Thanks to everyone who joined our webinar about upgrading from XP to a new Windows operating system last Thursday, including our presenters: Bruno Nowak of Microsoft and Gregory Seeley of Client Services at TechSoup. If you missed the webinar or just want more information, you can view the archived webinar and additional resources online: Beyond XP: Upgrading Windows Operating Systems.

As co-producer, I helped our unflappable interactive events producer Becky Wiegand by flagging and fielding questions. Some of the most frequently asked questions concerned system requirements for Windows 7 and 8.1 and how a TechSoup member would go about obtaining the correct version or installation of Windows. I've collected several of those questions and answers here.

Q: How do I know if my systems can support Windows 7 or Windows 8.1?

A: Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 have nearly identical system requirements. View system requirements for Windows 8.1 or Windows 7. An even better way to check if your systems are compatible is through the Windows Upgrade Assistant, available through the Windows 8.1 page above. This is a free program you can download that will scan your system and tell you if it supports upgrading to Windows 8 or 8.1.

Q: Since the Home edition of Windows XP, Vista, or 7 is not eligible for an upgrade license through TechSoup,  what do I do if I have this edition and want to upgrade?

A: If you have the Home edition of Windows, you can't request a donation for an upgrade product through TechSoup. Instead, you can request a full Windows operating system (not an upgrade) through TechSoup with the program Get Genuine Windows Agreement for Small and Medium Organizations. These versions of Windows do not include Software Assurance, which means you won't get the free upgrades that come with Software Assurance. However, the Get Genuine product will provide a computer with a legal base operating system upon which Windows upgrade products that include Software Assurance benefits offered through TechSoup can be installed.

Q: I don't see a Windows 8.1 Pro upgrade product or a Windows 7 Professional upgrade product available through TechSoup, I only see the Enterprise edition of either one. How do I get the Pro or Professional editions?

A: If you're eligible for the upgrade products and want a Pro or Professional edition instead of the Enterprise edition, you can request the Enterprise upgrade through TechSoup and simply choose to download the Pro or Professional edition through the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center when you download your media.

Q: I don't see Windows 7 available through the Get Genuine program, how do I get the full Windows 7 operating system if I need that version?

A: Organizations that request the Windows 8.1 Get Genuine products can choose to download Windows 7 instead through the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center. This is actually a feature of the VLSC that applies for all Microsoft products, Get Genuine or otherwise. At least one prior version of a product will typically be available for download.

Q: Can I get the full Windows 8.1 Enterprise or Windows 7 Enterprise operating system through the Get Genuine Program instead of the Pro or Professional version?

A: No, Windows 8.1 Pro is the only full operating system products available through Get Genuine, but as mentioned previously you can request that product and download Windows 7 Professional if you choose. If you want the Enterprise edition, you can request the Pro edition first, which will provide a computer with a legal base operating system upon which Windows Enterprise upgrade products that include Software Assurance benefits offered through TechSoup can be installed.

Q: I can't download the installation media or just want a disc instead. How can I get an installation disc sent to me, and how many do I need? 

A: Microsoft donations through TechSoup are download only, but you can request a media kit for any donation directly from Microsoft through the VLSC. There will be a $25 charge per disc to have it shipped to you. See detailed instructions in this blog post. You can use the same disc to install your product on as many computers as you have requested licenses for through TechSoup -- you don't need to request a separate media kit for each upgrade or full operating system license you requested.

If you have any more questions, feel free to post in the comments. We'll do our best to get answers for you. And check out the webinar on-demand below:

Carlos Bergfeld
Product Content Manager, TechSoup Global