Microsoft has reportedly shared with select partners some of the specifics in regards to upgrading from Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 to the touch-focused Windows 8 slated to launch later this year. These specifics are separate from the latest Windows Upgrade Offer which allows consumers who purchased a Windows 7-based PC between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013 to purchase a copy of Windows 8 Pro for $14.99.
According to a list obtained by ZDNet, users will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 (entry-level) from Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic and Windows 7 Home Premium while maintaining their existing Windows settings, personal files and applications. They will also be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro from Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate while maintaining their existing Windows settings, personal files and applications.
As for Windows 8 Enterprise -- which will be available to volume licensees with Software Assurance contracts only -- customers will be able to upgrade from Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise while maintaining their existing Windows settings, personal files and applications.
Now for the legacy versions. For those upgrading to Windows 8 from Windows Vista without SP1 installed, only personal files (meaning data only) will be maintained. If upgrading from Vista with SP1, personal data and system settings will be maintained. Consumers still thriving on Windows XP will need Service Pack 3 or higher installed before upgrading to Windows 8. For this group, only personal files/data will be maintained.
Finally, consumers performing a cross-language and/or cross-architecture (32-bit to 64-bit) installation won't be able to upgrade or keep their Windows settings, files or applications. "Whether running Vista or Windows 7, these users won’t be able to keep their existing Windows settings, personal files and applications or data. They won’t be allowed to upgrade this way, period," ZDNet reports.
Windows 8 is expected to reach manufacturers in July 2012 while the consumer-based version arrives this fall.
Now the question remains: Is Windows 8 Worth $15 for New PC Owners?