The Windows 7 Upgrade advisor is still in beta — as is the Windows 7 OS itself — but it’s recently acquired a pretty permanent-looking URL: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/upgrade-advisor.aspx. System admins who may be thinking about upgrading current XP or Vista platforms to Windows 7 will definitely want to download and check out this interesting tool. FWIW, I plan to upgrade my production machine as soon as I can lay hands on the RTM version of Windows 7 (hopefully, not too long after its reported mid-July release date to OEMs for testing and slipstreaming into their factory install programs), if only to see if Windows 7 can’t arrest and repair some of my current problems with networking, the snipping tool, and the sidebar on that machine.
Once you download and install the program, you’ll launch it from the Start menu. Thir produces a startup screen.
Click the “Start Check” button to perform the upgrade review of the machine upon which the software is running.
Wait several minutes while the hardware check is underway.
When it’s complete, a report appears as shown. It will tell you what kind of upgrade you can perform (if any), indicate any components on your current OS that may not be available in Windows 7 (for my Vista Ultimate install that includes Windows Mail, now supplanted by Windows Live Essentials Mail, parental controls that are no longer supported in Windows 7, and Ultimate Extras which are likewise gone, gone gone).
If you’re curious, you can also click on the System Requirements link to see how well your system meets Windows 7 minimum install requirements.
If you’re even halfway thinking about upgrading any machines to Windows 7, you definitely want to install and get to know the beta version of this tool. At 6.3 MB, it’s a pretty speedy download.