The Microsoft Windows 7 Upgrade Program
Microsoft issued a draft of the Windows 7 Technical Guarantee Program to their OEM partners on December 10, giving them exactly one month to provide their feedback before Microsoft finalizes the program details. We managed to obtain a copy of the draft, which tentatively refers to the program as the "Windows 7 Upgrade Program". Let's take a look at the key points outlined in the draft.
The official name for the program has yet to be determined. Microsoft is using "Windows 7 Upgrade Program" as the place-holder for the Windows Vista to Windows 7 upgrade program, which was also known as the Windows 7 Technical Guarantee Program. Microsoft will announce the final program name at a later date.
Overview Of The Windows 7 Upgrade Program
The Windows 7 Upgrade Program is designed to assist Microsoft's OEM partners in minimizing the number of end users who may postpone acquiring a new computer because of the impending release of the Windows 7 operating system. This program allows OEMs to offer an upgrade to Windows 7 to end users who qualify.
This is a consumer-oriented program targeted at individual consumers and small businesses that have purchased eligible PCs during the Program Eligibility Period. End users will have to meet these requirements to be deemed eligible for the upgrade to Windows 7 when it is released :
End users must purchase a new PC that is pre-installed with an eligible Windows Vista Operating System (OS), during the program eligibility window.
The PC must have a valid Certificate of Authenticity (COA) attached.
The only Windows Vista® versions eligible for the program are :
Windows Vista® Home Premium
Windows Vista® Business
Windows Vista® Ultimate
* Microsoft Windows Vista® Home Basic, Windows Vista® Starter Edition, and Windows® XP (all editions) are not qualifying products under the program.
The Program does not support multiple upgrades for medium, large, or enterprise customers. Customers that want to upgrade multiple PCs should use the appropriate Microsoft Volume Licensing program. See www.microsoft.com/licensing
for more details.
The following are the only valid upgrade paths under the program :
Windows Vista® Home Premium -> Windows® 7 Home Premium
Windows Vista® Business -> Windows® 7 Professional
Windows Vista® Ultimate -> Windows® 7 Ultimate
Do note that this is an optional program, so not all OEMs may choose to participate. OEMs that choose to participate in this upgrade program will have the freedom to determine how to best provide qualifying end users with the details.
Important Program Dates
Important Program Dates for the Windows 7 Upgrade Program are listed in the table below. Some dates have not been finalized and will be included at a later date. These dates are marked as to-be-determined (TBD). However, for planning purposes, program eligibility will begin on July 1, 2009.
Program Eligibility Period
- Windows Vista PCs preinstalled with qualifying software must be purchased by end users between these dates.
- OEMs may choose to offer a shorter program period within the allowed date range.
July 1, 2009 through January 31, 2010 *
* Open to change, and depends on the actual release to market date of Windows 7
Program Calculation Period
- The total number of eligible Windows Vista Certificates of Authenticity (COAs) invoiced to an OEM during the Program Calculation Period, multiplied by 20%, determines the number of program upgrade media that can be purchased by OEM through Microsoft ARs.
- End of Program Calculation Period will be 90 days prior to the end of Program Eligibility Period.
April 1, 2009 through October 31, 2009
Initial Upgrade Media Fulfillment Date
- Date on which OEMs may start shipping upgrade media to Qualifying End Users.
Windows 7 General Availability Date
Final Software Fulfillment Date / Program End Date
- Date by which upgrade media must be shipped for Qualifying End Users’ upgrade orders.
- Microsoft recommends that OEMs establish and communicate to their customers a final submission date to ensure fulfillment by the Program End Date.
April 30, 2010
For other important dates and details, take a look at the latest Microsoft Windows 7 roadmap.
Eligible Upgrade Paths
For each eligible upgrade path, all available upgrade versions for a Qualifying Product (e.g., language-specific versions, territory-specific versions, 32 bit/64 bit platform) will be supported. The upgrade media will be product version-specific and must correspond to the Qualifying Product Version.
Qualifying Product Version
Upgrade Software Version
Windows Vista Home Premium
Windows 7 Home Premium
Windows Vista Business
Windows 7 Professional
Windows Vista Ultimate
Windows 7 Ultimate
Additional Upgrade Path Restrictions :
A language version of the qualifying Windows Vista product can only be upgraded to the same language version of the Windows 7 upgrade software.
The Windows Vista product can only be upgraded to the associated edition of the upgrade software. For example, Windows Vista Home Premium K edition can only be upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium K edition.
OEMs must ship media as defined in these permitted upgrade paths. No other upgrade paths are available and supported under the Program.
If an end user attempts to upgrade to an unsupported upgrade path, the end user may have to re-format the PC hard drive and/or may lose applications, files and settings available with the previous installed version of Windows. For example, the following upgrades are not allowed in the program :
- Upgrades from Windows Vista Home Basic or Windows Vista Starter
- Upgrades from Windows Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate
- Upgrades from Windows Vista Business to Windows 7 Ultimate
New! Windows Vista 64-bit to Windows 7 64-bit upgrades are fully supported, but 32-bit to 64-bit upgrades are not supported and will be blocked by the Windows 7 upgrade process. A clean install will be allowed though.
New! Windows XP to Windows 7 upgrades are also not supported, and will be blocked by the Windows 7 upgrade process. The only way is to do a clean install using the Windows 7 Upgrade Option media.
Editor's Note : Microsoft does not allow a Windows XP to Windows 7 upgrade. The Windows XP Downgrade above refers to the optional Windows XP downgrade provided by certain OEMs. Unlike actual Windows XP installations, they come with a Windows Vista COA (Certificate of Authenticity) and are therefore eligible for the upgrade program. Hence, users with Windows XP Downgrade licenses can upgrade to Windows 7. Technically wise the upgrade option in the setup will be disabled but the customer is able to do a clean install.