Pin Me

MIcrosoft Offer: Windows 7 Free Upgrade – How It Works and What You Need to Do to Get It

written by: Rebecca Scudder•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 11/6/2009

Microsoft is offering a free Windows 7 upgrade for people who purchase a new computer running Vista, or who buy a new copy of Vista between June 26, 2009 and January 31, 2010. Read here to find out the details and requirements.

  • slide 1 of 6

    Microsoft offer: Free Upgrade for WIndows 7

    Microsoft is offering a free upgrade to Windows 7 OS for Windows Vista users. There are some conditions you need to be aware of to make sure your can take advantage of this offer.

    Microsoft Windows Vista® operating system editions are able to obtain an upgrade license to the appropriate Windows 7 edition if the end user meets program qualifications.

    • The Program Eligibility Period is from June 26, 2009 to January 31, 2010
    • Microsoft's offer only supplies upgrades for three Vista products, which match the simplified Windows 7 versions. (Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Business, and Windows 7 Ultimate) Windows Vista Ultimate will get you an upgrade for Windows 7 Ultimate.
    • It is not available for Vista Home Basic, Vista Home Starter edition, and any Windows XP versions
    • Each upgrade path will support all available versions of that product: language, territory, 32 bit or 64 bit versions. Upgrades are only available for the exact specifications of the Vista version you have installed. You will not be able to change language versions or to go from Windows Vista® Home Premium K edition to anything but the Windows® 7 Home Premium K edition.
    • If you have an eligible Vista bonus version that was downgradeable to Windows XP, you can still participate in the program if the other conditions are met. You will need to do a clean installation or use your recovery media to restore the Vista version that came with your computer. In that case, you will be able to update directly to Windows 7.
    • Initial Upgrade Media Fulfillment Date Windows® 7 General Availability Date is 22 October 2009
    • The Upgrade Offer Form Expiration Date is February 28, 2010, and the Final Software Fulfillment Date / Program End Date is April 30, 2010.

    Additional details on the program can be found on Microsoft's site Windows 7 Upgrade Option Program

  • slide 2 of 6

    Upgrade form

    Windows 7 Upgrade form 

    Your computer manufacturer may include an update certificate with your qualifying purchase. Windows 7 Upgrade form

    If your computer was preinstalled with Vista Home premium, Vista Business, or Vista Ultimate and distributed on or after 6/26/09, and had no forms included, check with your computer manufacturer to see if your PC is part of the Upgrade Option Program. If so, you should follow the manufacturer’s directions for getting your Upgrade.

    If your computer manufacturer has not included a form for the upgrade, and you purchased your computer in the qualifying time period, you need to find out the details for getting the upgrade directly from the manufacturer. On Microsoft's Windows 7 Upgrade Option Program site, you can find links to manufacturers who are participating in the program, to learn what they require. An additional article will cover details for obtaining the upgrade directly from PC manufactures if you cannot get it directly from Microsoft.

    Microsoft does say: Not all PC manufacturers are participating in this program. Some are participating but may have an unusual or unique way to get and fulfill the Windows 7 Upgrade requests.

    To submit the form for claiming your upgrade, go to the Windows 7 Upgrade Option site. On your offer form, there will be a 17-character code. You can use the option on Microsoft's site to have them read your computer and determine which Windows 7 Upgrade your computer needs. Microsoft says check that the edition displayed is your actual operating system before submitting your order.

    If you want to find the information manually, check your operating system: Start -> Computer -> Properties -> Windows editions ->. Your operating system will display the information on your operating system on your computer. Also check on that page in System type and verify 32-bit or 64-bit on your computer is what is on the offer form.

    Microsoft does advise you back up your system before upgrading. They warn: If you attempt to upgrade to a non-matching version of Windows 7, the upgrade will fail. You can also lose applications, files and settings from your original version of Windows software. In extreme cases, you may have to formatting of the hard drive again.

  • slide 3 of 6

    Hardware requirements

    You will also want to make sure that your current system has everything it needs to run Windows 7 correctly. These are the minimum hardware requirements you need:

    • 1 GHz 32-bit or 64-bit processor
    • 1 GB of system memory
    • 16 GB of available disk space
    • Support for DirectX 9 graphics with 128 MB memory (to enable the Aero theme)
    • DVD-R/W Drive
    • Internet access
    • Some Windows 7 features such as their touch screen navigation and the ability to watch and record live TV may require additional hardware (Duh!)

    Once you confirm this, you will provide a shipping address, email, and daytime phone number. You will be contacted if there are difficulties fulfilling your order.

  • slide 4 of 6
    How to Get Microsoft's Offer for Windows 7 Free Upgrade for Your New Vista Computer: Ordering and How to Get an Upgrade with a Boxed Version of VistaMicrosoft's offer for getting their free upgrade to Windows 7 has specific steps that need to be followed. Read here for the information you need. We also cover the steps for getting an upgrade if you purchased a boxed version of Vista in the qualifying time period.
  • slide 5 of 6

    Ordering the upgrade

    To order the Upgrade software:

    Find your upgrade form, and go to Order Your Upgrade page on this website

    Enter the offer form code and submit. The website should show you the Vista edition and the 32 bit or 64 bit platform that shipped with your computer's offer form.

    Make sure this matches what you have for the computer you are upgrading!

    Click on the This Edition Is Correct button.

    If it is not correct, then click This Edition Is NOT Correct. You will be prompted to contact Microsoft's program team.

    Select Language. If it is there, select it and click the button for Order the Selected Upgrade.

    Again, if the correct language is not there, click NOT Order the Upgrade button. Contact the Microsoft Program Team.

    If this is your only upgrade offer, then click Proceed to Shipping Details. If you have additional upgrade forms, click the Enter another Offer Form Code button and repeat the steps. You can submit five upgrade forms at a single visit to this site, and up to 25 offer forms from any single shipping and email address.

    On shipping details, select your destination country. Enter all the required information. Then click Proceed so you can review your order.

    If the details are not correct, click to return to the shipping details page and correct the wrong information.

    An order confirmation page will display your order ID. You will need that ID to check on your status. Print the page. You will get a confirmation email sent to the email address you provided. It will tell you the estimated shipping date and other order information.

    You can change your shipping address before order processing. Go to the Track/Edit Your Order tab.

    If you need to cancel for some reason, contact the MS program team. Since this is a constant refrain, here is where you should contact them if you need them. Also, this page has the tabs for ordering your upgrade at the top of the screen.

    The cost for upgrading to the Windows 7 version of your Vista edition is $9.99 for shipping and handling. It will take 6-8 week after the scheduled release date of Windows 7, Oct 22, 2009. The updates for Windows 7 will be sent to people after Windows 7 is actually released.

    If there are issues with your order, there is help information on the website. If your problem is not solved, contact the program team (and a very busy group of people they will be from the look of this).

    If you have problems with the website, again contact the Program team for assistance.

  • slide 6 of 6

    Upgrading from a boxed version of VIsta

    If you purchase a boxed version of an eligible Vista operating system as a retail product, within the Microsoft offer time period, you can order an upgrade to the corresponding Windows 7 product directly from Microsoft. The button for following up on this offer is at the bottom of this page. Additional information is available here.

    Microsoft has a FAQ about the Free Upgrade to Windows 7 offer.

    The site gives you the details of required proofs of purchase and other information need to fulfill their offer. This is the page where you validate your proof of purchase: Microsoft Windows 7 Upgrade Option Program for Retail Packaged Product. There is an additional section on the site, How Your Order Will Be Processed. If by any chance, when you receive your upgrade, it is not the right one, do not install it. Contact the program team for help. For convince, go to this page to contact the program. Enjoy your free upgrade!