Microsoft Asks Windows 7 Testers To Revert To Vista

Windows Vista

On Tuesday, in a sympathetically worded post to the Engineering Windows 7 blog, the Windows 7 team explained that Microsoft needs to ensure that the Windows 7 RC works in real-world scenarios, and the best way to achieve this is by having users revert back to Vista and then either upgrade or perform a clean install of the Windows 7 RC.

"We know that means reinstalling, recustomizing, reconfiguring, and so on. That is a real pain," the Windows 7 team said in the blog post. "The reality is that upgrading from one prerelease build to another is not a scenario we want to focus on because it is not something real-world customers will experience."

Having users migrate to the Windows 7 RC from Vista will help Microsoft gather accurate telemetry data, which helped Microsoft figure out which device drivers were missing during the Windows 7 beta. "We're just trying to be deterministic and engineer the product for the real world," the Windows 7 team said.

The irony here is that many beta testers are running Windows 7 full time precisely because it works so much better than Vista. For Microsoft, this is a good problem to have. Still, Microsoft is aware of the damage that millions of angry users can cause, so it's grudgingly providing a mechanism for upgrading directly from the Windows 7 beta to the Windows 7 RC to testers.

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One thing Microsoft hasn't changed its mind about, however, is providing Windows XP users with an upgrade path to Windows 7. Microsoft's refusal to budge on this issue stems from the many changes Microsoft has made to Windows in the eight years since it released XP, the Windows 7 team said.

"We realized at the start of this project that the 'upgrade' from XP would not be an experience we think would yield the best results," the Windows 7 team said. "We know that for a set of customers this trade-off seems less than perfect, but we think the up-front time is well worth it."