This tutorial is meant as a guide for upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7. In most cases the upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7 is pretty seamless – leaving all your compatible files, settings, programs, and utilities in tact. However, as a general word of caution, always prepare for the worst and backup your files and software before doing any operating system install.
New Installation or Upgrade?
If you want to start over with a fresh copy of Windows and you don’t care about carrying over any of your old programs or files, you may want to go ahead with a full new installation of Windows. This is a safe and easy way to get through the installation, but you will be required to re-install all your software/drivers/etc. when you’re back up and running. Alternatively, if you simply want to upgrade follow the upgrade directions below.
Step 1: Check your hardware & software
Most system hardware configurations that can support Windows Vista have no problem supporting Windows 7, given that both operating systems are very similar on the backend. However, if you have special software that is not compatible with Windows 7 you’ll want to evaluate that before your upgrade. Depending on your hardware and current edition of Windows Vista your upgrade options will be outlined for you when you run through the install.
Microsoft has released several tools to make sure your compatibility is secured prior to running the upgrade. One such tool is called the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. Download that tool for free from Microsoft and use it to determine your compatibility and identify any potential issues that may arise with your hardware, devices, or software. Microsoft also recommends visiting the Windows 7 Compatibility Center for more info including all the latest Microsoft released drivers, updates, and downloads.
Step 2: Always CHOOSE UPGRADE
A lot of people make a tiny mistake early in the setup process and it costs them later on. Make sure you choose the ‘Upgrade’ option during installation and not the ‘New Installation’ or ‘Custom’ options. By doing a Windows Upgrade you’re taking the easiest path to Windows 7 and all your files, settings, and programs should be maintained. But Windows installations tend to be a very tedious process of hitting next (or continue, etc.) over and over again. Make sure the path you choose is the ‘Upgrade’ one!
If your current version of Vista does not allow for an update to Windows 7, you can do a fresh install by going into ‘Custom’ and selecting the correct options. However you will more than likely have to format your hard drive partition in this case and could lose all your personal files, programs, and other stored data. Please proceed with caution if the standard ‘Upgrade’ option is not presented to you.
Step 3: Click next until you’re done!
There will be some questions from Microsoft that you’ll answer and you’ll click Next several dozen times, but other than that you’re on your way to getting to Windows 7. It’s as easy as having the right software, having the compatible hardware & programs, and advancing through the menus!