Similar to Windows Vista Express Upgrade Guarantee Program that promises consumers who purchased PC system with Windows XP pre-installed may upgrade to Windows Vista for free upon release availability, Microsoft may launch the similar free upgrade program for consumers who purchased Windows 7 preinstalled OEM computer before its official launch date too.

The draft of Windows 7 Technology Guarantee Program, temporarily called Windows 7 Upgrade Program, is been published to Microsoft OEM partners for feedback. The Windows 7 Upgrade Program allows end-users who purchased Windows Vista systems will have the option (for a limited time) to upgrade to Windows 7. The program main aim is to help OEM partners to sell Windows Vista PCs, as consumers may delay the purchase when the news of Windows 7 arrival is announced.

According to the documents, the eligibility for Windows 7 Upgrade Program will start on July 1st, 2009, and end on yet-to-be-announced date. Microsoft, however, may still announce the program eligibility end date and if the program eligibility start date will be moved to a later date by April 1, 2009.

The conditions to be eligible for free upgrade to Windows 7 from newly purchased Windows Vista systems are:

  1. Windows Vista PCs preinstalled with qualifying software must be purchased by end users between Program Eligibility Period.
  2. The computer must have a genuine Certificate of Authenticity (COA).
  3. Only Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Ultimate editions are eligible for upgrading to Windows 7.
  4. The Windows Vista product can only be upgraded to the associated edition of the upgrade software. For example, Windows Vista Home Premium K edition can only be upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium K edition, Windows Vista Ultimate can only be upgraded to Windows 7 Ultimate. The only exception is Windows Vista Business SKU, which has to be upgrade to Windows 7 Professional SKU.

    Eligible Upgrade Path

    Qualifying Product Version Upgrade Software Version
    Windows Vista Home Premium Windows 7 Home Premium
    Windows Vista Business Windows 7 Professional
    Windows Vista Ultimate Windows 7 Ultimate

    Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Starter, and Windows XP are excluded from the free Windows 7 upgrade eligibility.

  5. Only language versions released in wave 0 to wave 4 of Windows 7 are eligible for upgrading to Windows 7.
  6. A language version of the qualifying Windows Vista product can only be upgraded to the same language version of the Windows 7 upgrade software.
  7. If an end user attempts to upgrade to an unsupported upgrade path, the end user may have to re-format the PC hard drive and/or may lose applications, files and settings available with the previous installed version of Windows. For example, the following upgrades are not allowed in the program :
    • Upgrades from Windows Vista Home Basic or Windows Vista Starter
    • Upgrades from Windows Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate
    • Upgrades from Windows Vista Business to Windows 7 Ultimate
  8. Not eligible for corporations or businesses. Those with multiple PCs who want to upgrade must have volume licensing agreement with Microsoft.

End-users who bought an eligible PC systems will receive Windows 7 upgrade disks once Windows 7 is released. The Windows 7 installation will require end-user activation. Compared with usual Windows XP to Windows Vista free Express Upgrade 6 months upgrade period, Windows 7 may have shorter period of 60 days or 90 days only.

Update: Windows 7 Upgrade Option