HP, Lenovo to offer free Windows 7 upgrades

Qualifying customers will receive upgrade DVDs for Microsoft's next OS, the PC makers said

Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo will offer free upgrades to the Microsoft Windows 7 OS for customers who buy PCs pre-installed with the Windows Vista OS, the companies said Thursday.

Customers who buy PCs with Windows Vista will need to go to the PC makers' Web sites to check upgrade eligibility. Qualifying customers will receive Windows 7 upgrade disks starting Oct. 22, when the new OS becomes generally available.

[ Microsoft also will launch its Windows 7 free upgrade program for buyers of Vista PCs. | Preparing for Windows 7? Get the overview you need in the Windows 7 PDF Report from InfoWorld's J. Peter Bruzzese. | Can your PCs run Windows 7? Find out with the compatibility checker in InfoWorld's free Windows Sentinel monitoring tool. ]

HP customers will be eligible for the program starting Thursday. Customers can check their eligibility at HP's Windows 7 upgrade site. Users will receive the Windows 7 DVD and an upgrade utility disk that helps them install the new OS.

A flyer inside PC boxes will notify Lenovo customers if they are eligible for the upgrade, said Lenovo spokeswoman Kristy Fair in an e-mail. The flyer will direct the customer to Lenovo's Windows 7 upgrade Web site.

The company plans to offer upgrade options for people who buy Windows XP or Windows Vista systems, Fair said. Customers must purchase PCs between Friday and Jan. 1, 2010, and will be eligible to receive upgrades through next March 31.

Dell and Acer did not immediately return calls for comments regarding their upgrade plans. Fujitsu declined to comment on the Windows 7 upgrade options it plans to offer.

Microsoft will provide free licenses for Windows 7 to PC makers through Jan. 31, the company said Thursday. Qualifying partners will provide free upgrades to new PC buyers, but Microsoft asked customers to check with PC makers regarding upgrade eligibility.