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on November 12, 2009
I don't see much commentary here about the actual product performance. There is a lot of confusion about this upgrade in the retail outlets, so I thought I'd explain to those with questions.

I researched Windows 7 before I bought my computer, and knew I wanted Win 7 Professional in case I wanted to run XP programs. Most retail outlets only had Win 7 Home Premium installed on their computers. The computer stores had the Win 7 Pro computers on backorder. Through some investigation at Microsoft, I found out that all versions of Win 7 are preinstalled, and you just need to get a key to "unlock" the higher versions. This is that key.

It took a total of 14 minutes to install this upgrade on my new computer. The hardest part was typing in the multi-digit key. (In other words, not hard!) It ran for 12 minutes, and then it was ready to go!

I haven't tried the features of Win 7 Pro to rate it, but this upgrade works as promised.
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Most laptops/notebooks seem to ship with Windows 7 Home Premium rather than Windows 7 Professional. That is probably fine for most users. However, if you need your Windows 7 Notebook to be part of a business domain network, you need Windows 7 Professional. This upgrade is how you accomplish the change.

It turns out that Windows 7 Home Premium already contains Windows 7 Professional; it is simply not enabled. When you buy this upgrade you are getting an upgrade key. No disk, just a key sticker and very brief instructions. Key it in pursuant to the laughably simple instructions and within minutes you will be running Windows 7 Professional. One caveat: apparently you cannot upgrade from Windows 7 32 to Windows 7 64 bit. This will affect very few users as I do not believe that hardly any computers are shipping with 32 bit Windows 7. Nor should they. Windows 7 64 bit is very compatible with existing 32 bit software, and in the future we can expect lots of 64 bit software and we all want to be ready for it.

Some have criticized Microsoft for charging for the upgrade from Home Premium to Professional, but my opinion (which is only that) is that Microsoft makes its living by selling operating system software and this is one way for them to do it. At least the upgrade is easy, painless, and quick. RJB.
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on March 30, 2010
My laptop crashed and needed to be replaced. Old laptop was on XP Pro; new one on Win 7 Premium Home. One of my old software programs did not work on Win 7, and it is no longer supported, but I needed to use it. Research told me I could create a Virtual PC operating on XP but only from Win 7 Pro. So I bought the unlock code. It worked fine. I have now created Virtual PC and can access my needed old software program in that manner. Couple minor problems. First, a Virtual PC is truly a separate PC. It does not have access to the antivirus software installed on the Win 7 PC. Fortunately my ISP offers free downloads of Norton PC. Laptop came with McAfee (I did not want it because of my free access to antivirus from my ISP, but I had no choice). So I now have the main laptop protected by McAfee and the Virtual PC protected by Norton. Upgrade downloads occur separately and require separate reboots to take effect. There is no conflict because they are effectively two separate computers. Second, Win 7 has separated screen resolution from font size, two functions joined in XP. On XP I always selected a step down on resolution so I could read the fonts. In Win 7, I can now use max resolution and larger fonts. But when I go to Virtual PC, I cannot change resolution. So I either have to step down in resolution before invoking Virtual PC or I am stuck with microscopic fonts.
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on September 25, 2010
The Windows 7 operating system is offered in several versions: Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. It's important to understand what features are contained (and not included!) in each version so that you won't be disappointed with your machine.

If you are going to use your laptop, computer, or workstation for any business or other serious purpose, forget about the Starter, Home Basic and Home Premium versions. Unfortunately, one of these is usually what's installed if you buy the machine from online discounters or in large electronic stores

However, all is not lost. For the first time, the Windows 7 operating system comes with all the features for all the versions. All a user has to do is "unlock" those features. That's where the "Anytime Upgrade" comes in. Open this package and you will find a code. Type in "anytime upgrade" on your machine, and you will see a screen that asks for the code. Type it in and voila! You are upgraded to Windows 7 Professional. No disks. No sweat.

It's great that Amazon sells this product at a good price. Windows 7 Professional includes a license for Windows XP and can run your older software (and drivers for older hardware like printers) in XP Mode. So when I bought my first Windows 7 machine and knew it came with the Home Premium edition, I did not worry, knowing I could buy this upgrade from Amazon.
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on September 22, 2010
I bought a new desktop from Dell in June with Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit, moving up from a desktop which had Windows XP Professional. I had done a few comparisons with the price and thought it would probably be better to first go with the lower priced Home Premium version and see if it met my needs.

It sort of did, but two months in I was finding myself wanting of features I took for granted in XP Pro. Although Home Premium is powerful enough it's still quite neutered and you can't do things like use the Group Policy editor or use the included backup program, along with other power user tweaks that don't involve any Registry tinkering. Also, a few programs, being a 64-bit system, did not run, though I will admit that some of those programs include games from the Microsoft Best of Entertainment Pack from 1996 that I always played, but could not here.

After lots of debate I decided to bump up to Professional. I went to a store and purchased this, and this is one of the bottlenecks you run into buying an Anytime Upgrade; nobody selling it knows exactly what it is unless it's explained exactly by the customer ahead of time. You need to be careful buying this product and any Anytime Upgrade. I got the Upgrade disc from Vista to 7 at first, when I needed the Anytime Upgrade, which comes in a much smaller package solely consisting of a code card and basic instructions. I feel Microsoft needs to change the name perhaps to better describe the product.

Anyways, I got it home, punched in the key into the Anytime Upgrade dialogue, and about 14 minutes later I was now running my computer in Windows 7 Professional. I ran into a couple of issues, mainly that my Start menu's most recently used programs were gone along with all of my System Restores, so run a System Restore immediately if all is well.

Then came installing XP Mode. I have an AMD Phenom II with six cores so I was more than ready to run it. Another fifteen minutes, that was installed. However, I must recommend almost immediately that you are running an unprotected system the moment you launch the XP mode desktop. At minimum like I did, install the free Windows Security Essentials onto the XP virtual machine, and then Internet Explorer 8, because there is no need in 2010 to run IE6 unless you find reinstalling your entire system after a spyware invasion to be a fun weekend activity. That XP Mode doesn't have these programs right at the start is kind of appalling and Windows 7 SP2 (or an included exclusive Windows XP Service Pack 3.5 for XP Mode installs) should hopefully address this.

Ten minutes later I was testing XP Mode programs within the Windows 7 desktop. It is slightly slower than usual (remember, it's a virtual machine so you're only devoting a little bit of RAM to it rather than it all), but still quite serviceable. Mind you this was just testing Chip's Challenge and then SkiFree until the Yeti chased down my skiier, but I am quite happy that I have more control over my system than I did under 7 Home Professional.
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on July 10, 2010
This product saved me about $50 over buying my computer with Professional pre-installed. As most of you know, most new computers come with Home Premium, not Professional. Additionally, most manufacturers will charge you $120-150 to do this upgrade for you.

Professional lets you do 5 things Home Premium will not:

1. Run programs in Windows XP Mode (virtual OS)
2. Join a Domain
3. Back up data to a network location
4. Encrypt your data
5. Set a default printer for multiple networks (for laptops)

The upgrade took 8 minutes on my computer. No disc or download required. If you want or need to do any of these things, this is the way to go.

To avoid disappointment:

If you want to use XP Mode, you need a computer that supports virtualization. To find out, go to [...]. You may also need to turn on virtualization in your BIOS settings. Update: Microsoft claims you do not need hardware virtualization if you have Windows 7 service pack 1 installed. I have not tested this myself.

This product will not upgrade you from 32-bit Windows to 64-bit Windows (nor does it claim to).
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on May 9, 2010
The Windows 7 Professional upgrade does allow you to run older programs (e.g., MS Word 2000) that were compatible with Windows XP, but are not compatible with the newer operating system. Intergration with the 'Virtual PC' running XP mode and the Windows 7 environment is fair, but not perfect. For example, one of my printer drivers is incompatible with XP mode, so printing from the Virtual PC is difficult at times. The cost of this Windows upgrade is only justified by the fact that I don't need to upgrade my Adobe Acrobat 5.0 and Office 2000 software. The product, although you pay for shipping and it comes in a plastic box, is nothing more than a 25 digit unlock code.
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on December 15, 2009
Win 7's Virtual XP allowed me to run all of my old software and hardware that would not operate under Vista and Win 7 Home & Student. This upgrade worked great for me.
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on March 28, 2010
This does what it says, which is not to magically make old XP programs run that wont run in Win7 home.

If you want to run Xp stuff that wont run in home's compatability modes, there is an easy soln.

Get VirtualBox (its free) and install your old XP as a virtual machine within Windows 7.
This is also a good solution if your running into 32bit/64bit issues.

You can get VirtualBox at [...]
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on October 16, 2011
I thought I'd provide some details of what happens when you buy the online upgrade code, because that's where I had some concerns before I purchased. I'm not going to even attempt to review why I needed to purchase an upgrade code, etc. as the reasons behind why any individual person needs to upgrade their operating system are so diverse. I'm also not going to review the operating system itself, as this is an Upgrade purchase, and the review should be of the upgrade process, and specifically this is a digital delivery purchase so my review addresses the specifics of this purchase.

Note: You don't have to upgrade the computer you are currently working on, the person enters the code later on whatever computer is to be upgraded. In my case, this code was entered some time later on a completely different machine.

When you go through and purchase, the end screen will tell you that you have purchased and ask you to confirm that you wish to view your upgrade code on the screen. Note that you automatically receive an email from Amazon with the Order Confirmation, but this does not have your code in it.

You click that you agree and want to see the code. The screen then shows you the code directly on the screen. You can cut and paste it right then and there (that's what I did). There are three small buttons on the right of the code on the screen:

1. "Print" - Gives you a printable popup with the code and instructions that I've provided below. I printed it, print of course works fine. The email options did NOT work for me, as described below....)

2. "Email" - Shows a popup with your amazon account's email address prefilled so that you can easily email to yourself (or you can change the email address as needed), (I sent the email to my email -- it has never arrived a day later, I've checked my spam folder as well, so I'd say definitely print it in addition to anything else you try and;

3. "Send as Gift" - This sends the code in an email to someone else. Clicking this button shows a popup, with the following fields: Recipient's email address, To (used to address the recipient, presumably), From (defaults to your Amazon name, you can update this field), and Message (an initially blank field that you can type in, it's a free field text of 300 max characters). I tried this one as well, no email, no message in spam, so not sure what to think, maybe their email (SMTP) server was down this weekend... but be advised that email can have problems)

They give you instructions on how to use the code. I'll provide them here in case anyone else (similar to myself) was curious about how exactly this worked:

How to Use Your Windows Anytime Upgrade Key
1. Copy and paste this key into the PC already running Windows that you wish to upgrade:
2. On your PC, open Windows Anytime Upgrade by clicking the Start button, typing "Windows Anytime Upgrade" in the search box, and then clicking Windows Anytime Upgrade in the list of results.
3. Click "Enter an upgrade key", then enter your 25 digit upgrade key.
4. Following the verification process of your upgrade key, accept the licensing terms.
5. Click the "Upgrade" button to complete the upgrade process.
6. If prompted, you may need to reboot your computer.
Congratulations, you have now updated your edition of Windows 7!

Now, the email that has your Order Confirmation (that does NOT have your code, it's just the order confirmation) says that your code is available in your Amazon Games and Software Library, and the order confirmation email itself gives you a link to your own account's library. Click that link in your email and it will open up your Amazon account's Games and Software Library and the Product Key(s) that you've purchased will all appear there. The "Print", "Email", "Send as Gift" buttons appear to the right of the code on this page as well, so if you missed it the first time around, you can try again.

Upgrade (it's an unlock) was smooth, nothing to comment there. At this point, a day later, I still haven't received an email with the code by clicking the "Email" button to the right of the code displayed on the screen. I definitely recommend printing your code with the "Print" function.
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