Subscriber dj wrote to ask a few questions to help her prepare for Windows 7:
1. I know that if you purchase the upgrade version of Windows 7 Pro, it will have a fully licensed copy of Windows XP and Windows Virtual PC. But, if you purchase an upgrade version of Windows 7 Home, you’ll have to have a retail copy of XP and install a program such as Vmware Player to run an XP virtual machine. According to Windows Secrets, there are some questions as to whether or not this will invalidate your current retail copy of XP (or Vista). But no one knows for sure if Microsoft will actually turn off the old key. Has it been your experience that Microsoft has done this in the past?
2. It’s said that if Microsoft sticks to it’s past practices with the upgrade CD, we’ll be able to perform a clean install from the upgrade by inserting our current retail version of XP or Vista. Will this invalidate that copy of XP? If the currently owned copy of Windows XP is invalidated, does this mean that a machine that currently has it installed will no longer be able to get any updates because it won’t pass the validation inspection, and will also not be able to be reinstalled if there is some sort of machine failure?
And last but not least,
3. Are you personally going for 32 bit Windows 7, or 64 bit Windows 7? I want to install it on a new build in the future, so I’m not worried about compatibility issues with my computer hardware itself, but I am having a long term love affair with a few peripherals like my very old HP DeskJet 990cse printer, etc. I believe that the printer and my Canon scanner will have updated drivers, but I’m not sure about a few other things, like my old digital camera, etc.
Thanks, Terry! : )
I wrote back to dj to tell her that I haven’t done an upgrade from Windows XP to Vista and have not run Windows XP in any of the virtual PC programs. I recall reading that the Vista Home and Vista Home Premium licenses prohibit using them in virtual mode. I think Vista Ultimate does not have that prohibition.
Since Vista’s upgrade "technically" cancelled your XP license, I have little doubt that the Windows 7 will, too. But, is will that cancellation be enforced electronically? I don’t know.
Question number 2 involved using an XP CDROM to install an upgrade version of Windows 7, and continuing to run that copy of Windows 7 on another computer. There is a basic licensing issue with that. Unless you have a site license, Windows copies are only licensed to be used on one machine.
In the final question, she asked about my personal plans. I have purchased two copies of Windows 7 Professional Upgrade to upgrade two of my Windows XP computers. All of them are 32-bit computers.
I will be replacing a couple that are getting pretty old (5+ years old). I expect those to have 64-bit processors and the 64-bit versions of Windows 7.
dj wrote back to tell me:
Thanks, Terry. I could only upgrade to 32bit on my Vista laptop, and I don’t know if I’m going to do it since it’s not my main computer and I don’t use it a lot. I use it away from home, and to take my genealogy to meetings with other people who may have information on my ancestors.
I haven’t decided what to do on my future new build yet. I’m thinking 64 bit because it can utilize a lot more RAM, and I need that for the graphics intensive activities that I do every day on my computer.
I’ve never done an OS upgrade of any kind before. I’ve never had any interest in merely upgrading an existing system because of problems I’ve always heard a lot about. I like fresh installs.
I like fresh installs, too. I did a couple upgrades over Windows 98. In one case, the computer started acting flakey after less than a week. The other lasted a while longer. I finally did a fresh install on that computer after fighting a problem for a couple months — I finally found that one of the old Windows 98 files (which was obsolete) was being read by Windows XP since it was there — and was causing the problem.
In both cases, I went for the fresh install option, where I booted the Windows XP upgrade cdrom, and then, when the installation program asked for it, inserted my Windows 98 cdrom to prove I had a CD. The Windows XP install routine actually used several files.
I’m looking forward to receiving my Windows 7 Professional Upgrades. I will definitely be doing "fresh installs" since I use Windows XP (Microsoft does not offer an upgrade-over-XP option). However, even if I was using Vista, I would do the fresh install instead of upgrading over Vista.