Ask LH: How Can I Score A Cheap Windows Upgrade?

Ask LH: How Can I Score A Cheap Windows Upgrade?

Dear Lifehacker, I bought a Dell Inspiron 1545 in 2009 which came with Windows Vista Home Basic, and I’d like to upgrade it to Windows 7. Is there any way I can upgrade to Windows 7 without paying full price? My initial research suggests that I can’t buy an “upgrade version” because of the conditions that apply to Home Basic.

I’m also a full-time student; does that help?

Thanks, Windows Upgrader

Dear WU,

Windows licensing can be complicated and confusing, but in this case your choices are fairly clear. If you’re running Windows Vista Home Basic, you can upgrade it to either Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 7 Ultimate, as this chart points out. You’ll pay around $170 for an upgrade copy of Home Premium at retail outlets.

As a student, you can score a very cheap complete copy of Windows 8 for $69.99. Microsoft doesn’t have any current student offers for Windows 7, and in practical terms, if you’re going to pay for an upgrade it may as well be to the most recent release. (Despite Windows 8 sporting the Metro interface, once you hit the desktop it runs Windows apps somewhat better than Windows 7.)

That said, there are some good reasons to resist making this choice. In particular, the 1545 is a fairly low-powered machine, with just 3GB of RAM in its basic version. So you’re not likely to see any performance gains from making the shift.

The bottom line is this: there’s not much logic in spending any large amount of money to upgrade for a machine that is now approaching four years old. Save that money and wait until you can afford to buy a newer model, even if it is a simple sub-$500 entry-level notebook. If you really feel you need a newer version, the student pricing for Windows 8 is your best bet.


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    • Big W is worth trying too. I went to Officeworks in Lismore and Coffs Harbour and neither had it, but ended up finding it while in Big W in Coffs and it’s $68 there also.

  • If your a student at a university with a paid Microsoft academic license account you can get it for free

  • If you’re going to upgrade the OS definitely worth upgrading to 8 instead of 7; the improved performance is worth it and if you miss the Start menu too much there’s no shortage of programs that bring it back and skip the Modern UI.

  • just last week my nephew went into Harvey Norman, they had Windows 8 Pro for about $400! he said, they have it for about $80 in Officeworks and they said straight away i can do it for $80 as well.
    i havnt confirmed that it really was $400, that seems way too much to me. thats what he said though.

  • Microsoft FPP Product keys are sensitive case, Because Microsoft provide it for only one system at the same time, I was need the windows 7 key for my laptop to upgrade from home premium to professional, So I contact to Microsoft but they denied to give me a sigle fpp key, So I search all over the world to purchase it.
    Recently, I ordered at a site from India, They provided me 3 windows 7 pro oem keys with their stickers and 2 windows 8.1 pro oem keys, Which is legal and working good. I’m happy after getting so cheap oem license.
    You can also get an unused Windows 7(any version)8, 8.1 pro License key from: ODosta Store
    Otherwise, FPP keys are very costly, Usually it come with full package with DVD media, So I suggest to buy oem keys, Which has branded from Dell, Hp, Lenovo etc, As its mean “Original Equipment Manufacturer” Goods.

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