Microsoft announces 'Windows 7 Upgrade Option' for OEM PCs

Microsoft today has officially announced the start of the Windows 7 Upgrade Option Program allowing consumers and small businesses to receive Windows 7 when they purchase a qualifying Windows Vista PCs starting June 26. Under the program, PCs preinstalled with "premium versions" of Windows Vista will qualify for a license equivalent of Windows 7.

"There is a lot of excitement for Windows 7 in the marketplace today. However, many consumers need a new Windows PC for school, work or home before October 22. So starting June 26th, any customer who buys a PC from a participating computer maker or retailer with Windows Vista Home Premium, Business or Ultimate will also receive an upgrade to the corresponding version of Window 7 at little or no cost," said Brad Brooks, corporate vice president, Windows consumer marketing at Microsoft.

Under the Windows 7 Upgrade Option program, the following Windows Vista versions will correspond to the following Windows 7 upgrade equivalents:

Windows Vista Home Premium -> Windows 7 Home Premium
Windows Vista Business -> Windows 7 Professional
Windows Vista Ultimate -> Windows 7 Ultimate

The Windows 7 licenses will be provided to computer manufacturers at no charge from Microsoft. Although some manufacturers may require a payment for costs such as shipping and handling. The program will be available through January 31, 2010 from computer manufacturers and participating retail partners selling qualifying editions of Windows Vista.

There is no "Upgrade Option" path for systems purchased running Windows Vista Home Basic.

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I bought a new HP computer on February 1, 2009. If I had only waited until June 26 to buy it, I could have upgraded to Windows 7 for free.

I've heard that the "upgrade" versions of Windows 7 officially will not upgrade pre-installed OEM copies of Windows, such as on my HP computer. That, to me, just doesn't seem fair. I'd like to make use of Microsoft's pre-order deal ($99 for Windows 7 Pro), but it looks like I can't. As a Windows user who has spent my hard-earned money to purchase a computer with a legitimate copy of Windows on it, I feel insulted.

I almost dare not ask but how does this play out for Europeans, since there is apparently no "upgrade" from vista?
Hopefully nothing is different and EU members will still get sent the full version as an "upgrade"

Just saw the following on the HP Upgrade site

Caution! Upgrading to Windows 7 from Windows Vista® will require a clean installation. Failure to back up your data and settings before performing the upgrade can result in loss of your personal files, including documents, pictures, files, programs, music, and videos.

Windows 7 E version does not include Microsoft® Internet Explorer® 8. On June 9, 2009, Microsoft announced that it will not include Microsoft® Internet Explorer® 8 in versions of Windows® 7 offered in the European Economic Area (EEA)