A. Thanks to Vista's new Windows Imaging (WIM) format delivery mechanism, when you purchase Vista, the DVD has all the versions of Vista, no matter which version you bought. The version that's installed depends on the product key you enter. If initially you install a "lower" version of Vista and want to upgrade, all you need is a new product key and the Vista DVD. This new key is available via the Windows Anytime Upgrade component of Vista.

The Windows Anytime Upgrade (as with any upgrade) performs a Vista upgrade in the same way as upgrading from XP to Vista: It doesn't simply install the new components but performs the regular full upgrade process.

Microsoft's suggested upgrade pricing is as follows:

  • Home Basic to Home Premium - $79
  • Home Basic to Ultimate - $199
  • Home Premium to Ultimate - $159
  • Business to Ultimate - $139

Additionally, if you purchase either the full or upgrade version of Windows Vista Ultimate, a Windows Vista Family Discount plan applies, which lets you buy copies of Windows Vista Home Premium for only $49.99 each between January 30, 2007 and June 30, 2007.

You can also purchase Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 via the Microsoft Marketplace and download it directly to your machine.