It seems that there is some confusion for students who chose to try the super cheap $29.95 edition of Windows 7. A misunderstanding by some has led some students to try upgrading from a 32 bit version of Vista to a 64 bit version of Windows 7. Unfortunately there is not an upgrade process and only a clean install similar to what Windows XP requires.

According to one article, Microsoft has responded to the mix up, and has taken action.

Microsoft plans to tweak the student discount to account for users who want to migrate from 32-bit Vista to 64-bit Windows 7. “We’re obviously seeing people who want to upgrade to 64-bit,” said Bennett. “That’s good feedback, so let’s respond.”

Bennett said Microsoft and Digital River would offer the option of downloading an .iso file, which customers can then burn to a DVD or copy to a USB flash drive for conducting a “clean” upgrade, the only type of upgrade possible from 32-bit to 64-bit. A clean upgrade, also the only one allowed for Windows XP users, requires users to back up data and settings, install Windows 7, then restore the data and settings before finally reinstalling all applications.

The student offer snafu has been one of the most heavily trafficked topics on Microsoft’s support forums. Over the weekend, Microsoft seemed to put the blame on users who mistakenly downloaded the 64-bit version of the upgrade. Previously, users had raged at both Microsoft and Digital River, for first not providing enough information, then for not accepting responsibility. Several said that they had reported Digital River to the Better Business Bureau.

Paul Aaron, a senior group manager for Windows supportability, said he understood users’ anger. “Customers are frustrated with issues that they’re having, but the longer they wait, the more they get frustrated,” he said. “Today we’re light years faster than with we were when Vista launched. But we need to respond faster.

I believe that the upgrade path is confusing for some. Also the average consumer may not know the difference between a 32 bit version or a 64 bit version. They might not even know that their system may not be able to support 64 bit without the proper hardware.

I am sure we will see more horror stories as time passes. The next group of complaints will be when those who purchased Vista systems during the past four months or so get their promised Windows 7 disks. 🙂

Comments as always are welcome.