Rebuttal to “Windows Weekly with Paul Thurrott – Weekly 121: Wong Was Wrong”

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On September 4th, Paul Thurrott referenced one of my blog entries and even titled his article as “Wong Was Wrong”.  Normally, I wouldn’t take much issue with things like this, but in this case, I have to say that Paul was WRONG.  Let me explain this further.

On July 8, 2009, I made the following post: where I talked about whether it was possible to perform an in-place upgrade from Windows 7 Release Candidate to Windows 7 RTM.  There were comments posted to that blog in which I responded to with answers.  On July 16th, I responded to a question about what was required to use the Windows 7 Upgrade Media.  Based on a misunderstanding on my part, I provided an incorrect answer.

On July 22, 2009, I made another post to clarify a few more items around my original July 8th post:  If you look at Item 7, I admitted that I was wrong in posting my original answer and that the final official answer had not been posted and made public yet.

Ultimately, I was incorrect in my original post and in that respect Paul was correct in stating that I was wrong.  However, if he had taken the time to look at my posts in his “research”, he would have seen that I retracted my original answer and made it clear that I was also waiting for official guidance from the Windows 7 team.  For Paul to cite my original blog post without mentioning my second blog post is totally inaccurate and a misrepresentation of information.  I totally understand that I am not always correct and am willing to admit my mistakes when I make them (and I did within 6 days when I realized my mistake).

Since Paul’s Weekly 121 came out on September 4th, he evidently had access to both of my posts but only chose to reference the one where I gave the wrong answer and did not reference the one where I retracted it.  I just want to set the record straight here.

On September 24th, the Windows Team came out with the official guidance on the Upgrade process in this post:

Here’s the snippet from that post that addresses this situation (with the key paragraph in blue and bold) …

Question: What versions of Windows 7 will I see and be able to buy in stores (and online)?

There will be two types of Windows 7 versions (also known as licenses) sold in both in stores and online in most of the world:

  • "Upgrade": "Upgrade" versions of Windows 7 require Windows XP or Windows Vista to be installed on your computer. The Windows 7 setup process will look for a previous version of Windows on the computer during installation and if a previous version is not found, activation will not complete successfully using the Product Key for the upgrade license. There are no differences in functionality between the "Upgrade" and the "Full" version.
  • "Full": "Full" versions of Windows 7 are also available (they do not say "upgrade" on the box). This version is for people that don't have Windows XP or Windows Vista installed on their PC. These can be also used to upgrade from Windows Vista or Windows XP to Windows 7, but they typically cost more than the upgrade versions.

Question: What is the difference between the Upgrade and Full version of Windows 7 and which one should I buy?

Upgrade versions require Windows XP or Windows Vista to be running on your computer before installing Windows 7. Full versions of Windows 7 don't require a previous version of Windows to be running on your computer. Both upgrade and full versions contain the same features. If you want to format your hard drive when installing Windows 7, you will need the full version. In general, choose the full version of Windows 7 if you don't have a previous version of Windows on your PC. Choose the upgrade version if you have Windows XP or Windows Vista on your PC.

For the steps for “Upgrading” from Windows XP to Windows 7, there is a great article here:

Harold Wong

Comments (6)

  1. Harold Wong says:

    Ray, if you have a valid licensed copy of Windows XP installed on your current computer, you can use the Windows 7 Upgrade media to go from Windows XP to Windows 7 per the directions listed in the Windows Team Blog that I included in my original post.


  2. Hi Harold

    Good for you. Paul does tend to be a bit overbearing and sensationalist sometimes.

    The problem I am having is that Microsoft seems to not want to reveal ‘all’ of the details on upgrades as well as some of the special offers.

    In this case, ‘does the XP or Vista install need to be activated prior to installing? Microsoft does not publish this information and emails or even telephone calls gives no results. My own guess is that it would need to be activated since the published instructions say A ‘valid copy’ and the only way to prove validity is to have the system activated with a legal product key.

    With some of the special offers, such as the Student 29.95 offer does this provide an ‘upgrade or a full version.’ This information appears nowhere on the offer pages and emailing Digital River support results in conflicting answers?



  3. Ray Avila says:

    I want to do an upgrade from XP Pro on a computer that never had Vista installed. Can I install Vista, leave it unactivated and during the first 30 days (or minutes, more likely) use my Windows 7 Upgrade version to upgrade it? I’d rather not have to purchase a full version of Vista for $130 today for three computers if possible andI do have a licensed version of XP.


  4. Vince says:

    I have read some things that Paul has said to be very misleading to say the least. I am glad you spoke up!


  5. jo says:

    You tell it like it’s suppose to… you go with that "wong" side!

  6. Mark says:

    Harold, I have read his site for years and he comes off as something a little worse than a Mac Fanboy, everything he writes I end up having to do research on because it always seems to be one sided and full of half truths… I wouldn’t worry much… Those that really know what is going on in the world of IT know what he really is… ShamWow anyone?


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