Riddle me this

by Volker Weber

What's the most used version of Windows? I believe it's Windows XP. What is Microsoft's next version of Windows? Windows 7. Which versions of Windows can be upgraded to Windows 7? Windows Vista. Unlike Vista, there are only two versions of XP, ok, plus a couple of service packs. Why can't you upgrade from XP to 7? I mean, technically.


Because they do not want you to.

Karsten W. Rohrbach, 2009-09-16

because officially, nobody uses XP anymore (any Vista >=Pro licence gives a downgrade to XP, but is a sold Vista for MS)

Samuel Orsenne, 2009-09-16

Wrong on both accounts. (a) Microsoft wants to upgrade existing XP customers. They are the largest reservoir of potential customers. (b) One should not assume they don't know their customer base.

Volker Weber, 2009-09-16

Don't let's forget the other impacts - in terms of finance and time - of making the move to 7. All the tests and analyses I've seen suggest that a PC needs to have 2Gb of memory and probably a 2GHz processor in order to make effective use of Windows 7, official 'requirements list' notwithstanding - and few PCs more than 3 or 4 years old, can even accommodate that much memory.

From all I have seen, I think that Microsoft, as well as the hardware manufacturers, will be hoping that rather than doing a migration, users who have not already moved to Vista, will be committing to a new PC purchase in order to move to Windows 7. It will cost individuals or companies quite a bit of money, but save a phenomenal amount of misery to do so.

I'd think that Microsoft will make most of its money on 7, through new purchases rather than upgrades.

Nick Daisley, 2009-09-16

Maybe it stands for Xpendable rather than Xpandable Product :-)

Moritz Schroeder, 2009-09-16

because it is windows

in detail there will be quite a lot of topics by upgrading.

Many szenarios, many unprofessional user.

Time to market - MS want to sell now / not more testing ...

Risk: Not perfect working Upgrade means many bad news in blogs ...

Martin Rosenberg, 2009-09-16

My sense is that Microsoft actually learned a lot over the last few years (my sense also is that this has been underestimated by people) and I would bet money that the reason simply is that out of learning about the massive problems people had with upgrades in the past (missing drivers, unexpected behaviours that in the end led to new installs anyway, etc.) Microsoft chose to "ask" people for a clean install to avoid such problems.

Many XP applications (and drivers for sure) are not compatible with Windows 7 and starting fresh allows to catch those inconsistencies early in the process - when people want to reinstall those (incompatible) applications.

Not saying this is great, not saying this is best for the customer, just saying what I think ... and quite frankly, I would do a clean install anyway :-)

Stefan Heinz, 2009-09-16

I agree with the hardware theory - MS clearly wants customers in the 64 bit world, with all the additional resources that come with, especially access to more RAM. "Encouraging" Win 7 upgrades on new hardware with more RAM = happy customers.

Brian Benz, 2009-09-16

Upgrading Microsoft Windows has never been a good solution. Usually slower than fresh installs, lots of left over cruft from years of installs, uninstalls, Windows Updates and miscellaneous crap in the registry (now there was a monumentally stupid idea).

Systems always perform better with a fresh install over upgrading the OS.

FDISK, the universal debugger!

Bill Brown, 2009-09-16

Not every version of Vista can be upgraded to Windows 7. A small upgrade table can be seen here.

And here a full article regarding the issue.

Stevan Bajic, 2009-09-16

@vowe: think you missed my irony tag ;)

for the rest, i totally agree with Nick Daisley and Stefan Heinz.

Samuel Orsenne, 2009-09-17

Anyone know if it's possible to migrate user data from xp to 7, maybe thru USB or Ethernet like how a mac does it from another machine over firewire or ethernet?

Bryan McDade, 2009-09-17

It seems the upgrade path Microsoft wants most consumers to follow is to buy new hardware. It makes sense because then a lot of the compatibility issues with older hardware goes away and Microsoft can book revenue when they sell the bulk licenses to OEM's versus waiting on the retail channels.

You can't upgrade from XP to Windows 7 because Microsoft said so. There are probably some changes that would make it extremely difficult, but the bottom line is Microsoft only supports direct upgrades from the most recent OS release to the latest one. So do most other OS vendors so I don't see it as a big deal. OS upgrades come with limitations.

Interestingly enough, I don't recall you questioning Apple or Ubuntu's upgrade requirements. Are they less arbitrary to you?

Charles Robinson, 2009-09-17

Good question, Charles. I never ran into any limitations there. On the Mac I have upgraded from 10.4 to 10.6 for instance. I have another machine that was upgraded from 10.2 to 10.4. None of them ever need a clean install. Same for Ubuntu. One went from 6.06 to 8.04. Another one went from 7.something (I forgot) to 8.10 to 9.04.

What makes me wonder is the brazillions of Netbooks coming into the market with XP. Those would be nice targets for Windows 7. They are pretty easy to design for, since they run on very few chipsets. Microsoft could ship Windows 7 on a chip to get those in line with their latest O/S, but they have no plans to do so. And yes, they do run pretty well with Windows 7.

Volker Weber, 2009-09-17

Apple has some strange hardware requirements for upgrades, including limiting the speed of CPU you can apply an upgrade to. I don't use OS X so I don't know how widely that might affect people or if it's a concern. From the outside looking in it just seems weird. I tried upgrading 6.06 LTS to 8.04 LTS and had some problems with a couple of apps. I followed Ubuntu's supported recommended upgrade path of installing every interim release and it worked fine.

To me at least Microsoft is being up front about what you can expect to work and I don't find it unreasonable at all. I do wish there was an easier upgrade path, though. Most consumers aren't going to know how to do the OS rip and replace that Windows 7 is going to require in most cases. I wonder if a vendor like Acronis might step in and offer something to help ease the process.

Charles Robinson, 2009-09-17

There was indeed a seemingly arbitrary limit of 866 MHz PowerPC for the upgrade to 10.5. The current version 10.6 requires an Intel processor, both 32 and 64 bit. Interestingly enough there was only one version of the operating system. During the switch from PowerPC to Intel. And when going from 32 to 64 bit.

Volker Weber, 2009-09-17

This is the official statement from the Windows Seven engineering team:

"Speaking of the real world, many have asked about upgrading from Windows XP. There's no change here to the plan as has been discussed on many forums. We realized at the start of this project that the 'upgrade' from XP would not be an experience we think would yield the best results. There are simply too many changes in how PCs have been configured (applets, hardware support, driver model, etc.) that having all of that support carry forth to Windows 7 would not be nearly as high quality as a clean install. This is something many of you know and already practice. We do provide support for moving files and settings and will prompt at setup time, but applications will need to be reinstalled. We know that for a set of customers this tradeoff seems less than perfect, but we think the upfront time is well worth it."

Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2009/04/07/delivering-a-quality-upgrade-experience.aspx

BTW: Windows Easy Transfer works just fine with XP:


It migrates program settings, files, user accounts, passwords for Live Messenger and more.

Arne Janning, 2009-09-21

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