MICROSOFT HAS RELEASED a chart that shows what, and how, existing versions of Windows can be upgraded to its shiny new Windows 7, slated for retail release on 22 October.
In the table - which looks like a paintchart for people with colour blindness - Microsoft has helpfully split easy upgrades and not-so-easy upgrades into different colours. The Vole lists the most common versions of its operating systems, in both 32- and 64-bit versions, along with a note as to whether they can be upgraded with relative ease, combinations that result in a green box saying "In-Place Upgrade", or require a much more disruptive clean install, marked with a blue "Custom Install" box.
Custom install is presumably Vole-speak for 'you start over' - and the process promises to be anything but easy. Incidentally there are many more blue boxes than there are green ones, which is an ominous sign.
All you lucky punters faced with a 'custom install' scenario will have to backup all your data - documents, spreadsheets, emails, photos, and so on - to an external hard disk or another machine (surely you've got those laying about, right?), install your brand new copy of Windows 7, and then restore all of your data.
Sounds easy, dunnit? But wait, you won't be nearly done at that point. Then you get to re-install all of the software applications you have acquired over the years, find out by trial and error whether or not they still work under Windows 7, and apply all of the cumulative maintenance patches to all of those applications.
Then you get to enjoy the Vole's inevitable series of monthly Windows 7 and related software patches along with the applications administration nightmare that's bound to follow.
Where was that Linux distro CD again? It is sounding a hell of a lot easier all of a sudden. µ