Pre-order Windows 7 at a big discount

Update: This offer is now expired. The links below now go to pages where the upgrade packages are offered at their full retail prices.

Yesterday, Microsoft announced pricing information for Windows 7. (You can read all about it in my post at ZDNet: Microsoft unveils ‘screaming deals’ for Windows 7.)

The big news for would-be upgraders in the United States is that you can pre-order Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 7 Professional at a significant discount right now, and have the product shipped to you on October 22, when it’s officially released.

The discount is 50% or more over the normal estimated retail price (ERP) of the two mainstream consumer editions. In the United States, you’ll be able to buy a Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade for $50 or get the Windows 7 Professional upgrade for $100.

At Microsoft’s website, you can find links to 12 online dealers that are participating in this promotion. If you want to buy from, you can use one of the links below and order directly (full disclosure: I make a commission on each sale through these links):

Windows 7 Store

Here are the links to the software:

Windows7 Home Premium Upgrade

Windows7 Professional Upgrade

You’re eligible for this special upgrade pricing on any PC that currently has a licensed copy of any edition of Windows XP or Windows Vista.

Questions? Ask away in the comments below.

43 thoughts on “Pre-order Windows 7 at a big discount

  1. Ed,
    Windows 7 upgrade Test Matrix says that
    “Windows 7 RC to Windows 7 RTM in-place upgrade is supported.” What does that mean?
    I have Vista Ultimate 32-bit version. As per the upgrade matrix, I can’t get the upgrade to Windows 7 32-bit version.

    Is this correct? Could you please clarify?

  2. I bought Vista Ultimate to get RDP access to my system. without losing any of the multimedia features. Windows 7 Professional includes all of these features. In terms of my needs, both versions are equivalent.

    However, the only discounted upgrades are for Home Premium and Professional. Will I need to pay full price for an Ultimate upgrade? Or is there a way I can buy Professional and “upgrade” to it?

  3. That test matrix is practically unreadable and contradictory. Ignore it.

    You’re getting confused by upgrade pricing and upgrade technical limitations. You qualify for upgrade pricing if your PC has a license for Windows XP or Windows Vista (hint: look for a sticker on the side). It doesn’t matter whether you’re running the Windows 7 RC on it now; the machine is still licensed for the original Windows version it shipped with.

    If you are running the RC, you will have to use the Windows 7 media to do a custom installation. RC to RTM upgrades are not supported. To do a custom installation, you start the Windows 7 installer from your current OS (Win7 RC) and then choose the Custom option. You do the install on your current partition. Your old Windows files and data go into a folder called Windows.old.

    Before starting this process, you should do a full backup and use the Windows Easy Transfer utility to migrate your data and settings to a separate hard drive. You can then restore them to your custom (clean) install afterwards.

  4. David, you qualify for upgrade pricing. You won’t be able to install Windows 7 Professional over Vista Ultimate, but you can do a custom install as I explain in the previous comment.

  5. Actually, it looks like owners of Windows 2000 will be eligible for the upgrade price as well. See the page at the Microsoft Store … it says “Running earlier versions? If you have Windows XP or Windows 2000, you can purchase Windows 7 Upgrade versions. But you must back up your files, clean install, and reinstall your applications.” Interesting … that means any owner of the last 3 versions of Windows can get upgrade price!

  6. Ed –

    I wonder why it is stated:

    “Eligibility & Order Information: If you acquire a qualifying Windows® Vista retail packaged product between June 26, 2009 and January 31, 2010 you are eligible to receive the corresponding Microsoft Windows 7 product upgrade for the cost of shipping and handling on the order page…”

    I have an HP PC acquired in 2007 and came preinstalled with Vista Home Premium (OEM). When I typed in the OEM Vista product key, I was eligible for Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade pricing.
    In fact, I’m eligible for Ultimate or Professional, too. Try playing around with the site and you’ll see for yourself.

  7. I went ahead and completed my order and Microsoft is sending me a Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade for $9.99 + tax. Sweet deal since I have an OEM version of Windows Vista Home Premium installed!

    BTW Ed, did you find out if the Windows 7 DVDs include both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions? There is no distinction on the MSFT order page.

    The only downside is I can expect receipt of my order 6-8 weeks following the release of Windows 7 on October 22, 2009″.

  8. I don’t expect the packages to include 64-bit media. If prior patterns hold, you’ll have to order it special. But we’ll have to wait for the product to be released to see.

  9. I’m happy they chose to give XP upgrades (and I don’t blame them for not doing an upgrade install for it), but would love to see them do something more then just $50 upgrades. A bundle pack is in order in my opinion, and it can’t be a limited time promotion.

  10. Matthew, you’re confusing general upgrades versus this special offer. The conditions for the special offer say “To be eligible for the offer, you need to be running a genuine copy of the Windows XP or Windows Vista operating systems.”

    That said, there’s no check for eligibility, so if you want to tempt the licensing gods, be my guest.

    1. Read it more carefully, David. The only backup feature that is unique to Windows 7 Pro is the ability to back up to a network. You can do an image backup to a local hard drive (internal or external) or to DVD from any edition, even Starter.

  11. As per the question, which I’ve seen in a few places, and now from Thurrott: Do you get 32-bit or 64-bit discs or both?

  12. Ed –

    I have a confirmed receipt and email verification of my order. There may be a glitch with the ordering process. I can even type in MSDN product keys for Windows XP Home Edition or Windows Vista Home Premium and the next page states I’m eligible for whatever Windows 7 Upgrade edition I choose! Perhaps you might investigate and see if this is a “glitch”.

  13. Can someone explain to me how it is fair for those of us to have paid $150 extra to get Vista Ultimate but we will still have to pay the same price to upgrade to Win7 ultimate as someone who got Vista basic or XP home?

    1. It’s not fair. Otoh, Microsoft is pretty much in a no-win situation here. If they offer special deals for Vista users then those who stuck with XP because they thought Vista wasn’t a good option will scream.

  14. I don’t know what is so hard about saying explicitly either that the 64 bit version is included on the disk or that you can order or download it separately. The product description says only that Windows 7 will work with both 32 bit AND 64 bit (as if we didn’t already know that).

    1. Actually, that information is now explicitly available: “This product includes both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.” It’s on the page where you actually place the order.

  15. Thanks Ed! It sure does. I’m an idiot. 🙂

    FYI, I haven’t checked in for a long time, but I still enjoy your blog and it is still on my must read list after all these years. Thanks for continuing to do it.

  16. The limit of three is dictated by Microsoft apparently. I noticed that Newegg is limiting purchases to a single copy of each edition.

  17. Never mind Ed. The free Windows 7 upgrade offer must be completed by mailing in a receipt for Windows Vista purchased on or after June 26, 2009. This does not apply in my case. However, I find it amusing that the Validation Page will accept any 25-character product key, including an Office PK and that one can complete the online form without question.

  18. I suspect all it’s doing is checking to confirm that the key is in the right format, not whether it’s valid, activated, blocked, etc. But it should have mentioned the receipt to you before you started.

  19. I bought an OEM version of XP Media Center edition. Will this upgrade work with it?


  20. I like Windows 7 but I’m not impress at the pre-order promotion thing, I feel like I’m being force to buy it right away and that the promotion price should have been the regular price in the first place. so i guess I’m sticking with Vista as main OS. I’m interested to know how well this pre-order promotion does wether it’s successful or fail to draw buyers.

  21. IIS 7.5 Question.

    I haven’t thought much about it before now but is it true that IIS 7.5 comes with Windows 7 Home Premium?

    On it states that this is true but I can’t find anything confirming this.

    I believe that Vista Home Premium does not come with ISS 7.0

    I already ordered two copies of Windows Home Premium from Amazon this morning. 🙂 very very excited!

  22. Right now I’m using some very cool themes that cycle through several desktop backgrounds. Fluff I know, but I like them. Will the choices be simplifed in Home Premiums?

  23. Ed

    Why is this not more broadly available?? I dropped a line to Paul Thurrott regarding this issue and the fact that these special offers are not available in Australia as far as I can see. Regarding pricing released by Microsoft they could and should have cut further on Windows 7 editions across the board further and that is disappointing. At least give everyone a chance to get hold of what I believe will be one of the best O\S’s to come out of Microsoft in some time.

  24. Ok, i’m totally confused.

    I bought a new laptop last week and I had to pay to upgrade it to Ultimate so that i could run it in English (since i’m in japan).

    So what should I do now? Seems like i’m kinda screwed. Upgrades apparently don’t work for OEMs. Even if they do there is no offer for Ulimate… or could i upgrade to an english version of 7 pro?

    Seems like anyone who got vista in the last few months is being penalized…. shoulda stuck with my old xp cd…

    1. Tim, who told you upgrades don’t work for OEM versions? Of course they do. You can purchase an upgrade version of Windows 7 for $100 and use it just fine. If you decide you still need Ultimate, you’ll probably be able to upgrade to it for less than $50.

  25. I got mine from Micro Center who had them for $39 and $89 respectively. Deal should be good for a few days, but its in store only. They also knock off 5% additional if you join their email notifier service. Well worth it I got my Core i7 920 for $189 + tax recently so the emails aren’t that obnoxious and have saved me some $$.

  26. Hi Ed,

    I have a PC with came with Windows Vista Home Premium on it. The sticker on the computer (it is from does not have any trace of “OEM” on it. Also, I formatted the drive on this PC and installed a Retail version of Windows Vista Business x64 on it that I used for over a year before installing the Windows 7 RC on it. Now if I purchase a Windows 7 Professional Upgrade for 99.99, how would Microsoft be able to ascertain that my PC had a legitimate copy of Windows Vista Business on it prior to installing Windows 7 RC ? Also, I am not sure if the Windows Vista Home Premium that was originally installed on it was OEM or Retail.

  27. Cranial,

    Any version of Windows XP or Vista qualifies for an upgrade to any version of Windows 7. You don’t have to prove it to install it, and Microsoft won’t try to ascertain anything… In fact, you qualify for two upgrades: one for the original version on your PC and another for the retail version.

  28. Ed,

    Thanks for the reply. So for the original version of Vista that was on my PC if i get the W7 Home Premium Upgrade would I only be able to install it on that PC or can I transfer it to another machine that has nothing on it ? I know I can do that for the retail but what about for the original install that came with my PC, I am not sure if that one was an OEM.

  29. Cranialsurge,

    I too was thinking of this just now. I’m waiting on a new Dell PC that is coming with Vista Home Premium. It was one of the qualifying models for the Windows 7 upgrade program on the Dell Europe site – which means, on October 22 or thereabouts, I will get a copy of Windows 7 E Premium….. either for free, or for the small price of shipping and admin. Now, if there is no such thing as an upgrade in Europe, and people are getting sold retail versions for the usual price of OEM’s and upgrade discs……that SHOULD mean those of us who get the free upgrade also get a retail disc. Which SHOULD leave us free to install it on future machines. Can anyone clarify?

  30. If you receive a free Windows 7 Upgrade from Dell, it will be a Dell branded OEM version that is BIOS-locked to a Dell motherboard. Since it would be an “E” version, you’ll need to perform a clean install.

  31. I have a Vista x64 Preinstalled machine. I ran Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor (Beta), and it made no mention of my newish HP printer. Does Windows 7 x64 use Vista x64 printer drivers, or does HP have to write a new one?

  32. JohnJ:

    Windows 7, both 32 bit and 64 bit were aware of my HP D2500 series printer, and it ran right away.

  33. I have Vista x64 Business on my laptops, so I plan to purchase the Win7 x64 Pro version. You can either do an in-place upgrade, or a clean install. What I would like to do is create a separate partition for a Win7 clean install (I already have this for Win7 RC). Does the Win7 upgrade license (at the special price, as described in your post) allow me to create a separate partition for the Win7 installation? In other words, am I allowed to use both operating systems (obviously not simultaneously)? BTW: with the purchase of an upgrade license, do I get a new activation key?

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