My Windows 7 Upgrade Experience

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 27, 2009
Updated • Nov 22, 2009
Windows, Windows 7

I spend the last two hours upgrading my Windows XP SP3 computer system to Windows 7 Professional. As you all know it is not possible to perform a direct upgrade. Only a clean install is possible but this would have been the chosen path for me anyway as clean installations are usually the way to go to avoid problems like the endless reboot which we talked about some days ago. A clean install on the other hand requires some preparations as there are usually some programs, files and data that needs to be transferred to the new operating system. In my case it was data from programs like Firefox, Thunderbird, WinSCP, FeedDemon and a handful of others.

The installation itself can be initiated in the old operating system. Windows XP users need to select custom installation in the process as described in the sheet that comes with the disks of the operating system.

Installation went fine and I was able to boot into Windows 7 in no time. I did encounter two problems with hardware that was not recognized by the operating system. One of the devices was unfortunately my Linksys network adapter which meant that I was not able to connect to the Internet until the problem was fixed. I thankfully had the driver ready and the device was recognized and installed in no time.

After that it took some time to download the latest device drivers and software programs to the computer system. Firefox and Thunderbird backups could be restored with Mozbackup and the rest of the process went smoothly as well. Here are a few tips for a Windows 7 Upgrade:

  • Make Backups of everything that you consider valuable. Think about programs that you would like to use in the new operating system and do some research to find backup solutions. Make sure those backups are accessible in the new operating system
  • Have the most important drivers ready before starting the installation, those are usually for the network adapter, video, audio and everything else that is required to run the system initially.
  • Make sure you have enough time at hand for completing the process. A smooth installation and initial configuration can take up to two hours and a lot more if you run into troubles.
  • If possible have another computer system ready for downloading files or troubleshooting issues

Did you make the switch to Windows 7 already? If so, what was your upgrade or installation experience?


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  1. Boguslaw G. said on February 22, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    June 2009 I purchased Hewlett-Packard Notebook with Windows Vista and upgrade to Windows 7.
    February 2010 finally I got my upgrade two disks from HP. I start upgrading process on Feb 19 2010. I got Compability report message “Upgrade will impact Keyboard Filter”.
    What is Keyboard Filter nobody knows I try to find something nothing comes up. Next attempt with upgrade, process went OK but on the end, I got message “Process was unsuccessful”. At this point, I try to reverse to Windows Vista by using recovery Disks created by me. Nothing works, my laptop currently will be send to HP for repair. What went wrong, problem with “Keyboard Filter”. After cool down I remember, I changed keyboard layout to Polish Programmers and I not reversed to original settings before upgrade to Windows 7. This could be the problem? I read here about problems with German keyboard, so it is something?

  2. Geoff said on December 17, 2009 at 6:16 am

    Toshiba A500 with Vista Home Premium. 2 months old. Upgrade went smoothly until it requested something called “base device disc” (or driver). Didn’t have any discs with the computer. “Search other locations” etc…….eg Internet…..and could not connect! Could not install. Restored computer to Vista and it works ok. I don’t want to risk it again.

    1. Bonton said on February 12, 2010 at 10:55 pm

      Toshiba A3OO, Vista HP, 3 months old. My upgrade to 7 took around four hours. Preparing Vista to upgrade and extracting new windows files were ok, around 3O minutes, but when it comes to Toshiba upgrade DVD, which includes all drivers, some Toshiba soft etc., problems started – two errors, which I couldn´t even read (because of the Toshiba full screen aplication), that stop the process, so I turn it off hardly one time. After that, the instalation continues and after 6 restarts > everything is working smoothly. But it was pain, at night.

      Just one issue, if some can help me >> games have two black stripes by the sides, even after reinstall, or some other game. In Vista, everything was normal – full screen. Can someone help?

  3. daHippieHunter said on October 31, 2009 at 2:42 am

    It was by far the easiest install I’ve done. (my first IT job was with DOS 5.0 ) “Setup” even found my dell monitor. I used my old dell poweredge 400sc server (normally my Linux server) with an ATI Radeon card. Only driver that the install did not find was audio (its always the audio drivers) But auto update found and fixed the problem. (YEEE!) So far, no probs that was not expected. Of course there are compatibly issues with older hardware, but hey that’s life. U can’t change a header on a car without replacing gaskets.

  4. Kevin said on October 29, 2009 at 8:13 am

    I did an upgrade from XP SP3 to Win 7 Utimate 64 bit. I backup all data some days beforehand then installed 4 GB of RAM and a new 300 gig WD Raptor HDD into a 12 month old computer.

    The install took about 20 mins onto the clean new drive and everything went perfectly ….. even after a number of reboots to ensure myself all was well…until the next morning.

    Boot up next am resulted in a stop after the initial flash screens to say the bootmgr.exe is missing or corrupted. Shit..

    To cut a long story short, the system disk asked if it could send a message to Microsoft (feedback) which I ok’ed then basically said it couldnt help and to see a system admin or whatever.

    I managed to see the contents of the drives during the process and ended up copying bootmgr.exe from the ram disk created by Win 7 to my usb drive then copied this file to the C drive. I rebooted and all was well.

    The incredible thing was I did all this in DOS as the UI (WIN 7) wasn’t loaded due to the missing 326kb file.

    How said DOS was dead?

  5. Genisis said on October 29, 2009 at 4:58 am

    My clean install was flawless….surprisingly. Was NOT expecting a painless transition at all. This time was actually very smooth.

  6. Jonathan said on October 28, 2009 at 2:59 am

    I never upgrade, too many potential problems and issues that can arise, I am using 7, and it was not an upgrade, I formatted the partition that windows resides on, and reinstall that way!

  7. Ranimi said on October 27, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    I performed a clean install on new hardware (just bought Intel E5200 with 4Gb ram) and everything went fine with all hardware recognized.

  8. Roman ShaRP said on October 27, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    I have no plans of switch to W7 any time soon.

  9. ilev said on October 27, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    You know that you can upgrade directly from XP (32\64 bit) to win7
    (any version 32\64bit) keeping your data and applications ,with PCMover.

  10. Caeserts said on October 27, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    I’m not ready to make this upgrade.
    Lots of software need to re-install,which really sucks.
    Maybe one day when I’m through,it will comes to me.

  11. Mike J said on October 27, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Myself, I am waiting for my next desktop purchase,though this three-year old, bargain-basement Acer shows no signs of wearing down. I will let the manufacturer handle the install.Until then, I am happy with XP SP3.

  12. Kaushik said on October 27, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    I upgraded last week. Contrary to what I read on the Internet, it was a breeze. The Easy Transfer Wizard is awesome – totally backed up my settings and files. The entire process from backup, installation and backup-restore took just an hour.

    Driver installation and little bit of housekeeping took another 30 minutes. Most of my programs continue to work.

    1. dave said on November 10, 2009 at 5:24 am

      Stuck in Win7 upgrade arrest – ACER laptop with ATI Radeon HD4300 DVD – which it now turns out doesn’t have a driver for Win7 (in a 1 month old machine) – so I can’t continue the install cos the DVD won’t read, and I can’t go back because it now only seems to have restore points after the install…

      And checking the Easy Transfer disc on another PC – it’s in a proprietary format. Never trust someone elses backup system. At least it seems not to have screwed with data on the laptop…

  13. VD said on October 27, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    I am still running Win 7 RC an will probably wait to upgrade to the SB Version when the RC runs out.

    Apart from grabbing time and drivers I would also add a few beers to calm down if the upgrade doesn`t go too smoothly^^

    In the german computer board I usually hang around lots of people seem to have trouble upgrating. Great you came around finde.

  14. siminock said on October 27, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Did my Windows 7 upgrade from Vista last night. Took 2 1/2 hours total. After maybe 30 minutes, I hadn’t found any post-upgrade issues. Went smooth and clean…. almost too easy. I ran the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor prior to the upgrade, and it didn’t detect any driver or hardware issues, so I figured I was gonna be fine. A couple programs aren’t compatible, but that’s no problem. I even remembered to Deauthorize my computer in iTunes before upgrading. Programs seem to start a bit faster; performance compaired to Vista is smoother.

  15. rrr said on October 27, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    I am lazy. I hate creating backups form every software I use. So I choosed inplace upgrade from XP to Vista, and from Vista to Win 7.
    Each upgrade takes 2 hours. More software u use, it takes more time.
    I had to reinstall only 2 application.

  16. Mike said on October 27, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    One other thing you may or may not know. ( I did not see it on your page) Is that you cannot perform an upgrade from a Windows Home Premium machine to Windows 7 Professional. It has a clean install requirement just as XP. You can upgrade to 7 Home or Ultimate but not to Professional. Since so many machines were sold with Vista Home Premium this provides another pain for a lot more people.

    1. Martin said on October 27, 2009 at 1:49 pm

      Mike you are right. I would assume that someone who buys Windows 7 will pick the right edition for his needs though (which includes that it would be capable of upgrading if that is the desired option).

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