One of the more convenient features of Windows Vista that will carry into Windows 7 is the “Windows Anytime Upgrade” option. To put in perspective, this gives users with “basic” versions of Windows a quick and seemingly easy upgrade path to more “premium” versions of the operating system.
To perform the action, all that is required is the purchase an upgrade key to unlock the additional features. This means that users can end up with the version of Windows 7 that they want regardless of what version their system came preinstalled with. However, we must be clear to point out that it is not possible to upgrade from a 32-bit version to a 64-bit version, as they are inherently different architectures.
On another note, the feature is great for OEMs and system builders who can set lower prices on desktops and notebooks by including only the most basic version of the operating system. In effect, it would then be the consumer’s expense to upgrade to a more preferred version of Windows 7.
TechARP just published a preview of the WAU upgrade process for Windows 7 which can be found here.