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Upgrade Facts

Upgrading the operating system ensures that files and applications are maintained on the computer and do not need to be reinstalled. There are two types of upgrades:

Type Description
Intra-edition upgrade An intra-edition upgrade is when an existing installation of Windows 7 is upgraded to another edition of Windows 7. The general rule is that any edition of Windows 7 can be upgraded to another Windows 7 edition. The exception to this rule is upgrades to Enterprise, as this version is only available to volume licensing customers. Downgrades are not possible and must be done through a new installation.

Intra-edition upgrade paths and exceptions

There are two basic methods for Windows 7 intra-edition upgrades:

  • Use the installation media and the new edition's product key for organizations with a large number of intra-edition upgrades.
  • Use Windows Anytime Upgrade to pay for the upgrade over the Internet, and unlock the new edition's features for home users or small business with a small number of intra-edition upgrades.
Previous Windows version upgrade Upgrading from a previous version of Windows to Windows 7 is only available if the installed operating system is Windows Vista SP1 or higher.

Previous version upgrade paths and exceptions

Be aware of the following previous version upgrade details:

  • You can purchase an upgrade version of Windows 7 with special pricing if you currently run Windows Vista or Windows XP. The upgrade version of the installation can be installed as a clean installation, regardless of the current operating system you are using.
  • To install Windows 7 from Windows Vista, you can perform a clean or an upgrade installation.
  • An upgrade installation from Windows XP to Windows 7 is not available. To install Windows 7 from Windows XP, you must perform a clean/custom installation.
  • At least 10 GB of free disk space is required for the upgrade from Windows Vista.

Regardless of the upgrade type, consider the following:

  • The Windows 7 license key is required during the upgrade.
  • Cross-architecture upgrades are not supported (for example, upgrading from x86 to x64).
  • Use the Upgrade Advisor tool to determine your computer's hardware readiness for Windows 7. The Upgrade Advisor evaluates your computer's hardware and software, and then creates a detailed report explaining which components either meet, exceed, or fall short of Windows 7 requirements. Before using the Upgrade Advisor:
    • Ensure that your computer has the latest Windows updates.
    • Connect all hardware you plan to use to your computer, such as printers, cameras, and scanners.