This is not the first time that I approach the subject of Windows Vista upgrades. However, I have never detailed the upgrade options that users have if they wish to switch one edition of the operating system for another. With Windows Vista Microsoft has streamlined the upgrade process. Swapping an inferior edition for a more feature-rich alternative can be done via an upgrade disc or through the Windows Anytime upgrade disc. Inferior in this context should be read according to the features and capabilities each version of Vista delivers to users.
The main editions of Windows Vista can be cataloged according to the following hierarchy: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business and Ultimate. This is the main upgrade path for Windows Vista, from Basic to Premium to Business and to Ultimate. However, there are a few issues that you have to consider. First off, there is the small matter of 32-bit and 64-bit editions of the operating system. Microsoft treats each of them separately.
With 64-bit editions of Windows Vista, things are as clear as possible. You can upgrade:
- Home Basic to Home Premium and Ultimate;
- Home Premium to Ultimate;
- Business to Ultimate.
All of these have to be x64 Vista editions. Why? Due to the simple reason that you will not be able to upgrade from the 32-bit to the 64-bit versions of Windows Vista. What this means is that while you may own a 32-bit Vista you will also have to purchase a full license of a 64-bit edition. If you only acquire an upgrade edition, you will not be able to upgrade the 32-bit operating system to the 64-bit variant.
With 32-bit Windows Vista things are a tad more tricky. Here are the upgrade paths, be sure to check out the image included at the bottom for clarification on the 32-bit Vista upgrade options:
- from Vista Home Basic to Home Premium, Business and Ultimate;
- from Vista Home Basic N users will not be able to upgrade to any other edition of Vista with the exception of Vista Home Basic N;
- from Vista Home Premium to Ultimate;
- from Vista Business to Ultimate;
- from Vista Business N users also have no upgrade options available.
Windows Vista Home Basic N and Business N are available only in Europe.