I know. I have posted on this before. But a very recent event experienced (just today) by friends annoyed me somewhat so I have decided to do a quick post on this again.
The person involved wanted to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 and they were asking the shop assistant at a well known electrical retailer how to go about it. They were told that you could not upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 using the Windows 7 upgrade licenses and that they would have to buy a full copy of Windows 7 (at about double the price).
This advice is half right and almost completely wrong—if that makes any sense.
Firstly, you 100% can use a Windows 7 upgrade license, which in Australia costs about $190 (for Windows Home Premium edition), to “upgrade” from an installed copy of Windows XP to Windows 7.
Secondly, you cannot use a Windows 7 upgrade license to do a technical upgrade from a previous version of Windows except Windows Vista.
What this means is that you do not need to buy a full Windows 7 copy, which costs about $300 (again, for Windows Home Premium edition), to put Windows 7 on a PC that already has a licensed copy of Windows XP installed.
License Upgrade vs. Technical Upgrade
You totally cannot do a technical upgrade of Windows XP to Windows 7 using a Windows 7 upgrade license, but then neither can you do it using a full Windows 7 upgrade license—so there is no point buying one of those to do it either.
In order to “upgrade” from Windows XP you in fact have to do a full re-install (full install) of Windows 7 on the target PC; but the Windows 7 upgrade does allow you to do a full install—despite the fact it is called a Windows 7 Upgrade.
For more information about this you can see my posting providing more information (Part 1 of which is here), or see the excellent posting on this subject by Paul Thurrott titled “Clean Install Windows 7 With Upgrade Media” (here).
Okay. Now I promise not to post on this subject again.