No more digital product keys for Windows Anytime Upgrade users

Summary:Starting February 20, Microsoft is planning to end distribution of digital product keys for Windows Vista that it previously provided as part of its "Windows Anytime Upgrade" program.

Microsoft is making a tweak to the way it will enable Windows Vista users to upgrade to higher-end versions of Windows via its "Windows Anytime Upgrade" program.

Windows Anytime Upgrade is a Vista marketing program via which Microsoft has allowed customers to move from lower-cost, less feature-rich versions of Vista to higher-end versions.

Starting February 20, Microsoft is planning to end distribution of digital product keys, company officials said on February 7. Instead, customers will need to obtain a Windows Anytime Upgrade kit, consisting of a Windows DVD and product keys, either directly from Microsoft, via snail-mail, or in person via a Microsoft retailer. Anytime Upgraders still can order the upgrade kit online, but the key will be sent by snail-mail.)

Why the change? A company spokeswoman said it's due to customer feedback. She sent me the following statement via e-mail:

"Since the current implementation of Windows Anytime Upgrade requires the use of a physical Windows Anytime Upgrade DVD, consumers have told MSFT that they would prefer to use the DVD and a standard 25-character product key to perform the upgrade-rather than the combination of the DVD (via mail) and digital key which arrive separately."

There's been plenty of talk about downgrading (especially from Vista to XP) in recent months. But has anyone out there used Windows Anytime Upgrade to upgrade to a pricier version of Windows? How was your experience?

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software


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

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