2.6 Upgrading to Windows 7

2.6 Upgrading Windows 7 by Val Bakh. Although the process of replacing an older operating systems with a newer one is commonly called an upgrade, the technical definition of an upgrade is more precise. If you perform a clean install (that is, if you choose to do a custom installation), the older operating system, all installed software, and personal data are removed. A new operating system is installed. All applications must be reinstalled. Personal data can be restored from a back-up. The new operating system will gracefully replace the existing one, while keeping your personal data and installed applications intact. Not all upgrade paths can be supported. An x86 32-bit edition of Windows cannot be upgraded to an x64 64-bit edition. You must always initiate an upgrade from the current installation in order to complete it. To upgrade Windows Vista to Windows 7 you will need to start the computer, boot it into Windows Vista, insert a Windows 7 DVD and click on Install Now. You cannot perform a true update if the computer is booted from a Windows 7 DVD to Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE).
You should read the Microsoft documentation before you proceed with an upgrade. This includes the minimum system requirements, the supported upgrade paths for Windows 7, and your computer’s specifications. This information will help you determine which editions Windows 7 your computer is capable of running and whether or not you should upgrade.
Microsoft offers a tool called Windows Upgrade Advisor (WUA) to assist you in these tasks. The Check compatibility online command appears in the initial Install Windows screen. Once you click this command, your computer will be connected to the Internet. A Web page will open that provides a brief explanation about WUA. You can then download WUA from this page and install it on your PC. You can then launch WUA from your Start menu. WUA will scan your computer and generate a report. The report will show you whether your computer meets Windows 7’s minimum system requirements and which applications and devices could cause problems. WUA is not able to install Windows 7. The Check compatibility online command is not available if you boot a computer using a Windows 7 DVD.
WUA is specific to each version. Windows Vista had its own version WUA when it first came out. It worked in a similar way to Windows 7’s WUA. Microsoft soon discontinued the Windows Vista version WUA. Now, if Windows XP is booted, you can insert a Windows Vista DVD and click Check compatibility online. You will be directed to a page that doesn’t mention upgrading to Windows Vista, but instead suggests that you install Windows 7.
Windows Vista has some other unique features. It may look and feel so similar to Windows 7, that it is difficult to tell the difference. It is not unusual for an older version of a program, or operating system, to not be available for direct upgrade to the latest version. No one is surprised that Windows 2000 can’t be upgraded directly to Windows Vista, or that Windows XP can’t be upgraded directly to Windows 7. Despite Windows Vista being the predecessor to Windows 7, the original Windows Vista (Release to Manufacturing or RTM) can’t be upgraded to Windows 7 and Microsofa cannot.

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