I am in no way, shape or form recommending you jump right into Windows 7 regardless of the Microsoft commercials. My 25 years of microcomputer experience has clearly demonstrated that you never want to be the initial installed base of a new operating system. Frankly Windows ME was discontinued before I ever installed it. I don’t think we sold one copy of it and were thankful that we didn’t.
However if you are bound and determined to be on the sharp point of implementation, you really don’t have to pay full retail. I found a great article on ZDnet.com that details multiple, legitimate ways to move to Windows 7. Rather than repeating the article, here is the LINK.
Life is complicated enough without getting into hotwater with federal agencies so: TAKE NOTE Many things I review I got at no charge in exchange for an honest review. Consider this as informing you that ALL things I review may have been gotten at no charge. Realistically about 60% but in order to keep things above board just assume that I got the stuff free. Words like, “sponsored,” “promotion,” “paid ad” or even just “ad” are clear ways to disclose that you’re being paid to share information and links so BE AWARE that some of what I write can be described as an AD by the government. BTW I will NEVER say a product is great, super or even acceptable if it isn't whether I got it free or NOT!