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On September 4th, Paul Thurrott referenced one of my blog entries and even titled his article as “Wong Was Wrong”.  Normally, I wouldn’t take much issue with things like this, but in this case, I have to say that Paul was WRONG.  Let me explain this further.

On July 8, 2009, I made the following post: http://blogs.technet.com/haroldwong/archive/2009/07/08/can-i-do-an-in-place-upgrade-from-windows-7-release-candidate-to-release-code.aspx where I talked about whether it was possible to perform an in-place upgrade from Windows 7 Release Candidate to Windows 7 RTM.  There were comments posted to that blog in which I responded to with answers.  On July 16th, I responded to a question about what was required to use the Windows 7 Upgrade Media.  Based on a misunderstanding on my part, I provided an incorrect answer.

On July 22, 2009, I made another post to clarify a few more items around my original July 8th post: http://blogs.technet.com/haroldwong/archive/2009/07/22/update-in-place-upgrade-from-windows-7-rc-to-windows-7-rtm.aspx.  If you look at Item 7, I admitted that I was wrong in posting my original answer and that the final official answer had not been posted and made public yet.

Ultimately, I was incorrect in my original post and in that respect Paul was correct in stating that I was wrong.  However, if he had taken the time to look at my posts in his “research”, he would have seen that I retracted my original answer and made it clear that I was also waiting for official guidance from the Windows 7 team.  For Paul to cite my original blog post without mentioning my second blog post is totally inaccurate and a misrepresentation of information.  I totally understand that I am not always correct and am willing to admit my mistakes when I make them (and I did within 6 days when I realized my mistake).

Since Paul’s Weekly 121 came out on September 4th, he evidently had access to both of my posts but only chose to reference the one where I gave the wrong answer and did not reference the one where I retracted it.  I just want to set the record straight here.

On September 24th, the Windows Team came out with the official guidance on the Upgrade process in this post: http://windowsteamblog.com/blogs/windows7/pages/moving-to-windows-7-faq.aspx.

Here’s the snippet from that post that addresses this situation (with the key paragraph in blue and bold) …

Question: What versions of Windows 7 will I see and be able to buy in stores (and online)?

There will be two types of Windows 7 versions (also known as licenses) sold in both in stores and online in most of the world:

  • "Upgrade": "Upgrade" versions of Windows 7 require Windows XP or Windows Vista to be installed on your computer. The Windows 7 setup process will look for a previous version of Windows on the computer during installation and if a previous version is not found, activation will not complete successfully using the Product Key for the upgrade license. There are no differences in functionality between the "Upgrade" and the "Full" version.
  • "Full": "Full" versions of Windows 7 are also available (they do not say "upgrade" on the box). This version is for people that don't have Windows XP or Windows Vista installed on their PC. These can be also used to upgrade from Windows Vista or Windows XP to Windows 7, but they typically cost more than the upgrade versions.

Question: What is the difference between the Upgrade and Full version of Windows 7 and which one should I buy?

Upgrade versions require Windows XP or Windows Vista to be running on your computer before installing Windows 7. Full versions of Windows 7 don't require a previous version of Windows to be running on your computer. Both upgrade and full versions contain the same features. If you want to format your hard drive when installing Windows 7, you will need the full version. In general, choose the full version of Windows 7 if you don't have a previous version of Windows on your PC. Choose the upgrade version if you have Windows XP or Windows Vista on your PC.

For the steps for “Upgrading” from Windows XP to Windows 7, there is a great article here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/help/upgrading-from-windows-xp-to-windows-7.

Harold Wong