A few days ago we released our Windows 7 upgrade guide with the hopes of answering all your burning questions regarding the inexpensive upgrade editions that so many of us have pre-ordered. One of the questions that we couldn’t answer at the time however, was how Windows 7 would handle the verification process to ensure that you were eligible to update. In Windows XP upgrade editions, you simply needed to insert an older install disk. Vista upped the ante considerably by requiring you to have a previous version installed (no activation required). Windows 7 on the other hand, will now require an activated previous version to be installed and not even the workaround found in the Vista version will be permitted.
This will no doubt become a point of controversy among Maximum PC readers since to be honest, this is a real hassle. As PC enthusiasts we tend to be fond of frequent re-installs either due to constantly changing hardware, or perhaps even just to regain performance lost after experimenting with too many of Murphy’s Freeware picks. The only good news I learned from all of this, is that the Windows 7 RC will serve as a qualifying previous version (assuming of course that it’s activated). I would highly advise readers who purchased the upgrade edition run an imaging program such as Acronis True Image, to take a snapshot of your drive before you install the Windows 7 upgrade. You’ll need to decompress the image back onto the drive each time you do a fresh install, but it will certainly save you a great deal of time compared to installing and activating two separate OSs each time you want to start over.
The amount of information pouring out of Redmond these days about Windows 7 is unprecedented, and so is the level of enthusiasm. In a frantic attempt to make sense of it all, Maximum PC has been releasing our ongoing Feature Focus series, which hopefully, has helped you determine wither upgrading to Windows 7 is worth it for you. Once you made that decision however, or buy a new PC that’s upgrade eligible, do you know exactly what you’re getting? Can I upgrade from Windows XP? Do I need to buy the same product edition when upgrading? Can I go from 32 bit to 64 bit? These are just a few of the many questions we seek to answer after the jump.