Upgrading from Windows XP or Vista
Upgrading to Windows 7
We use the word 'upgrade' a lot and in different contexts. There are really three things going on here: there's upgrading from your current operating system (Windows XP or Windows Vista) to Windows 7. There's installing an "upgrade" version or "full" version of Windows 7. And then there's an 'upgrade' or 'custom' installation. In addition, you need to decide which edition of Windows 7 you want to upgrade to: Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate.
"You'll have to find out whether you can do an 'upgrade' or 'custom' (clean) installation."
Full or Upgrade version?
If you're running Windows Vista or Windows XP, you can buy the upgrade version of Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate. If you're running an older version of Windows (Windows 2000, Windows 98, Windows 95), a different operating system altogether or have a computer that currently has no operating system on it at all, you'll need to buy the full version.
Upgrade or full installation?
When you install Windows 7, if you're upgrading from Windows Vista or Windows XP, you'll have to find out whether you can do an 'upgrade' or 'custom' (clean) installation.
In an 'upgrade' installation, your files, folders and applications remain intact – you can just install your new Windows 7 'on top' of your existing operating system and everything else stays as it was. But in a 'custom' (clean) installation, installing Windows 7 will overwrite your current files, folders and applications. You'll need to back up your files before you begin and make sure you have your original application disks available so you can re-install the programs you've been working with.
TAKE A LOOK
Which edition of Windows 7 should I buy?
That depends on what you want to do. Here's a brief rundown on the different versions of Windows 7:
Windows 7 Home Premium
A PC running Windows 7 Home Premium is simpler and easier to use. The new taskbar and advanced navigation features make launching programs, managing windows and getting around your PC faster and easier. Personalise your PC to be just the way you want with helpful gadgets and desktop themes – you can even turn your desktop into a slideshow of your favourite photos. And you get the best entertainment experience on a PC. With Windows Media Center you can watch shows for free when and where you want through Internet TV (TV tuner and additional hardware may be required).
Windows 7 Professional
Windows 7 Professional makes working anywhere easier and more secure. Run many Windows XP productivity programs in Windows XP Mode (additional necessary software is available for download, free-of-charge from Microsoft) and keep important information safer with file encryption and automatic back-ups. Connect to business networks and move more easily between business and home networks. And with all the great entertainment features of Windows 7 Home Premium, like Windows Media Center, it's great for home as well as for business.
Windows 7 Ultimate
Windows 7 Ultimate is designed for people who want it all. Safeguard the entire contents of your PC and flash storage devices with BitLocker™ encryption. Run many Windows XP productivity programs in Windows XP Mode (additional necessary software is available for download, free-of-charge from Microsoft). Connect easily to business networks. Watch TV shows for free when and where you want with Internet TV (TV tuner and additional hardware may be necessary). And you can work in any of 35 different languages. Windows 7 Ultimate does everything for work, home and play.