Microsoft has published a Windows 7 Upgrade Test Matrix which outlines outlines supported and unsupported upgrade paths for Windows 7 SKUs. The Windows 7 Upgrade Test Matrix explains various possibility of upgrading scenarios, including cross-type upgrade, upgrading from earlier version of Windows or pre-RTM Windows 7, and explains whether user can perform in-place upgrade to Windows 7 or has to do a clean install. It provides an useful guideline for customers who are deciding to upgrade or wonder whether a full version or upgrade version license (where Windows 7 price is cheaper) should be purchased.

Windows 7 Upgrade Text Matrix was published on Microsoft Download Center, but has since been taken down for unknown reason. Nevertheless, a copy of Windows 7 Upgrade Test Matrix.doc has been downloaded and redistributed via Internet.

According to Windows 7 Upgrade Test Matrix:

  • Cross-architecture in-place upgrades (for example, x86 to x64) are not supported.
  • Cross-language in-place upgrades (for example, en-us to de-de) are not supported.
  • Cross-build type in-place upgrades (for example, fre to chk) are not supported.
  • Cross-media type in-place upgrades (for example, Staged to Unstaged or Unstaged to Staged) are not supported.

Windows 7 Milestones Upgrade Paths:

  • Windows 7 M3 to Windows 7 Beta in-place upgrade is supported.
  • Windows 7 M3 to Windows 7 RC in-place upgrade is NOT supported.
  • Windows 7 M3 to Windows 7 RTM in-place upgrade is NOT supported.
  • Windows 7 Beta to Windows 7 RC in-place upgrade is NOT supported (can in-place upgrade using Windows 7 Beta to RC).
  • Windows 7 Beta to Windows 7 RTM in-place upgrade is NOT supported.
  • Windows 7 RC to Windows 7 RTM in-place upgrade is NOT supported (can in-place upgrade trick similar to Windows 7 Beta to RC upgrade hack).

Windows 7 Upgrade Paths Test Matrix Table:

Top column lists “Upgrade To” Windows 7 SKUs.

Starter Home Basic Home Premium Professional Enterprise Ultimate Starter N|E|KN Home Basic N|E|KN Home Premium N|E|KN Professional N|E|KN Enterprise  N|E|KN Ultimate  N|E|KN
Upgrade from:
Windows 95, 98, ME, NT4, 2000, XP X X X X X X X X X X X X
Windows Vista (RTM) X X X X X X X X X X X X
Windows Vista Starter (SP1, SP2) X X X X X X X X X X X X
Windows Vista Home Basic (SP1, SP2) X x86, x64 x86, x64 X X x86, x64 X X X X X X
Windows Vista Home Premium (SP1, SP2) X X x86, x64 X X x86, x64 X X X X X X
Windows Vista Business (SP1, SP2) X X X x86, x64 x86, x64 x86, x64 X X X X X X
Windows Vista Enterprise (SP1, SP2) X X X X x86, x64 X X X X X X X
Windows Vista Ultimate (SP1, SP2) X X X X X x86, x64 X X X X X X
Windows Vista Home Basic N (SP1, SP2) X X X X X X X X X X X X
Windows Vista Business N (SP1, SP2) X X X X X X X X X X X X
Windows 7 Starter RIUx86 X WAU, X WAU, X X WAU, X X X X X X X
Windows 7 Home Basic X RIU WAU, X WAU, X X WAU, X X X X X X X
Windows 7 Home Premium X X RIU WAU, X X WAU, X X X X X X X
Windows 7 Professional X X X RIU X WAU, X X X X X X X
Windows 7 Enterprise X X X X RIU X X X X X X X
Windows 7 Ultimate X X X X X RIU X X X X X X
Windows 7 Starter N, E, or KN X X X X X X RUIx86 X WAU, X WAU, X X WAU, X
Windows 7 Home Basic N, E, or KN X X X X X X X RIU WAU, X WAU, X X WAU, X
Windows 7 Home Premium N, E, or KN X X X X X X X X RIU WAU, X X WAU, X
Windows 7 Professional N, E, or KN X X X X X X X X X RIU X WAU, X
Windows 7 Enterprise N, E, or KN X X X X X X X X X X RIU X
Windows 7 Ultimate N, E, or KN X X X X X X X X X X X RIU

Table Legends:

  • X = Upgrade is not supported. An error message appears in the Compatibility Report or in a Setup dialog box.
  • x86 = x86 to x86 in-place upgrade is supported.
  • x64 = x64 to x64 in-place upgrade is supported.
  • RIU = Repair in-place upgrade is supported. This is a Microsoft Customer Service and Support scenario where the user performs a “Windows 7 SKU” to “Windows 7 same SKU” in-place upgrade as a means of repair (for example, upgrading Windows 7 Ultimate to Windows 7 Ultimate.
  • RIUx86 = Repair in-place upgrade is supported for x86 only.
  • WAU = Windows Anytime Upgrade is supported. WAU uses the Transmogrifier platform to transform a lower Windows 7 SKU to a higher Windows 7 SKU (for example, Windows 7 Home Basic to Windows 7 Ultimate.)
  • Windows 7 “K” editions follow the same upgrade paths as their corresponding Windows 7 edition. K is the localized Korean version of an edition.
  • This matrix identifies only supported upgrades between like regulatory N, E, and KN SKUs. For example, Windows 7 Starter N can only be upgraded through WAU to other N SKUs.

Other requirements for Windows 7 upgrade process is that the Windows 7 Upgrade process does not support a BitLocker encrypted system. BITLOCKER needs to be disabled or suspended before the upgrade process can be started. Besides, if the user changes or relocates Users directory and the ProgramData directory to a disk drive other than the system volume, the SKU upgrades and upgrades to future version of Windows will be blocked as the servicing stack does not handle cross-volume transactions.

Once interesting upgrade path not found in the Windows 7 Upgrade Text Matrix is ability to upgrade to Windows 7 E edition, a no-IE version of Windows 7 for European Commission block countries. It’s expected that Microsoft to allow any SKU of Windows Vista users to upgrade to Windows 7.

User who wants to keep a copy of Windows 7 Test Matrix can download it here. But do note that the document may be updated by Microsoft.

Update: Updated Windows 7 Upgrade Paths

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