Microsoft details its Windows 8 upgrade plans

Summary:Microsoft is getting closer to the Windows 8 finish line, and is finalizing details like its upgrade paths from older Windows releases to the coming version.

Microsoft has shared with select partners some specifics about what those upgrading to Windows 8 can expect when moving from Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

According to what my contacts have told me, here's the guidance released to them privately by Microsoft this month.

  • Users will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 (the name of the entry-level consumer version of the operating system) from Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic and Windows 7 Home Premium while maintaining their existing Windows settings, personal files and applications.
  • Users will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro from Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate while maintaining their existing Windows settings, personal files and applications.
  • Users will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Enterprise (available to volume licensees with Software Assurance contracts only) from Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise while maintaining their existing Windows settings, personal files and applications.
  • Users will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 from Windows Vista (without SP1 installed) but only personal files (meaning data only) will be maintained. If upgrading from Vista with SP1, personal data and system settings will be maintained.
  • Users will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 from Windows XP with Service Pack 3 or higher but only personal files/data only will be maintained.

What won't work: Users won't be able to upgrade or keep their Windows settings, files or applications if doing a cross-language installation. (However, users will be able to keep personal files/data during a cross-language install by using Windows 8 Setup.) Microsoft also is also not allowing users interested in doing a cross-architecture -- i.e., 32-bit to 64-bit -- install to do so. Whether running Vista or Windows 7, these users won't be able to keep their existing Windows settings, personal files and applications or data. They won't be allowed to upgrade this way, period.

Microsoft launched earlier this month its latest Windows Upgrade Offer, via which users who purchase Windows 7 PCs between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013 can purchase a copy of Windows 8 Pro for $14.99, once it is available.

Windows 8 is expected by many Microsoft watchers to be released to manufacturing in July 2012. General availability on new PCs is expected this fall.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.