Vista to Windows 7 Free Upgrade Plans Leaked?

As was what Microsoft offered prior to the release of Windows Vista, the software giant is plotting upgrade options for those who want to purchase a new PC soon, but without being left in the dust once Windows 7 ships.

From reports of the beta experience, Windows 7 is the new Microsoft OS that everyone’s been waiting for -- for both XP and Vista users. Some consumers can’t afford to wait, however, need to purchase new hardware soon. For those such consumer, and those on the fence, Microsoft will offer a program where those who purchase a new PC with Vista within a certain date range will be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 7.

Tech ARP now claims to to have obtained documents Microsoft sent to OEMs detailing its Windows 7 Upgrade Program. The information is supposedly from December 10, making it entirely possible for conditions to change, though what we’ve read seems believable.

All PCs bought with a Windows Vista license on or after July 1, 2009 to January 1, 2010 qualify for a free upgrade to Windows 7. OEMs may choose to shorten the period within those dates. All upgrade media must be shipped to end users by April 30, 2010.

Only three versions of Windows Vista are eligible, being Home Premium, Business and Ultimate. The upgrades to Windows 7 will correspond to the lateral version; so Home Premium will move to the new equivalent, Business will go to Professional, and Ultimate will be Ultimate.

Upgrades from Windows Vista Home Basic are not part of the program, and there will be no option for users to upgrade to a higher-end version of Windows 7 through the free upgrade program. New computers sold with Windows XP also will not be supported.

While upgrades from a 64-bit version of Vista will get you a 64-bit version of Windows 7, it’s unclear whether or not users can opt to go from 32-bit to 64-bit. It’s certain, however, the the software upgrade process will not allow an in-place upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit.

Those who do receive the free upgrade to Windows 7 will have both options of performing an in-place upgrade as well as doing a clean install.

Although the information does seem to make sense, Microsoft isn’t confirming nor denying any of it. "Microsoft often explores options with our partners to determine product offerings," the Microsoft spokesperson told Betanews. "We are not announcing anything new at this time."