Windows 7 - Upgrade or Full version

I have 2 Dell workstations with XPSP3 and 1 dell workstation with Vista. I want to make them all Windows 7.  Each workstation meets at least the minimum hardware requirement for Windows 7.

I have limited funds. I am a bit confused about whether to get the upgrade or the full version of the Windows 7 install. Can you provide some advice?

Thanks
pcwizz1Asked:
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bigeven2002Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Question... When installing the full version of Windows 7 does the process ask if I want to delete partitions and format the drive?

Yes it does, when setup begins and finds the Hard drive, you will have the option to modify/recreate partitions, and then format them before beginning installation.  See screenshot below of what it looks like.

Windows 7 will also make it's own small partition at the beginning of the drive for specific system files.  This partition is mandatory and is hidden from the user.

Windows 7 partition
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Steven HarrisPresidentCommented:
For Vista:

Both upgrade and full editions include the same features.

An upgrade installation replaces your current version of Windows with Windows 7 and your files, settings, and programs are kept in place on your PC.

NOTE - You cannot upgrade from Windows XP to Window 7.  You will have to do a clean install and then recover your files.
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bigeven2002Commented:
Hello,

While upgrading is the cheaper route, it's not always the easiest.  Either option, you will have to reinstall all your programs and restore your files and settings, at least on the XP machines.  Chances are some of the programs you currently have installed will need to be updated to be compatible with Windows 7.

Also, are you planning to install the 64-bit windows 7 or are you sticking with 32-bit?  If going 64-bit, then the upgrade path will not work.

While I understand your funds are limited, my recommendation would be to go the full version route.  This way you are starting with a clean slate and Windows 7 won't inherit any existing software problems on those machines.

Here is also some information on the Windows Easy Transfer tool that helps migrate files and settings from XP and Vista to Windows 7:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/products/features/windows-easy-transfer

Backup all files to an external drive, make note of which programs to reinstall afterwards, then format the drives in the 3 computers and begin the windows 7 installation.
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pcwizz1Author Commented:
Hi bigeven 2002,

Thank you for your feedback. I will be going with the 32 bit version as none of my machines support 64bit.

Question... When installing the full version of Windows 7 does the process ask if I want to delete partitions and format the drive?

Thanks
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
One thing I have done and I think you can still do is get Windows 7 Pro 64-bit OEM (which will be a full install). It comes without Microsoft Support but you can probably live without that. So long as you recognize that the OEM license is for the one box only, you should be fine.

As the other posters have noted, you need to do a full install to change to 64-bit. Using OEM will lower your cost.

.... Thinkpads_User
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pcwizz1Author Commented:
Hi ThinkSpaceSolutions,

I saw something about running XP virtually in Win7. Is that tue? And if so, does that mean that I can install XP programs while in that mode?

Thanks
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
XP mode is for Windows 7 Pro only (not Home) and there is no XP Mode for Windows 8 if you go that route. But XP Mode for Windows 7 Pro permits XP programs to run. It is a free download from Microsoft (no additional cost).

OEM Windows 7 comes 32-bit and 64-bit.

.... Thinkpads_User
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Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
If your machines are 3-5 years+ old, you should project how much time do you still intend to use them.

If you're going to replace your PCs in the following year or 2, it might be cheaper to buy now retail copies of Windows 7 Pro, because you cannot transfer the OEM copy to the new machines.

HTH,
Dan
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