March 6, 2006 3:50 PM PST

Microsoft to make Vista easily upgradeable

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Microsoft is planning to make it very easy for Windows Vista owners to upgrade to a pricier version of the operating system.

In the past, such upgrades would have required users to go to a store to get a physical disc to update their machine. With Vista, which is due to go on sale later this year, Microsoft is adding a second option. Dubbed Windows Anytime Upgrade, the new mechanism will let customers buy the update online. New PCs that come with Vista will come with a Windows Automatic Upgrade DVD, which can be used with a later update that is purchased online.

"If you want more features in Windows Vista, you can upgrade to another version," Microsoft said in help notes that accompany the most recent test version of Windows. "You can either buy a separate upgrade disc at a retail store or use Windows Anytime Upgrade to buy the upgrade online, and then use your Windows Anytime Upgrade disc or the Windows installation disc to complete the process."

Microsoft confirmed Monday that such a process is being planned for Vista, but offered scant additional details.

"We are working closely with our partners to put the right infrastructure in place to support Windows Anytime Upgrade, and we will have more information to share at a later date," a Microsoft representative wrote in an e-mail.

The move is one of several efforts Microsoft is making with Vista to encourage users to opt for higher-end versions of the software. Among the other efforts is the introduction of an "Ultimate" edition that combines the best of Microsoft's consumer and business features.

According to information in the Vista test version, the upgrade feature will allow Windows Vista Home Basic users to go to Windows Home Premium or Windows Vista Ultimate edition, while Vista Business users will be able to move only to the Ultimate edition. Microsoft's other business version--Windows Vista Enterprise--is available only for volume licensing customers.

Microsoft announced last week that there would be six major editions of Vista, comprising those listed above, along with a "starter" edition of Vista that will be sold only on new PCs in certain emerging markets.

The mention of the update plans within the test release of Vista was noted by a number of enthusiast sites, including Vista Buzz.

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Doesn't Matter
It's nice to see that microsoft is trying to simplify things, but I still can't help but feel that just releasing 2 versions (desktop and server) would have been easier. Release the desktop version with stupid-people options enabled to protect computer illiterate, while at the same time leaving options open for the more advanced. Why physically seperate them into different software unless you were trying to make more mon... oops, forgot who I was talking about.
Posted by (22 comments )
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Far from simplifing
Lets confuse the market even more.
Posted by jmmejzz (107 comments )
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And Yet
Last week (?) when it was announced that there were "too many versions" lots of people said "why not allow people to buy upgrades - now you can.
Posted by (409 comments )
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Consumer Friendly
So windows doesn't always come with all the features and the upgrade process is a chore. Yet another reason I'll stay with a Mac, it's user friendly.
Posted by sandman619 (54 comments )
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There are fewer MAC OS versions
Because there are fewer types of Mac user.
Posted by (409 comments )
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Now thats what I'm talking about
I like this idea. This is about what I was thinking about when I posted when they talked about 6 version. I love the idea, it makes things easier for people in the long run.
Posted by Robert G K (84 comments )
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Now thats what I'm talking about
I like this idea. This is about what I was thinking about when I posted when they talked about 6 version. I love the idea, it makes things easier for people in the long run.
Posted by Robert G K (84 comments )
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The jump from <XP is critical
You guys who are complaining about MS offering too many versions are just looking for something to knock MS about. Every other kind of product on the market, especially cars, are offered in different "flavors" to give the producer something to sell and give the buyers at least some marginal price/feature choices. Computers and software shouldn't be held to a different set of expectations from other products out there on the market.

The critical issue in the introduction of Vista is making the upgrade from older Windows OS's as painless as possible. I experienced upgrading from Win95 to XP a while back and was relieved that it was a trouble-free move. If Vista is not kind to the legacy upgraders it will spell trouble for Vista sales for years to come...
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
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Package Management eh?
Wow, looks like we see a minor innovation from redmond here. They finally copied the ability from all the free distributions to dynamically update themselves off the internet, nice steal there guys.

*tards* Pitty Vista wont run on any of the computers currently available due to bloat eh? ;)

I cant wait till somebody exploits the magical upgrade feature in Vista and makes them upgrade to Windows 3.1
Posted by (9 comments )
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