I just visited Officeworks to see Windows 7 on the shelf and I was very suppressed that the upgrade prices of the Professional and Ultimate SKU’s are about 10% less than the full version. This kinda got me wondering if it was even worth the hassle/effort to buy the Professional SKU or even to buy the Ultimate Upgrade SKU when in some cases there is only $32 difference.
So if you already own Windows Vista Home Premium and you simply upgrade your copy of Home Premium to Windows 7 in which case you buy the Home Premium upgrade for $168 and do a simple upgrade of your existing Operating System by far and away the simplest and cheapest and simplest option for most people. Think of this as a thank you from Microsoft for already making a jump to Windows Vista.
However if you you own Windows XP Home and you want to upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium you still can buy Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade for $168 and be legally covered however you will need to do a clean install of your operating system as there is no direct upgrade path. First time you install Windows 7 however you need to make sure not to enter a product key which installs it in trial mode (or so to speak). THEN you need to perform an upgrade install of the trial mode version of the OS this time using the upgrade key that was supplied with the product. Suck to be you… serves you right you should have upgrade already made the jump to Windows Vista. Unless of course you have a copy of Windows Vista lying around that you never used you can upgrade Windows XP to Vista and then do an upgrade from Vista to Windows 7…
Now if you are on either Windows XP or Windows Vista Home Premium and you want to upgrade to Professional or Ultimate this is where I would recommend just paying at most the extra $61 and fork out for the Windows 7 Ultimate full version for $398 with all its features. This way you will never have to perform the double install/upgrade trick if you ever want to re-install you OS on a different computer which i think is will worth the $61 just for the time you save even thought you are also getting the most feature full version of Windows 7. Now if you are on Windows XP you still need to do a clean install but again you dont need to do the whole double install/upgrade process.
In case you were wondering the primary benefit of Windows 7 Ultimate version is that it gives you the ability password encrypt all your USB drives and memory sticks… Very handy if you ever lose one of these devices that has any sensitive or private information.
What is also interesting is that the Upgrade Anytime prices are also priced similarly with a big jump from the lowest version to the next one up. This is going to be mostly relevant to those who now buy Windows 7 Starter on a new Netbook pre-installed. I think this sort of upgrade will be very popular as all the Netbooks will be loaded with Windows 7 Starter and it will give a great up-sell opportunity for retailers to whenever anyone buys a new Netbook. If you do fall into this category and you want to upgrade from starter it does makes financial sense (although just marginally) to do either do a single jump to buy either just the Starter to Home Premium or a double jump from starter to Home Premium and then Home Premium to Professional or Home Premium to Ultimate. Also don’t worry that you have a DVD on your Netbook to do the upgrade this Upgrade Anytime product is just a key that unlocks the added functionality.
What is also interesting about this price is that the Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade of $168 is only $9 more that the cost of Windows 95 upgrade about 14 years ago. When you take in to account the cost of inflation and the fact that this is a WAY better OS that anything that has previously done this is actually VERY good value.