Windows 7 Easy Upgrade Path Truth Table/Chart
Wow, everyone is moving up to Windows 7. I'm looking forward, as IT Manager for the Hanselman Family, to upgrading everyone. New OS for all the cousins and uncles and what-not is always a highlight of my year.
Personally, I think Windows 7 is a good time to do a "clean" install. Most people have decent internet speeds and there's just nothing quite like the fresh minty smell of a new install.
Disclaimer: I don't work for the Windows team and I wrote this post in the dead of night completely off the clock on a PalmPilot so there might be no confusion about my motives. I'm just a techie dude who happens to work for the Big Blue Monster. This is not official anything and it's a blog. It's very likely wrong or complete nonsense. One day you'll show up and I'll have been fired, drawn and quartered and this site will be all 404s. That is all. I may start selling T-shirts containing my disclaimers in case they are in any way unclear.
There's a few choices for you:
Clean Install + Migrate: You can certainly "migrate" your settings from an old machine to a new one still doing a clean install. It's a clean install, but you're saving time by bringing lots of little things over like browser history, favorites, usernames, passwords, subtle settings. Either way, you've got choices.
In-Place Upgrade: You can also "upgrade in-place," meaning you're installing Windows 7 to c:\windows (or whatever) and it'll upgrading your Vista installation directly. Once Windows 7 is installed, you can do an "Anytime Upgrade," for example, taking Win 7 Home Premium to Win 7 Pro if you like.
There's a chart that explains this, but visually, it's too complex in my opinion. I stated working on a simpler one, then Ed Bott in his wisdom beat me to it. It's a truth table of sorts, and technical folks LOVE to collapse their tables. What may have made sense to the original designer is begging for refactoring by one of us.
The original table looks scary and sends a negative message. However, as Ed points out "Most Vista users will have clear and logical upgrade paths from their current edition to the same edition of Windows 7."
Basically, if you're going from whatever version of Vista you have to a similar (or greater) version of Windows 7, you're all set. You'll only need to clean install if you're going from a "high sku" to a lower one. Go check out Ed's chart or click on the image above and enjoy your upgrade!