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Windows 7 Will Downgrade To But Not Upgrade From XP

Gordon Kelly


Windows 7 Will Downgrade To But Not Upgrade From XP

Hopefully it's not too late to ask Microsoft to reverse this...

In a classic case of not giving the public what they want, the Redmond giant has today confirmed that Windows 7 users will be able to downgrade their operating systems to Windows XP, but XP users will be unable to upgrade to Windows 7.

Speaking on its Windows 7 blog, the team confirmed: "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."

Perhaps equally frustrating, Windows 7 beta testers are likely to be denied an upgrade route to the impending Release Candidate with the team confirming in the same post "We know that means reinstalling, recustomizing, reconfiguring, and so on. That is a real pain. The reality is that upgrading from one pre-release build to another is not a scenario we want to focus on because it is not something real-world customers will experience."

That said, given Windows 7 is so far shaping up to be what Windows Vista should have been at launch Microsoft has been working hard on a downgrade option from 7 to XP! "This is not the first time that Microsoft has offered downgrade rights to a version other than its immediate predecessor," confirmed a Microsoft spokesperson to Betanews "and our Software Assurance customers can always downgrade to any previous version of Windows."

Of course XP users could always upgrade to Vista then upgrade to Windows 7, but don't come running to me if your PC consequently grows six fingers, a third nipple and leans to play the banjo really fast...


via Windows 7 Team Blog

via BetaNews


April 7, 2009, 7:53 pm

"In a classic case of not giving the public what they way,.."

There's a typo there somewhere...


April 7, 2009, 8:51 pm

I assume that Vista users will have to pay for the upgrade to Windows 7?

*he said half-heartedly, already guessing at the answer*


April 7, 2009, 8:58 pm

@TheEvilGenius - I think that's a given. It would be lovely if MS had a change of heart and released it as a Vista service pack, but I can't see that happening.

I'm also hoping that I can upgrade my Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Home Premium. I got Ultimate for free from Dell, but I don't want to pay (the huge) price for the 7 Ultimate upgrade.


April 7, 2009, 10:03 pm

@Ohmz - thanks, this should have been fixed by whoever moderated the comment. Fixed now.


April 7, 2009, 10:07 pm

@ Gordon, ooh, looks like somebody's in trouble eh?


April 7, 2009, 10:38 pm

What is wrong with this? Yes it is normal that you can downgrade to XP but not upgrade.

You can downgrade to Windows 2000, 98SE, 98, 95, 3.1.. there is no problem! Microsoft always offered this. And obviously you can't upgrade. Else I have a copy of Win3.1 and I would like to upgrade to Windows7... What? sound silly? Well the same applies for XP.


April 7, 2009, 11:04 pm

@Bytes - no not really. I'd like to see you running XP apps on Windows 3.1.

Furthermore, making the route to upgrade from by far its most popular operating system to Windows 7 makes a huge amount of sense given the general antipathy towards Vista. Forcing a fresh install will only encourage antipathy towards Windows 7 - an OS which so far has suggested it doesn't deserve that.


April 7, 2009, 11:11 pm

This is just clarification from MS, not worthy of all this dissent. It's always been common knowledge that as a beta you would have to re-install. Frankly I was very pleasantly shocked when I found I could upgrade the beta to a later build without any re-install.

XP to Win7: I agree with MS here it'll be a better experience for users not to bring their XP junk with them and start afresh. XP will be what, 10 years(?) old when 7 comes out, anyone upgrading should be glad they can't upgrade. And the downgrade option, I don't see why they are bothering. Legacy apps aside there will be little reason to stick to XP once 7 is released.

Vista to Win7 upgrade: anyone thinking this'll be free is crazy; they are a business. 3 years on from Vista, it brings a wealth of new features, interface enhancements and runs far more efficiently. There's more than enough in it to justify a new release and anyway what will an upgrade cost? &#16340-60(?) hardly a 'huge' amount even if these hard times.

They've done what few software companies have done for the last 10 years, they've brought out a new version of their software that has more, but is easier to use, takes up less space and runs faster. They've acknowledged people don't need super fast machines, that the hardware of 5 years ago is enough for most people and made an OS that runs well on that. This is a major shift in strategy for MS and they should be appreciated for it (it's why I bother posting things like this sticking up for them). Ms ain't so evil anymore, even if it's the changing times and competition that's finally forced them to listen, at least they finally have.


April 8, 2009, 2:30 am

I am sure I have made this point before but XP the vast majority of user will migrate to 7. As mentioned above XP will be 10 years old and only be useful for as long as Microsoft continues development support. Meaning user wanting support for USB 3.0, SSD drives and all the next gen hardware will have to jump ship. Obviously Microsoft product e.g. Office, Media Centre, etc will be phased out for XP as they were for 2000. It is simply a matter of time before XP feels dated. I have been on 7 beta since release day and XP is becoming a hazy memory.


April 8, 2009, 1:11 pm

Is there some misunderstanding here? The 'downgrade to XP' is not an actual downgrade to XP - it's the right to use XP in place of Windows 7, if you have a Windows 7 licence. I think this is actually quite reasonable of Microsoft.

For example, where I work we have a corporate volume licensing deal that actually covers us for Vista - however, we don't have to use Vista, we are licensed for any previous version of Windows.


April 8, 2009, 1:55 pm


I can't see many users at all migrating from an older OS to Windows 7. The overwhelming majority of users use the OS that comes with their PC. Only enthusiasts and a small percentage of bog standard users will buy Windows 7 for their existing PC.

Look at the take up for Vista. MS wanted people to believe it was the second coming yet most people flicked Microsoft the V-sign and said "I'll just stick with what I've got thanks" and this was before all the negative press!

I'll personally buy Windows 7 for my main rig at home but I won't be buying it for my Vaio as that runs perfectly fine on Vista.

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