Although Microsoft is not revealing that many information about its Windows 7 upgrade plans some information have come to light. Probably the most important is that both Windows XP and Windows Vista users will be entitled to upgrade to Windows 7. This means that both Windows XP and Windows Vista users will be able to purchase an upgrade to Windows 7 at a discount. Microsoft has not revealed a pricing structure yet and there is still a strong rumor that Windows Vista users who purchase the operating system shortly before the release of Windows 7 will receive a free upgrade.
What’s already known is that Windows XP users will get a discount when purchasing Windows 7. They will however not be able to update Windows XP to Windows 7 directly. Windows 7 can only be installed independently which also means that Windows XP users have to find a way to transfer the data from the old operating system to the new one. This could be in the form of installing Windows 7 on a second partition or extensive backups of the data. Microsoft will probably release some guidelines to aid users in the process.
The upgrade structure for Windows Vista looks like the following:
- Windows Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Home Premium
- Windows Vista Business to Windows 7 Professional
- Windows Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Ultimate
Users with a edition of Windows Vista on the left will be able to update directly to the Windows 7 edition on the right. There is however no direct update available for other editions of Windows 7. A Windows Vista Home Premium user will therefor not be able to update his operating system to Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Ultimate. The other way round is also not support. A Windows Vista Ultimate user will not be able to upgrade his operating system to either Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Home Premium.
The only option in those cases are to perform independent installations of Windows 7. It should also be noted that updates are only possible if both operating systems use the same language. The other Windows Vista editions (Windows Vista Home Basic and Windows Vista Starter Edition) are not included in the upgrade program.
The German online magazine Winfuture got their hands on build 7032 of the Enterprise edition of Windows 7 which has the build string 6.1.7032.0.winmain.090129-1812. There are not that many visible changes in that build compared to the previous builds 7022 and 7000. Build 7032 was compiled on 29.01.2009 which means about 14 days after build 7022.
The release candidate of Internet Explorer 8 is integrated in this release (like it was in 7022). One of the main changes is the addition of the two themes Architectures and Characters which can be activated in the theme browser. There have also been some additional visual changes like a new icon for Homegroup or Control Panel. Other minor changes have been applied to Windows Media Player 12 and Microsoft Paint. The User Account Control on the other hand has not been changed in build 7032.
One new feature of Windows 7 are thumbnail previews when hovering the mouse over a taskbar item. The default time before the thumbnail is displayed is 400 milliseconds which might be not fast enough for some users while it might be to fast for others. Here is how you change the Windows 7 taskbar hover time.
Load the Windows 7 registry editor by pressing [Windows R], typing [regedit] and hitting [enter]. Navigate to the following Registry key:
Locate the Registry key MouseHoverTime. It should have a default value of 400 (milliseconds). Simply double-click that entry and change the number. The thumbnail will appear faster if you enter a lower number or slower if you enter a higher one. You need to logout or restart the computer before the changes take effect.
The same menu contains several addition parameters of the mouse in Windows 7 including the double-click speed, mouse sensitivity or mouse speed.
Microsoft will be offering upgrades for existing Windows XP users who want to purchase Windows 7 according to an article posted earlier today on the Computerbase website. Upgrade meaning the possibilities to purchase Windows 7 at a reduced price. It seems however necessary to install Windows 7 on its own without the possibility to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 directly.
This means that it will only be possible to install Windows 7 doing a clean install on the computer system. Offering the upgrade for Windows XP users is another interesting move by Microsoft to convince Windows XP users that an upgrade of their operating system to Windows 7 would not be that bad.
What’s your take on the story? Are you an XP user tempted by the offer? What price would you be willing to pay for the upgrade?