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Microsoft Windows Upgrades Available to Macintosh Users

Microsoft Windows Upgrades Available to Macintosh Users

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 Are you using a Macintosh computer, but you also need it to run a Windows operating system? If so, you'll be happy to hear that Mac users at eligible nonprofits and public libraries are able to request a Windows operating system donation through TechSoup's Microsoft Windows Upgrade program.

If you are already running Windows on your Mac and want to upgrade to a newer version, you can request a donation through the Windows Upgrade program (just like an upgrading PC user would). If you're not running Windows on your Mac, but you would like to, there is an interesting twist in Microsoft's licensing for Macs only.

Upgrade program licenses can legally be used even if you don't already have Windows on your Mac. So if you find you need to install Windows for the first time on your Mac, you can still use the Microsoft Windows Upgrade program. Pretty cool.

You may be wondering why a Mac user would want to run Windows. This is usually done for very specific reasons. For example, an organization might want to start using Macs, but they rely on an accounting package that runs only on Windows XP. There are ways to run both Windows and a Macintosh operating system on a Macintosh computer.

So, using these tools, our hypothetical organization gets to use their Macs and their Windows XP-only accounting software. For more information on why and how an organization might want to do something like this, see our Learning Center article Virtualization 101.

Finally, keep in mind, TechSoup's other Microsoft operating system donation program, Get Genuine Software (GGS) is not available for Mac users. GGS licenses can only be used on PCs.

Photo: Chino A

by Ariel Gilbert-Knight, Director, Content, TechSoup

  • Very informative. After reading this blog, our organization ordered the "Upgrade" version of Windows 7 instead of the full version to install on our Mac, which had no prior installation of Windows OS. But when we went to install this upgrade version via VMWare's Fusion 4 (emulation software), the error "no operating system install disk found." Our "Upgrade"  Windows 7 DVD from Microsoft was not recognized.

    So we tried to just do a straight Mac "Boot Camp" install, but the setup guide specifically says that only Full Windows installation disks are allowed, not upgrade installation disks. So, did we miss something in this blog post? Looks like we ordered the wrong product. Help!

  • Hi RichPate,

    I believe our fabulous Autumn has beaten me to answering your question.

    But for others who may have the same question, I'll share Autumn's forum response:

    "The default disk provided by Microsoft is upgrade only and will not boot. Your access to the VLSC website allows you to download a full-version ISO file while you can burn to a disk and use to boot and install the operating system."

    For the full forum thread on this question, see .