Handicapping Windows 7's effect on Vista upgrades

There is an off chance that the recent disclosures about Windows 7 could give folks a little more comfort in their decision to upgrade to Vista once you wade through the various crosscurrents coming from Microsoft.Based on various nuggets emanating from the D6 conference, various leaks and interviews we know the following about Windows 7 (Techmeme, all ZDNet Windows 7 content, News.

There is an off chance that the recent disclosures about Windows 7 could give folks a little more comfort in their decision to upgrade to Vista once you wade through the various crosscurrents coming from Microsoft.

Based on various nuggets emanating from the D6 conference, various leaks and interviews we know the following about Windows 7 (Techmeme, all ZDNet Windows 7 content, News.com's D6 coverage).

  • It's not a huge upgrade;
  • Windows 7 will be based on the Vista driver model;
  • The kernel is Windows Server based;
  • And Windows 7 is due in late 2009.

Aside from that last one, which could make you at least ponder waiting for a 2010 upgrade, there's little to prevent you from upgrading to Vista. That point is critical because as Dwight Silverman notes one of the big Windows 7 side effects is pondering your upgrade plans to Vista.

Why? If you wait for Windows 7 you're still going to make the leap you would make today in regards to hardware investment. With Microsoft's contention that the drivers will be the same you don't have to worry about the breakage that came with Vista.

Windows chief Steven Sinofsky told News.com:

Windows Vista was about improving those things. We are going to build on the success and the strength of the Windows Server 2008 kernel, and that has all of this work that you've been talking about. The key there is that the kernel in Windows Server 08 is an evolution of the kernel in Windows Vista, and then Windows 7 will be a further evolution of that kernel as well.

As long as we're talking evolution and not revolution customers will be a little more relaxed about moving to Vista. Sure, you could wait for multi-touch capability, but companies aren't going to give a hoot about that feature.

From everything Microsoft has said Windows 7 will be an easier upgrade--from Vista. It's not clear about the path from XP to Windows 7 should you wait.

Meanwhile, Vista will be the base of Windows 7, a fact that indicates that your OS investment won't disappear in two years. Each individual situation will be different as will the arithmetic behind a move to Vista, but Microsoft is certainly doing its best to allay worries for those Windows fence sitters.