So Microsoft finally revealed the upgrade paths for Windows Vista. I have to say I am mostly pleased and a bit disappointed. The upgrade matrix at first seems confusing, but when you finally figure it out, its pretty much straightforward. The biggest news is that Windows 2000 Professional and XP Professional x64 will not have any supported upgrade paths at all. Of course its surprising knowing the millions of users still running 2000 especially on modern hardware. XP Professional x64 is one where making a compromise is what its all about because of the reliability initiative Microsoft is planning to implement with Vista x64 with the new kernel mode driver signing which I reported in my Windows XP Professional x64 Year in Review article for ActiveWin.com and in my recent preview of Windows Vista Build 5472 x64 for Extended64.
Windows Vista Upgrade Matrix
In March I discussed the possible upgrade paths with a fair amount of the predictions being correct. The only thing I got wrong of course was the Windows Vista/XP Professional x64 upgrade paths. Of course, Windows Vista Enterprise is equivalent in most features to Vista Business and Ultimate Editions, but because its only available to Software Assurance and Enterprise Agreement customers was not listed on the chart.
To be honest though, is an inplace upgrade to Windows Vista even worth it? A majority of most installs are successfully done as clean installs with most reports currently saying failed upgrades from XP to Vista. My recommendation to most people in the first place is to back up your existing data and do a clean install, its better that way and guarantees a stable system.
You can check out my getting started guide I did for Windows Connected for more information on installing and preparing for Windows Vista here
Upgrade paths to Windows Vista
1. Windows XP Home Edition: Windows Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise Edition* and Ultimate Edition
2. Windows XP Professional: Windows Vista Business, Enterprise Edition *, Ultimate Edition
3. Windows XP Tablet PC Edition: Windows Vista Business, Enterprise Edition *, Ultimate Edition
XP Tablet PC Edition is similar in architecture to XP Professional with additional support for inking.
4. Windows XP Media Center Edition: Windows Vista Home Premium, Ultimate Edition
XP Media Center Edition makes a logical step to the above Vista Editions since those Editions are the only ones that will include the Media Center Software.
5. Windows XP Professional x64 Edition: Windows Vista Business x64, Enterprise Edition x64*, Ultimate Edition x64
*Enterprise Edition will only be available under Microsoft’s Software Assurance and Enterprise Agreement Programs.
You can read the entire March article here