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I have two machines running Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit, one workstation and one laptop. Both about two years old but fairly powerful and with SSD disks. (But not with UEFI BIOS)

I am considering upgrading them to Windows 8 Enterprise 64bit. (All installations are legal. I have media and purchased Product Keys. RTM, not preview. Same language: English.)

My main concern is whether to do a scratch installation or an in place upgrade.

Obviously an in place upgrade would be less work and faster, thus better - if it works well.

Anyone with experience of such an in place upgrade? Does it work? How well, generally? How much is preserved?

Do programs continue to work as before? Device drivers?

Any confusing/irritating artifacts left by the upgrade?

Do you get the same/similar speed improvements as scratch installations?

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I do not believe that you will be able to do an inplace upgrade from a non-enterprise Windows 7 installation. – Ramhound Aug 21 '12 at 20:43
According to you can upgrade from Windows 7 Ultimate to Windows 8 Professional. Unfortunately that article does not mention Enterprise edition at all. – Klas Mellbourn Aug 22 '12 at 8:20

I recommend doing an upgrade unless you don't have much on your current machine.

I've never done an upgrade before, but this time I had too many apps and settings to lose.

There were some minor problems. I needed to upgrade my display drivers, had to reinstall a program (the same version), and there was a problem with the Windows Phone SDK for which the Action Center sent me to one of Aaron Stebner's WebLog's.

Action Center

The unfixable problem, for now, is that I lost Windows Media Center. I didn't consider that it would disappear.

That's it though, I think you should try it. You could always reinstall from scratch.

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Once Windows 8 is released you can purchase the add-on that will be sold that will enable Windows Media Center. – Ramhound Aug 21 '12 at 20:42
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I did the in place upgrade using Windows 8 professional. It worked fairly well. The installer requested I uninstall three programs, among the Microsoft Security Essentials. I did so.

All programs seem to be working still.

I have not had to upgrade any device drivers manually.

Authentec finger print recognition software stopped working, I disabled it. I can still log in using fingerprint though, so no apparently the software did not do anything useful.

The performance has improved slightly, but not greatly. It now takes 4.4s to sleep instead of 6.5s. Waking takes 4.9s instead of 9.1s

The only clearly noticable problem I have is that if I explicitly put the computer to sleep, the built in screen is black when I start up. I have to go into hibernation instead. That is irritating, but it seems that I am not alone with that problem.

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I am planning to do a full installation from scratch even though I have A LOT of app installed and did a bunch of tweaks. Over the years, my computer has accumulated a lot of junk from unused files, registry keys, lots of installs and uninstalls, temp files, dup files. The best way is to start fresh and reinstall everything. The machine will be lean and clean and I am sure it will be more performant than an inplace upgrade. This is also a chance to install only the app which I will be using frequently. All trial apps, crapware, adware, viruses, plus you never know what you have hiding in your system.

I know it takes longer to install the apps but you can reinstall the apps gradually over time. You can even install during web browsing, writing document. This way you don't feel you're just waiting or staring at a progress bar.

Good luck.

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