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Microsoft lights upgrade path to Windows Vista

Business users to stay away in droves

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Microsoft has published the long-anticipated upgrade paths for moving PCs from old versions of Windows to Windows Vista. That's the good news.

The bad news (for most users)? You're gonna have to back up all your files and desktop settings for re-installation, along with all your PC applications, once Windows Vista is up and running.

This is the reality facing large number of business users still running Windows 2000 - 56 per cent, according to latest research. Microsoft said customers running Windows 2000 Professional are eligible for an upgrade copy to a corresponding or better edition of Windows Vista, but a "clean install" is still required.

Only users whose PCs are running Windows XP home edition will get to install any version of Windows Vista they like and retain their previous settings and applications. Full details of Microsoft's confusing upgrade path are available here.

What ever course home users take, few businesses will stampede to upgrade to Windows Vista. Fifty per cent said they either won't deploy Windows Vista at all or will wait at least 13 months after Microsoft's November 2006 "business availability" before they begin installation. Making matters worse for Microsoft, 13 per cent haven't even heard of Windows Vista according to a JupiterResearch poll of 207 businesses with more than 100 employees.

The data points come as reports surfaced of more restructuring inside Microsoft, designed to deliver future versions of Windows on time. Brian Valentine, long-time senior vice president of Microsoft's core operating system division and the man who headed up Windows engineering, is transferring to another position inside Microsoft. His job is going to Jon DeVaan, currently managing Microsoft's engineering standards. Valentine led Windows engineering for seven years.

DeVaan, who successfully worked on Office 2000, 97 and 95, will drive operating system development, cross-platform integration, and work with new Windows chief Steven Sinofsky.

This is the last changing of the guard on Windows, as Sinofsky was named senior vice president for the Windows and Windows Live Group in March, taking over Windows development from the outgoing Jim Allchin.

Microsoft is apparently laying the foundations to ensure, as chief executive Steve Ballmer told analysts last week, there are no more five year gaps in delivery of flagship products. ®

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