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...