Windows 7 is just around the corner! If you just got your copy of Windows 7 and want to install it on your PC or laptop, this post will provide you with an easy, step-by-step guide.
What is an upgrade?
If you’re installing a new Windows version, you basically have two options: an in-place upgrade or a clean installation. If you choose to upgrade, the setup will save all of your programs, files, and settings, and install Windows 7. After installation, it will try to automatically reinstall and reinsert all of your data where it belongs.
Windows XP users take note: Microsoft decided to disable the upgrade path for you! You will need to perform a clean install (Keep an eye out for our next blog post with detailed instructions.)
Should I start from scratch and clean install Windows 7?
We answered this question in detail in our post titled “Windows 7 Performance Check: Upgrade Install vs. Clean Install.” If your system is still “fresh” (meaning only a couple of weeks or months old), go for the upgrade option—just make sure your Vista system is not full of spyware and hundreds of programs, and is working smoothly. In most cases, the upgrade procedure is very easy and reliable—and saves a lot of time! However, if your PC is bogged down with problems and running slow, an upgrade will not fix everything—it might even produce more errors and crashes.
How do I check if my PC is ready for Windows 7?
Microsoft published a tool, Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, to inspect your PC (and all hardware and software) and tell you what is going to work and what will not. In the latter case, it offers some good advice! Here’s how to use it:
- Download and install the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor from the Microsoft Download site.
- Run the program, and hit “Start check”. The Upgrade Advisor finishes checking your entire PC after a couple of minutes, and shows you its results.
- If you only see green checks, you’re good to go with installing Windows 7! If the Upgrade Advisor encountered issues, read the next step.
- If the program found problems with your system requirements (e.g. if there’s not enough RAM or the processor is too slow), we suggest reconsidering the move to “7″. It’s probably not going to be fun working with the new Windows operating system, since it will likely be painfully slow. If only some devices and programs aren’t working, read through the recommendations the Advisor offers. In most cases, you will simply need to download new drivers or a later version of the software that’s not yet compatible with Windows 7. However, this is only needed in rare instances, as the underlying technology of “7″ has not changed much from Windows Vista—most programs that run with Vista will work fine with Windows 7. Simply reinstalling the program after upgrading helps.
Should I prepare for the upgrade?
So that the upgrade process goes as smooth as possible, make sure your system is fully optimized. We recommend:
- Removing unnecessary programs. Check out this blog post for more.
- Defragging your hard disk. More in this post.
- Saving your data. Although an upgrade moves all of your programs and files over, it is important to be on the safe side: backup your e-mails, documents, music, and more on an external hard disk.
What steps should I take to complete the upgrade process?
- Start Windows Vista, insert the Windows 7 disc, and go to “Install now”.
- Click on “Go online to get the latest updates for installation (recommended)”, so that Windows Update is able to download important updates and integrate them right into the setup. If you don’t want to take this step now, you can always install these updates after the setup process.
- Select “I accept the license terms”, and click on “Next”. To perform the upgrade installation, select “Upgrade”.
- Windows will now copy all of your files, settings, and programs over from Vista to the new installation of 7. This step might take some time; on a typical computer with about 30–40 programs installed and 50 GByte of data, it should take about 2 to 3 hours.
- At the end of the process, simply type in your Windows product key, and hit “Next”. Then make sure that Windows automatically downloads the updates by clicking “Use recommended settings”. Click on “Next” to confirm the time and date settings, if they are correct.
Then select the network security settings. If you select “Home network” or “Work network”, you will be able to see other computers, and they will be able to see your PC as well. If you’re on the go, hit “Public network”.
- After a couple of seconds, you’ll find yourself in the new Windows 7 environment. Check to see if all of your files, programs, and e-mails are there. You may have to copy some of them over. If some programs don’t work, just reinstall them (using the original setup file or CD/DVD). If a program still doesn’t work, check the program developer’s Web site and look for a specific version for Windows 7.
Wasn’t that easy? After only a few clicks, you are able to work with Windows 7! Make sure that your Windows 7 system stays fresh by tuning in for more tips and tricks from the authors of the TuneUp Blog.
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