Scott Hanselman

Windows 7 Easy Upgrade Path Truth Table/Chart

August 07, 2009 Comment on this post [23] Posted in Win7
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Ed Bott's alternative Windows 7 Upgrade Chart Wow, everyone is moving up to Windows 7. I'm looking forward, as IT Manager for the Hanselman Family, to upgrading everyone. New OS for all the cousins and uncles and what-not is always a highlight of my year.

Personally, I think Windows 7 is a good time to do a "clean" install. Most people have decent internet speeds and there's just nothing quite like the fresh minty smell of a new install.

Disclaimer: I don't work for the Windows team and I wrote this post in the dead of night completely off the clock on a PalmPilot so there might be no confusion about my motives. I'm just a techie dude who happens to work for the Big Blue Monster. This is not official anything and it's a blog. It's very likely wrong or complete nonsense. One day you'll show up and I'll have been fired, drawn and quartered and this site will be all 404s. That is all. I may start selling T-shirts containing my disclaimers in case they are in any way unclear.

There's a few choices for you:

Clean Install + Migrate: You can certainly "migrate" your settings from an old machine to a new one still doing a clean install. It's a clean install, but you're saving time by bringing lots of little things over like browser history, favorites, usernames, passwords, subtle settings. Either way, you've got choices.

In-Place Upgrade: You can also "upgrade in-place," meaning you're installing Windows 7 to c:\windows (or whatever) and it'll upgrading your Vista installation directly. Once Windows 7 is installed, you can do an "Anytime Upgrade," for example, taking Win 7 Home Premium to Win 7 Pro if you like.

There's a chart that explains this, but visually, it's too complex in my opinion. I stated working on a simpler one, then Ed Bott in his wisdom beat me to it. It's a truth table of sorts, and technical folks LOVE to collapse their tables. What may have made sense to the original designer is begging for refactoring by one of us.

The original table looks scary and sends a negative message. However, as Ed points out "Most Vista users will have clear and logical upgrade paths from their current edition to the same edition of Windows 7."

Basically, if you're going from whatever version of Vista you have to a similar (or greater) version of Windows 7, you're all set. You'll only need to clean install if you're going from a "high sku" to a lower one. Go check out Ed's chart or click on the image above and enjoy your upgrade!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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August 08, 2009 0:32
actually, there is NO "migrate" option for x86->x64.

migsetup.exe on the x64 install DVD is ... a 64-bit exe.
August 08, 2009 0:51
Piersh - And that is reflected in the second row of the chart...
August 08, 2009 1:58
I would like to "dual-boot" but I have forgotten which drive I have which OS on (I have three drives with Vista, 2003 Server, 2008 Server installed on each.). How can I tell from the OS which drive it is installed on? Or what physical drive corresponds to the logical drives C:, D:, etc.?

Thank you.

August 08, 2009 2:07
Kevin - Open up 'Disk Management' and look for the partition marked boot/system.
August 08, 2009 4:35
This all seems entirely reasonable to me, for the most part. My only real wish is that I could upgrade my 32-bit Vista Ultimate installation to 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate.

The machine in question is a development workstation, and its very complex. With this particular upgrade option, I guess I'm sticking with 32-bit for now - just can't spare the days (yes, I'm serious) of time it takes to get everything working again after a clean install.
August 08, 2009 4:35
re "Windows 7 Easy Upgrade Path Truth Table/Chart"

Good to see you have a good sense of humor :)
August 08, 2009 8:10
A Windows 7 RC to Windows 7 RTM would have been a nice upgrade path, but alas, I hear it won't work.
August 08, 2009 8:13
I haven't yet upgraded because this is an RC and I'm worried I'm going to have to do a fresh install when the real version is released. Am I worried for nothing? Can you convince me that upgrading now is not going to haunt me in the near future? (I don't need a lot of convincing either!)
August 08, 2009 8:26
Josh - This IS the RTM (release to manufacturing) NOT the RC (Release Candidate.)

To be clear. Windows 7 is released. It's out. You can get it online now if you're an MSDN Subscriber or you can get it in stores in a box in October. Honest.
Jarrett - There ARE ways to upgrade from RC to RTM, but I can't tell you. The intertube can if you search for it. You're on your own though!
August 08, 2009 8:55
Well I'm convinced! And I do have an MSDN subscription so I'll be starting the download immediately. Thank you sir.
August 08, 2009 12:04
I find this chart quite misleading. I bought the Win 7 Professional edition while the pre-order price was cheap and I can't upgrade from Vista Home Premium edition, despite what that chart says.

The only way I can upgrade from my current install to Win 7 Pro is to buy the Win 7 Home Premium, upgrade my Vista, then do an in-place upgrade of my Win 7 Home Premium to Win 7 Pro.

That this is possible, but a straight upgrade to Win 7 Pro isn't, is pretty maddening.
August 08, 2009 20:41
Piersh - And that is reflected in the second row of the chart...

Oh, I get that. but I'm not talking about ugprade. I'm talking about the "Windows Easy Transfer" migrate path that you so helpfully outlined in this post.

Understand that I'm if I want to migrate my user data from x86 Vista to x64 win7, I'll need to purchase BOTH x86 & x64 win7 DVDs:

the x64 win7 DVD to install my new x64 system (or pave the old one).

... and ...

the x86 win7 DVD to run the x86 version of Windows Easy Transfer on my old x86 Vista box.

I'm lucky enough to have a MSDN subscription, so I was able to get both of these, but pity the fool who goes to Best Buy with $200.

The simple (non-facepalm) solution would have been to include the x86 build of Windows Easy Transfer on the x64 DVD. But I guess it's too late now...
August 09, 2009 8:40
Piersh - Looks like Windows 7 ships with DVDs for both x86 and x64...see the retail packages here.
August 09, 2009 9:19
Pieresh - Actually, I think the Easy Transfer Wizard is actually x86 on both medias. Have you checked? It should Just Work.
August 10, 2009 1:52
Well I spent yesterday formatting my Vista Ultimate partition, installing Windows 7 Ultimate, reinstalling all the applications and games I wanted to use, and doing a general clean up of all my drives. The ONLY snag I hit was trying to install SQL Server 2008 to a different path (which it seems can only be rectified by installing via the command line).

Formatting the partition took all of 5 seconds which I was very very impressed with. The installation of Windows 7 took about 15 - 20 minutes. My internet connection was online as soon as I clicked the 'Home Network' button on boot to desktop. This really has been the easiest Windows install I've done. The drivers installed with Windows was enough that the only drivers I ended up downloading and installing myself were video drivers and I'm not sure even those were needed.

My DVD-RW drive now detects discs right away, not complaining about 'Blank Media' to the point I have to disable and re-enable my ROM which was my number 1 peeve of Vista.

This might not exactly be the perfect place for feedback, but considering you're now effectively 'community liaison', I don't feel too guilty! Thanks for advocating the upgrade Scott.
August 10, 2009 2:03
As far I as know from the blog posts of MS people you can upgrade from Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional. You don't need Windows 7 Home Premiun whatsoever.
Please correct me if I'm wrong.
August 10, 2009 17:19
Can I upgrade from Vista Ultimate x64 to Windows 8 ultimate x64 in Europe ?
August 10, 2009 17:28
There is NO upgrade option for XP -> Windows 7 at all? You're joking right?
WTF? Vista just came out 2 years ago; my computer is just under 3 years old, I got it with XP instead of Vista and now there's no upgrade path at all except to upgrade through Vista to Windows 7?

Thanks Microsoft. Way to screw over your customers.
August 10, 2009 17:46
>>I may start selling T-shirts containing my disclaimers in case they are in any way unclear.

Link please... ;-)
August 10, 2009 21:55
piersh - You'll also be able to download the Easy Transfer Wizard before Win7 is generally available.
August 11, 2009 3:28
I've downloaded Windows 7 through MSDN and am looking to do an in-place upgrade; however, my machine has Sql Server 2008 installed.

I'm terrified of the chance of incompatibility as the upgrade option provided me with this list of incompatibilities:
o iTunes (Please deauthorize computer prior to upgrade)
o IntelliType / IntelliPoint
o Microsoft SQL Server 2008
o ZoneAlarm 8
o DigitalPersona Fingerprint Software

Most of those are easy fixes, but I've upgraded to SP1 for SQL Server 2008 and it is still telling me to uninstall it.

Do you know of any resources/anyone I can speak to about it? I just finished transferring everything over from my old laptop and don't have the patience to do it all over again for a clean Win 7 install.

August 11, 2009 3:44
If it were my box, I'd remove the ZoneAlarm, it's not needed. I'd remove IntelliType and get the new versions (although it's really not needed). I'd not remove SQL Server 2008, but I'd install SP1 after I upgraded.

I'd also remove the DigitalPersonal software.

And yes, deauth, upgrade, the auth the iTunes. I can confirm that worked for me.
August 13, 2009 0:34
Just in case anyone hits this from the internet, I went ahead and rolled the dice for the in-place upgrade.

Everything worked perfectly with the exception of Digital Persona and all I had to do for that was install it and then right click on each of the .exe files in the bin folder and set them to Vista compatibility (no SP) and run as administrator (although i'm not sure that is needed).

Thanks for your help, Scott. Windows 7 is leap years better than Vista.

Comments are closed.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.