I'm about to upgrade from Windows 7 Ultimate to Windows 8 (Enterprise) and have to decide whether to do a clean install or an in-place upgrade. Traditionally, I've always regarded a clean install as the "only" alternative, and it seems that many still think that way. On the other hand, shouldn't the upgrade process have improved since back in the days of Windows 95? Some people claim that "garbage" left behind during the upgrade can be reclaimed using the disk cleanup tool, for example.

Does anyone have concrete examples of known issues with the in-place upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8?

  • 1
    According to Wikipedia, you cannot do an in-place upgrade from Windows 7 Ultimate to Windows 8 Enterprise, so a clean install is your only option.
    – Indrek
    Oct 1, 2012 at 7:02
  • @Indrek Wow, had missed that completely. Thanks, that really narrows down my options. (Still curious about the general cons of doing an in-place upgrade, in the cases where it's possible.) Oct 1, 2012 at 7:12
  • You should always do a clean install, but that's just me.
    – Marko
    Oct 3, 2012 at 21:55
  • @Marko Yes, that's my gut feeling as well. I asked because I wanted to know if people have really seen any concrete problems after upgrading in-place. Oct 4, 2012 at 7:35

2 Answers 2


I will admit i always do a clean install on my personal machines, however the upgrade process has greatly improved, however you will still sometimes be left with incompatible programs and lingering files despite using the App Compatibility tool.

Also since you cant even do an in-place upgrade from Windows 7 Ultimate to Windows 8 Enterprise what i recommend doing is doing a "custom" install without formatting which will take your entire drive and place it in a Windows.old folder then Windows will expand the install.wim onto your drive. This allows you to do a new install without having to back up all your stuff.

While you will have to install your programs again, you can go into the Windows.old folder and locate the files that you had on your PC and move them to your new Documents, Music etc folders. When you are done run the Disk Cleanup tool which will get rid of your Windows.old folder properly.


A clean install would be best, but if you wish to keep whats left or your entire OS as is aswell, you can simply use software like gparted to make a partition on your hard drive of the empty space you may have and then install 8 on that partition as well.

I'll advise you think, 8 isn't the best in many regards for example if you don't like using IE for everything, you may want to turn back.

  • I'm on 8.1, and rarely use IE, so that is not an issue.
    – Lenne
    Nov 6, 2013 at 6:28

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