I've always done clean installations in the past when I've upgraded Windows, it seemed like a smart and sensible thing to do, but an article on Ars Technica made a passing comment that an in-place install to Windows 7 might not be that bad.

Normally I'd just play it safe and do a clean install, but I'm very tempted for the sake of convenience to just upgrade this time.

Is upgrading from Vista to Windows 7 better than on previous versions of Windows? Has anyone got any experiences to share?

Sorry for the long-winded way of asking a simple question!

Thanks for any advice.

  • 1
    I bought the Windows7 upgrade from Microsoft and I was able to do a full install without upgrading. Hey, I am also a big Django Reinhardt fan and my name is also Jon W. – djangofan Nov 23 '09 at 18:12
  • Lol. How bizarre! – Django Reinhardt Nov 26 '09 at 10:02

I performed a standard upgrade here at work (from Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Business) and have had literally no issues. Admittedly, I did a lot of homework first, including running the compatibility advisor.

The other important facet of this is that the Vista build on my machine was a clean install. (The box shipped with 32-bit, I reformatted and installed 64. Naturally, my Windows 7 drop is also 64-bit.)

To give an indication of the level of application insanity on this machine, I'm a developer. Office 2007, SQL Server Express 2008, Visual Studio 2005 and 2008 (Team Edition for 2008, Pro for 2005), the SQL Client Tools, four different web browsers + IETester, and a plethora of lesser apps. None have had issues.

I'd say in the general case that, unless your machine is due for an enema anyway, go ahead and do the upgrade when going from Vista to 7. Smooth and painless.

  • That's great to know. I've also got SQL Server and Visual Studio Running, so it's good to know you found it painless. Thanks. – Django Reinhardt Nov 12 '09 at 18:49
  • You're still going to get UAC prompts on VS2005. OTOH, I don't find that nearly as annoying as some folks do. – John Rudy Nov 12 '09 at 18:52
  • Really? I don't get UAC prompts with 2008. In my experience you should only get them if your solution is on another drive or you've got some other configuration unusualties. – Django Reinhardt Nov 12 '09 at 19:05
  • Correct, 2008 doesn't require elevation. 2005 does. :) – John Rudy Nov 12 '09 at 19:19

I always recommend a clean install. You may perform an upgrade and everything goes fine, but you might have problems. Take the safe approach and do a clean install. You'll fell beter. :)

  • 2
    +1 can't go wrong with that. SU and other forums are full with threads about failed in-place upgrades. i do respect the efforts of the developers to make the upgrade a smooth and painless endeavour, however, if you want to be on the safe side, do it from scratch. it is the ONLY way to be sure no rubbish is carried over from the old operating system. – Molly7244 Nov 13 '09 at 21:14

As long as you are going from x86 to x86 or x64 to x64, you should have no problem what so ever in doing an upgrade, I have heard from numerous people that it works without problems and even James O'Neil has said it's ok (A very cool bloke at Microsoft!)... I can't remember if this is the exact blog post, but he gave a talk on it a while ago.

Anyway, I personally would still do a fresh install - I am stubborn and prefer it, but there is nothing wrong with an upgrade.

  • Generally I prefer clean installs, too. However, a clean install for any of my machines tends to take me offline for my job duties for 1 - 2 business days. Too many apps to install and files to get moved back. Retrieving 7GB of code from source control takes time. :) – John Rudy Nov 12 '09 at 18:53
  • Cool thanks, I'm leaning more and more towards an upgrade. – Django Reinhardt Nov 12 '09 at 18:57

I've upgraded from Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit to Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. I've been using Win7 for 3 weeks without any problems.

So I'd just recommend you to upgrade your current system to Win7 instead of clean install.


I have done 3 in-place upgrades. All were successful, none gave any serious problems. A little research indicated that even if there were problems (many of which could have been avoid by running the Upgrade advisor), the rollback worked as designed.

I even wrote what some would consider a blog How to Upgrade from Vista to Windows 7


I did an in-place upgrade from Vista Basic 32-bit to Win7 Ultimate 32-bit and I had a lot of problems. Booting up, Log-on, and Shutdown took forever and sometimes, the computer froze. I went to the error console and it said svchost.exe had problems during startup and log on. I did a clean install and everything was fine. I recommend a clean install. Also it feels better to start all over again. Vista Basic was a mess with files scattered everywhere and programs installed everywhere (not in the Program Files directory).

  • Did you run the advisor before upgrading? – Django Reinhardt Nov 16 '09 at 10:27

I have done multiple upgrades from Windows Vista to Windows 7 and no problems in any of them. All upgrades worked as designed. However, it is always better to do a clean install. I am using systems with in-place upgrade and clean install. Clean installation works much better though on the same configuration.

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.