Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Release Candidate 1 has been released to Microsoft Connect, MSDN, Technet subscribers, and it’s also available for free download in Windows Update. Because, make no mistake about it, Windows 7 will grow its installed base for the most part to the detriment of its precursors.
Still, the good news is that Microsoft will make available Windows 7 upgrade licenses for both Vista and XP. The price is, of course, a critical factor when considering a jump to the next iteration of Windows, for both those that have coughed up a pretty dollar to upgrade to Vista, and also for the customers that have ridden XP for all its got, skipping the intermediary Windows 6.0 step. The bad news, as far as Windows XP users are concerned, is that Microsoft will not support in-place upgrades from XP to Windows 7. They will need to perform a clean installation of Win 7 on top of XP. Only Vista machines will be able to be upgraded in-place to Windows 7.
In-place upgrades are one of the installation options for Windows operating systems. Microsoft reveals that the process allows users to “install Windows and retain applications, files, and settings as they were in previous edition of Windows.” And fact is that, in the context in which users have gathered a consistent volume of programs along with extensive customization, in-place upgrades make all the sense in the world, especially in scenarios in which re-installing all applications after a clean deployment of Windows would take in excess of a couple of hours. This because the upgrading process is completely automatic, following the initial steps that the end-user has to perform manually.
Essentially, upgrading to Windows 7 is a way to ensure that the operating system does all the heavy lifting, and, even if it is indeed a time-consuming process, stretching at least three or even four times as much as a clean install, the actual effort on behalf of the end-user is minimal.