Mary Jo Foley over at ZDNET has surprised us with the skinny on what the upgrade paths will be for Windows 8.

From her contacts, here’s what the deal is:

  • Users running Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, or Home Premium can upgrade to Windows 8 with their system settings, personal files, and applications in tact.
  • Users running Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, and Professional will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro with system settings, personal files, and applications in tact.
  • Customers running Windows 7 Pro or Enterprise editions can update to Windows 8 Enterprise with system settings, personal files, and applications in tact.
  • Vista users without SP1 can upgrade to Windows 8, but only personal files will be preserved. Customers that do have SP1 will have their system settings transferred as well.
  • XP users with SP3 can upgrade directly to Windows 8, but only personal files will be preserved.
  • Cross language upgrades will not be possible but cross language installs will.
  • 32 bit to 64 bit upgrades (and vice versa) are out as well.

Windows 8 should hit RTM next month (July).

This should be interesting.

About the Author

Onuora Amobi is the Founder and VP of Digital Marketing at Learn About The Web Inc. Onuora has more than a decade of information security, project management and management consulting experience. He has specialized in the management and deployment of large scale ERP client/server systems.

In addition to being a former Microsoft MVP and the founder and editor of, he is the CEO of a Pasadena based online marketing education startup - Learn About The Web Inc. ( and The Redmond Cloud (

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  • ECM2

    Will upgrading from W8RP or W8CP to official W8 allow you to keep your current settings?

    • CompUser

      I don’t think so.  I think Microsoft stated that it wouldn’t be possible to upgrade from any of the betas to the next beta or the final retail version. Each release requires a fresh install.

  • Mrjohncool

    I think Windows 8 is a BIG mistake removing the Start Menu completely and Making it Touch Screen/Tablet based only. Microsoft What are you thinking????

    • Tomasrys

      You are way too late in even trying to argue or state an opinion on this subject. Now you just come across as a disgruntled user from another era.

      It is what it is… Let go… Honestly…

      • Lason1864

        Let go and use a different OS!

    • Rayson454

      I agree!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Michael

    Well, upgrading is never an option IMO. It is always best to outlay the required sum for full OS, and ALWAYS better to do completely clean install.

    • Onuora Amobi

      I agree. Clean installs are typically better…

  • Dibbo

    While not having thought much about the upgrade option to anything from before W7, have the proper necessary hardware requirements been established?  We have a collection of XP, Vista, and W7 computers and I tend to agree with Michael, which just leaves the original OS  on the various ‘puters and they get shifted to lower duties as time moves on.

  • John E Reese

    If you are using Windows 7 Ultimate, what is upgrade for this version?  My guess is Windows 8 Pro.  Right now, I would not upgrade to Windows 8 until SP1 or Windows 9.  Why fix the OS if working OS is working fine.

  • Naisirk03

    Hi Onoura,

    I wonder if Windows 8 will support netbooks with screen size less than 1024 x 768. They say that it will work on all machines running windows 7. I think it will be better if the final release will support netbook screen size.

    • Onuora Amobi

      I’m not sure screen size will stop an install or upgrade but I do think that it will affect the quality of the user experience.

      • Syed Muhammad Ayub

        well.,the screen size below than 1024 x 768 pixel of course affect the UI, metro app cannot run on the screen below that resolution..the usual desktop    
        app maybe work  well but metro features wont run at all. 

        • Naisirk03

          That’s the problem. How will a netbook user take advantage and use the metro if it will not run on a lower resolution? I have tried the screen size hack on Windws 8 but it didn’t work so I restore my OS to Windows 7. I would havelove to try Win8 in my netbook

  • Indra Nawawi Daeng Parani

    Dear Onuora,

    Staying in a place in a far left behind in technology compare to the modern cities where everything is easy to get, still I try to reach to some level in tech even the outcome seems unsatisfactory to my believe, so many time wasted, rejections, and unsuccesful in the trial and error experimenting on computer bringging the shattered dream alive.

    Luckily, I’ve read part ot the EULA, which teaches us to maintain a good and well organized computer environment system which was carefully studied by Microsoft before it was release to the public. So many new words that add to my vacabulary, such as; Genuine, Original, Activation, Copy, Counterfeit, Expired and many more if we don’t read them carefully it’ll produce an unfriendliness event to our system. I’ve done those steps without reading them carefuly and it works, My dell inspiron 8600 machines has given me a unique satisfactory when using the Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows Developer Preview on a single Windows Boot Manager, but then I relized that it’ll do much worse to the system if it’s not maintain correctly according to the EULA.

    Today, while my dell inspiron 8600 machine is still around, I’ve uninstalled Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Developer Preview, which do not meet my dell inspiron 8600 machine spesifications, and I’m using the Copy of Windows XP SP3 which was fully activated and is still alive until today. Further more, I still follow Windows Development and News brought by Mr. Onuora and it makes me happy to see the progresses on Windows Phone and Tablets and if my credits is good, I’m sure I’ll get to it.

    Thank you.


  • Jeaniie-Marie

    Micky Mouse 8 inhales deeply… I multy-task , 3 monitors at once and have files and other things I want to keep.. To much crap in 8 , have to hunt and finger it to do anything. How about a Win 8  Clasic. Leave all the twitting and Tweeting to the ones that want it and give the ones of us that dont a Clasic 8       Jeanie

    • Onuora Amobi

      A common refrain from the elder generation…

      • Jeanie-Warie

        seems Microft is burried in to much money to listen to there loyal customers any more. I started with Win 95-98-98se-Millenium-Vista-MS7 up the line to each new program. I was over joyed when 95 dayviewed-brought the computor home. MS listened to the people and gave them what they wanted through the years. Now Im an ELDER, MS is going to put me and people like me out to pasture–slam the door on our wants and needs. Seems they think they have cleaned out our bank accounts and are ready to do the same with the next generation.( I spent over $500 upgrading childerns and my computors ) Well the ride is over-Linux looks pretty good to this ELDERLY LADY. And my new slogan is -Just say NO to Microft–out with Mycrosoft and in with the new (Linux) Jeanie-Marie Brown age 56 not ready for the rocking chair yet

      • Melissa Brown

        From the elder generation?? What the Hell does that mean, I am 23 almost 24 years old and completely agree there needs to be a basic/classic version. I don’t use twitter or have a X-Box360 or any of that garbage. I need a friendly version. The fact that I multi task as well is a load of crap in this program. I use Windows Messenger and with this program it takes up the whole screen and I can’t use any other program. I have to also hunt for 10 minutes to find anything. And where in the world did the Start button go? This program blows the big one! I’m planning in the future to change OS to something that has support and is better thought out!

  • Xmattjus

    I don’t know.. MS blocked the installation of the latest preview on most computers with Pentium 4, Celeron, ecc.. And know 
    Mary Jo Foley tell us that there is also the possibility to upgrade from Windows XP… I don’t think that anyone with a computer able to start Windows 8 still use XP.. So, WTF?!?

    • Mightymidget

      Suprisingly XP is stil used extensivley in business and corporate environments so it’s still pretty relevant. Very soon they’ll all need to upgrade once updates stop but I doubt such business’s will jump to 8. 

      For most it wont be an issue because user settings and files etc aren’t held locally anyhow… 

  • Mightymidget

    That’s a wide range of upgrade paths. Certainly not much need for USMT or Easy Transfer….

    Still expect the vast majority of users will do a clean install regardless of the possibilities.

    • Mightymidget

      Just realised, the quoted upgrade paths are probably not direct upgrades but more likely with the use of tools such as Easy Transfer and USMT. All the same well done Microsoft for giving us the options.  

  • guest

    ehhhh what about ultimate?

  • aseries

    IMHO Microsoft will be driving ever more of the people willing to learn something new into the arms of Google and CHROMEOS. At current retail Windows 7 Pro and Office 2010 Pro Complete will cost you just shy of $1000. I don’t see that coming down any time soon. That situation is not for everyone but it fits many a small office user. My church office is a prime example. It is now running XP and Office 2003 and very soon needs a complete tech-turn. The church proprietary database went into the cloud some years ago and only needs a browser capable PC. Our Dell Windows Server 2003 is basically just running the electric meter. Other than our publication specialist we could move to Google Docs today. Using Chomebooks and/ or Chromeboxes we could forget about site anti-virus licenses, mass backup devices and most of the support costs and other baggage that would come along with Windows 8 and Windows 8 server.