Today at Ed Bott’s Microsoft Report on ZDNet, I listed some of the upgrade scenarios that will be possible when Windows Vista ships. All three consumer versions – Home Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate – will be included on the same CD or DVD. You don’t need to go to the store and purchase a new shrink-wrapped box to upgrade; all you have to do is go to Control Panel and run the Windows Anytime Upgrade program.
I’ve just installed Windows Home Basic on a test computer here and snapped some screen shots to show what the process looks like.
Here’s the opening screen:
When you click past this introduction, you get to the step-by-step upgrade path shown here:
Note the text in step 1, which makes it very clear that you’re about to go to “one of our partner’s websites to purchase a license….” Microsoft clearly has no desire to upset its retail and OEM partners by trying to sell licenses directly to Windows customers. I suspect that in the final release big OEMs like Dell, HP, and Sony will have a custom version of this upgrade utility to send customers back to their website to purchase the upgrade license.
If you try to upgrade using one of the current beta test versions, of course, you get sent to a placeholder page, which contains no pricing or other details.
A very interesting approach, to be sure.