipe the drive

    XP users upgrading to WIN7 Ultimate Beta don't need to back up their data, though you do need to re instsall all your programs after. The Install does it for them. It just wraps up the entire contents of your Windows and Program Files directories and stuffs them in a folder called "Windows.OLD" leaving everything else intact. Besides, Who keeps their Data on their system partition anyway?

  17. Anonymous Coward


    So, if the 'upgrade' from XP is basically a clean install, will there be any market for the clean install license in the retail sector?

    I know it's probably no different to previous versions of windows, but if the upgrade is cheaper than the standard license, I'm sure people will be able to find an XP license number somewhere.

    Still, if it will retain apps etc from Vista, and requires a fresh install from XP, it sounds ever more like Vista SP3

  18. Steve
    Thumb Up

    Good idea....

    I would never use an "in-place" upgrade if it was avoidable anyway! I always use a fresh/spare hard drive and leave the original intact so that if it all goes pearshaped I can simply put the old one back in and get back to normal. Even if an "in-place" upgrade was available you'd still be best advised to do a backup anyway!

  19. zenkaon

    Vista SP2

    even more proof that this is just Vista SP2.

    Have to say though, if the final release is anything like the beta, this thing is gonna be fast

  20. Anonymous Coward


    so after screwing me with Vista they want me to pay them to fix it?

    Go fuck em im going to use somethign else!

  21. Nigel Wright

    No big deal then, is it?

    Any sensible person would do a clean install anyway...upgrades have a habit of going horribly wrong at the best of times.Granted, non-savvy users might struggle with the concept of backing up data and then restoring it, but it's hardly difficult if they read a few books first.

  22. Mage Silver badge


    If Win7 inplace upgrade of vista works well that would prove that it's really Vista SP3.

    (There is a separate Vista SP2 coming out)

  23. Anonymous Coward


    What you say is all true, but it does point out just low poor quality the OS is, doesn't it? The user's files and the system files should have nothing to do with each other.

    Will Windows EVER be ready for the normal desktop user?

  24. Richard Pennington

    Simple process for upgrading without getting into too much trouble...

    I was always taught not to get myself into anything I couldn't get myself out of ... i.e. don't do anything irreversible. With that in mind...

    You will need a new hard drive and a hard drive enclosure. It is also assumed that you don't mind opening up the machine.

    Step 1: Open up the machine and remove the existing hard drive.

    Step 2: Put the new (empty) hard drive into the space thus vacated.

    Step 3: Perform the (clean) install of Windows 7 onto the empty drive.

    Step 4: While waiting for step 3 to complete, put the old hard drive into the disk enclosure, setting it up as an external drive.

    Step 5: Boot up in Windows 7, and use the old disk - with all of your data - as the external drive.

    Step 6: If you don't like how Windows 7 operates, you can always reverse the procedure to get back to XP (which at step 5 is still intact on the external drive).

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    what about upgrading from the windows 7 beta?

    And will there be a gap between the beta expiring and the release where I have no windows?

  26. Richard Lloyd

    Most home users don't upgrade their OS ever

    I suspect 95% of home users never upgrade the OS on their machine (or if they have to, they get someone else, be it a nerd friend or PC World, to do it). Can you really see the average Joe Bloggs in the street backing up their data and app installers (if they are downloads particularly), booting from a Windows 7 CD, trudging through a Windows installer (which they'll probably have never seen before) and the restoring their data and running the app installers (some of which may not work). And how do they go back to XP if any of the above fails?

    What MS should release is what Linux has had for years - live DVD installers, so you can boot into a DVD-based Windows 7 desktop, check your hardware works and maybe even try to install some of your old apps and check that they work along with trying out some of the backed up data with the apps too, though I'm not sure how easy that would be to do in a live Windows environment.

    Basically, what MS are saying is that there is *no* upgrade path directly from XP to Windows 7 at all - the procedure they describe is a clean install. If you're going to go for a clean install, why not play with a live CD of Ubuntu/OpenSUSE/Fedora and see if stuff like WINE will run your Windows apps? If you go ahead and install Linux, you can always keep the XP install, dual boot and not "need" Windows 7 at all...

  27. Richard
    Gates Halo

    So what's new?

    XP users will be quite familiar with clean installs considering the average XP install slows to a crawl and needs wiping after 6 months anyway. Nothing to see here.

  28. Nathan

    Just like XP was when it first came out...

    Why are people complaining about vista still? Remember when XP came out, everyone was like "oh my god it requires so much more hardware than Win2000" I ran XP on a 850mhz AMDk6 with 128MB of ram and thought to myself "what the hell are people talking about, I can run XP on a 4 year old computer" Now in the days of Vista I can still run it on a 4 year old computer... 1.8ghz AMD Turion (MOBILE) 1GB RAM and runs Vista perfectly fine, I can even process 1080p HD content off it... I cant even play 1080p content without massive hickups in Ubuntu (same laptop using VLC in both Vista and Ubuntu)

    I've been using Vista since the week it was released and never had any issues with it, If I were to use any flavor of Linux I would be kicking myself trying to get all the hardware working properly. 2.5 Quad AMD, duel Radeon HD4850s, (four) 22 inch wide screen Samsungs, 8GBs ram and 12TBs of assorted harddrives (including 2 10k RPM HDDs in Raid0), HD TV tuner card, Creative Audigy2... (thats my one and a half year old computer)

    Seriously If your computer is four years old or newer, you can run vista....

  29. Bumhug


    "Still, I'd probably opt for a clean install anyway, since I'll be starting with a clean slate. Not really a good option for those managing a large network, having adopted a "We don't need no stinkin' Vista" attitude though."

    Those managing a large network are not going to go round running an upgrade on each pc. They may put on their timesheets that they spent 20 hours over the weekend upgrading pc's but most of that will be spent in the pub while the pc copies an image accross from a server

  30. Dale


    So they shot themselves in the foot with Vista, and then realised they still had the other foot to take care of. Nice, balanced solution.

  31. Jodo Kast

    Same old Microsoft...

    I'll stick with XP Media Center Edition, until a new version of Windows gives me more features.

    No more features = waste of money.

    XP can run Windowblinds to give you a nice Aero interface. Besides that, there's not much to Vista or Windows 7 except more money for Microsoft.

  32. Greg

    I'd wipe anyway!

    Whenever I get a laptop with a Windows OEM install on it, I flatten it and start again. Best thing to do, really. Gets it nice and stable, and gets rid of the crap.

    I know full well that if I let MS do an upgrade from XP to 7, there will be all sorts of crap left behind on my hard drive, and it probably won't be as stable for whatever reason. So I'd rather do the wipe + clean install anyway.

    The only OS I trust to upgrade itself is Ubuntu.

  33. Toastan Buttar

    It's spelt "U-P-G-R-A-Y-E-D-D"

    The two D's are for a "double-dose of pimpin".

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    More importantly...

    How much will Vista owners get charged to upgrade? At least XP users have had 6 years of a very decent OS. Vista users, it's been nothing but pain. I would be very annoyed if the upgrade price was the same...

  35. Francis

    A clean slate is good for any OS

    Why would you NOT want to have a clean install? IMO that's just lazy. Just like cleaning your house, your computer needs cleaning every now and then and a good sort of spring cleaning every couple of years at least. Regardless of the OS you use. Apple pretends you don't need to do that because they know their audience is technically challenged, not because it doesn't help.

  36. James O'Shea Silver badge
    Gates Horns

    re Vista SP2

    No, WIn 7 is _not_ Vista SP2. I know, 'cause I have Vista SP2 beta running on one of my WinBoxes right now.

    Win 7 is Vista SP3.

  37. Jon Eiche

    Money to Be Made

    It seems to me that a company such as Acronis or Laplink could make some money here with a utility that would back up your apps and data, then fold them back in after you've done the fresh install of Win 7.

  38. Peter Kay

    Dumb move..

    Personally I always prefer a fresh install, but given that many people are prejudiced against buying Vista, requiring them to do a fresh reinstall is going to hurt sales to some degree.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    What's the beef?

    Not sure I see why this is an issue? Vista is a top OS anyway, so most people who wanted a seamless upgrade will already have moved on from XP to Vista and can do so again now onto Vista2.

  40. Anonymous Coward


    "XP users will be quite familiar with clean installs considering the average XP install slows to a crawl and needs wiping after 6 months anyway. Nothing to see here."

    I have an average XP install.

    It's still as perky and stable as it was two years ago and has never been reinstalled. Perhaps it's the average user who needs severely refreshing periodically.

    In fact, mine's running so reliably that I think I'll pass on MS' generous upgrade offer and leave it as it is.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    It's a conspiracy!

    Apple have got someone in the marketing department! That is the only rational reason that I acn think of. No-one would willingly want to fuck up a new product launch this much...

  42. This post has been deleted by its author

  43. FreeTard

    Vista is fast enough, as long as... stop a bucket load of services.

    Such as :

    well, almost everything. Especially that ridiculous resource hog desktop themes. I mean, come on, 300 meg or sommat it uses.

    Bloody useless. I actually got a decent speed out of my brothers 1GB vista premium box.

    Might give Vista V2 a go though, maybe.

  44. Kenny Swan


    Funny how everyone's an expert on an OS still in public Beta and who have never seen the source code or developed for. Why don't you all just wait and see how things pan out for once and do something a little more productive than moaning about how much of a disaster Windows 7 will be? Will there ever be an OS worthy of you?

  45. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    @Mark Legosz

    So when there's a discussion about mobile phones and car accidents, you get tired that someone ALWAYS mentions the idea of turning the mobile phone off?

    Migrating to Linux is a viable solution.

    If it were being said in a discussion about Windows 7 sales figures, THEN you'd have something to complain about, but it is completely appropriate here.

  46. OffBeatMammal
    Gates Halo

    it's good practice anyway

    if you've been running a WinXP machine for more than 6 months it's probably a good idea to take a backup and clear out the cruft.

    I very rarely do version to version updates for that reason, and with the Tranfer Wizard and various data backup options it's not the same scale problem it was 5-1`0 years ago

  47. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: Just like XP was when it first came out...

    "Why are people complaining about vista still? Remember when XP came out, everyone was like "oh my god it requires so much more hardware than Win2000""

    Well it does.

    Vista and Windows 7 use a lot more hardware than XP and FAR MORE than Win2000. This doesn't stop XP using more than Windows2000, though.

    But you can't GET Win2K any more. Applications are now becoming dated and unsupported for Win2K. So comparing 7 to 2K is not possible: it is no longer available.

    In 12 years time when XP is unable to be an OS, come back.

  48. John Savard Silver badge

    How About Dual Boot?

    Generally speaking, a safer way to install an upgrade version would be to install it in another partition as a clean install, and use your old software in your old operating system. If that can still be done, and the license allows it, then Windows 7 would have a useful upgrade option from XP available; I agree that a replacement clean install is not a particularly useful option.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Linux fanboys?

    Why the anti MS storeis all the time?

  50. Steve

    XP REinstall

    Hmm So I am not the only one noticed that XP needs a reinstall after about 6 months.. Thank god for Norton Ghost eh.

    Also there is still people out there who insist on storing all there data on one drive with out even partioning it. (Prefer seperate drives my self)


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