It is not clear to me if I can buy the 'Upgrade' version of Windows 7 Professional if the version I have is Windows XP Home or whether I can only buy the non-upgrade 'Full' version. Everywhere I read states that Windows XP owners are eligible for an upgrade price for Windows 7.

However, I cannot find any reference whether you are limited to upgrading to the same edition/version/type of the OS. For example, only Windows XP Home can upgrade to Windows 7 Home and only Windows XP Pro can upgrade to Windows 7 Pro. Is this the case?

Can I buy the upgrade version of Windows 7 Pro even though I have Windows XP Home?

(I also understand that regardless of what I eventually purchase, it would need a full install of Windows 7 and not an upgrade of the OS itself. My question is more about the upgrade licensing terms and the eligibility of purchase.)


This Microsoft article, Upgrading? Things to consider, does allow this and all migration paths:


"Custom" is defined as :

A custom installation erases everything on your hard drive. So you'll need to back up all your files, photos, music, and settings on an external hard drive or on CDs or DVDs and then transfer them back to your PC after you install Windows 7. You'll also need to reinstall all your programs from their original installation disks.


Yes, you can buy the upgrade version no problem.

Technically you can buy the upgrade version even if you haven't previously owned windows. Just read this article on the little registry change you have to do.

Personally I would just buy the OEM version off of Newegg or Amazon. It is as cheap and works nicely. You are just "limited" to the one computer, so if you upgrade your motherboard you are supposed to use a different version. But most people don't upgrade their motherboards and if it breaks you can call MS and they will allow you to activate on the "new" computer.

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    A little addendum: Be aware that there is not technically a supported upgrade path from XP to 7, so you'll have to do a clean install from your upgrade media. It won't let you do an in place upgrade. – Tofystedeth Nov 24 '10 at 20:12
  • Yeah, I was going to say that. But he did mention at the end of his question that he realized he would need to do a full install. But still a good point to make for completeness sake. – Nori Nov 24 '10 at 20:19
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    hah, indeed he did. I must have parenthesis blindness. – Tofystedeth Nov 24 '10 at 20:20
  • Understandable... :) – Nori Nov 24 '10 at 21:08
  • Nori, it may not be as cheap if you're getting one through MSDN Alliance -- Microsoft's university partnering that gives discount software to students. At the two universities I've been to, you could only buy the upgrade version of an OS for discount and you couldn't buy the non-upgrade version. – Ross Rogers Nov 24 '10 at 23:13

Regarding the question of upgrading from a Home version to a Professional version: Microsoft makes conflicting statements. On Technet, they say that upgrades across architecture (32 bit to 64 bit) or SKU (Home to Professional) or language are all forbidden, yet on the actual order page, they specifically say that ANY version of XP or Vista qualifies. Suggest that if you are worried, copy/paste the order page and keep a copy. Also, check the EULA once you receive the upgrade.

  • Microsoft's conflicting statements is precisely why I asked the question. I wish they were more clear and explicit on their purchase page. – Ray Nov 25 '10 at 2:20

Before you purchase anything download the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to see if your hardware will meet the minimum requirements.


If you use Zinstall XP7 to upgrade, you can upgrade from any Windows XP/Vista version to any Windows 7 version (Home, Professional, Ultimate) - this program will migrate all of your programs & files to the new OS. Good luck!

  • Commercial : $89 ! – harrymc Nov 25 '10 at 10:43

You sure can. It is called Windows Anytime Upgrade. If you are ready to do it now then click this: Windows Anytime Upgrade - Windows 7 Home Premium to Professional. The link will send you to the Microsoft Store.

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