For an information company, Microsoft seems clueless on providing clear directions and upgrade paths. What upgrade option do you choose? How much does a Windows 7 upgrade cost? Anywhere from $60 to $300, depending on which of the many conflicting stories you believe. And if you want to upgrade from an XP system, your options range somewhere between “no way” and “plan to spend 20+ hours on the project.” Why can we not get a straight answer? What's with the dumb Windows 7 upgrade chart?
This reinforces my recommendation to ignore Windows 7 until next spring. If you buy a new computer, get the coupon for Windows 7 and replace Vista as soon as possible. Just don't worry about an upgrade.
My suggestion is to wipe Vista off they disk completely by reformatting the hard drive and installing Windows 7 as a clean install. That's what I plan to do with my Vista box the minute I get the official Windows 7 software. No upgrade hassles if you wipe and install clean.
That approach makes the upgrade question even more convoluted. Make sure you get a full version of Windows 7 that can be installed from scratch on a clean hard disk. Otherwise you'll have to reinstall Vista, then upgrade, wasting even more time.
Third parties like Laplink with their PCmover product should help quite bit, and I'm already seeing some notes about this and other options. Keep your eyes open and talk with your IT expert before jumping into this quicksand yourself.