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Windows Anytime Upgrade Program Details
An overview of the Windows Anytime Upgrade Program (WAU), which provides customers with the ability to upgrade from a lower edition of Windows Vista to a higher edition if they decide they want or need more out of their current operating system.

Editor’s Note: Effective February 20, 2008, Microsoft and its partners have decided to end digital product key distribution in an effort to streamline the Windows Anytime Upgrade customer experience. Microsoft is announcing the changes based on customer feedback, and will continue to make full WAU kits available directly from Microsoft as well as local retailers worldwide. For more information about the changes to WAU, please visit

January 2007

Campaign overview

What Is WAU?

With Windows Anytime Upgrade (WAU), Microsoft has built a simple and convenient way for customers to upgrade from a lower edition of Windows Vista™ to a higher edition of Windows Vista™, when they discover they want or need more out of their current operating system. Users can go online “anytime” to upgrade from:

Windows Vista™ Home Basic to Windows Vista™ Home Premium or Windows Vista™ Ultimate

Windows Vista™ Home Premium to Windows Vista™ Ultimate

Windows Vista™ Business to Windows Vista™ Ultimate

Windows Anytime Upgrade logo
Windows Anytime Upgrade logo
Click for high-res image (300 dpi tif, 687 KB)

With the introduction of the WAU model for upgrades, customers can now upgrade to a higher edition of Windows Vista™ without losing any data or functionality. With the good, better, best concept of Windows Vista™, upgrading simply means adding more functionality to what was available in the lower edition. To complete the upgrade, a customer purchases and downloads a license then runs the upgrade to gain access to the upgraded features. The bits to the higher edition will be either 1) pre-loaded onto the hard-drive by the OEM 2) available on a separate Windows Anytime Upgrade disc available for fulfillment or 3) on any other Windows VistaTM media with the “includes Windows Anytime Upgrade” graphic. If the bits are not pre-loaded onto the hard-drive, the customer will be instructed to insert a disc to complete the upgrade.

Customers can be made aware of the option to upgrade through the product itself, through Microsoft direct or through partner marketing efforts. The WAU icon and message are included throughout the Windows Vista™ operating system (i.e. in the Welcome Center, Start Menu, Control Panel and other locations). Customers can click on an icon to view a product comparison and decide whether an upgrade is right for them. If they decide to upgrade, the tool will direct them to an online merchant site where they purchase the digital license to start the upgrade process.

By building a convenient infrastructure to support upgrades, WAU demonstrates Microsoft’s commitment to meet customer needs. Please note: WAU does not apply to Enterprise Agreement customers.

The WAU Marketing Campaign

The WAU marketing campaign is targeted at customers who have purchased a Windows VistaTM PC and would like the added functionality of the Premium and Ultimate SKUs. A variety of partners including OEMs and Retailers have partnered with Microsoft to market WAU in the PC product, at the point of purchase, and post PC purchase. Marketing messaging centers around feature benefits, ease of upgrading through WAU, and affordability. The first wave of campaign activities will kick off with the launch of Windows Vista™ in January 2007 and run through March in conjunction with the Windows VistaTM Windows On Windows (Wow) campaign. Based on results, a Wave 2 campaign may also run from April to June.

Geographies & Markets

WAU will expand into additional countries and regions post Windows Vista launch. Country listing and timing will be communicated at a later date.




European Union




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E-commerce Currencies

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Swiss Franc


Additional Information

You can find additional information about the Windows Anytime Upgrade Program at This site will launch at the same time as the Windows Vista site.

Press Resources
Related Items
Microsoft Resources:

Windows Client Newsroom

Windows Vista Web site

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