Windows 7 RC 7100 Upgrade from Vista

Submitted on May 13, 2009, 10:55 p.m.

Well I figured since the RC was generally available – I’d test the upgrade process from Windows Vista to Windows 7. I chose my ThinkPad T61p as the victim. This is my fully loaded portable dev environment including BitLocker encrypted volumes - and I was a little sceptical at first. A new OS usually means re-paving the machine, but I thought I’d try the upgrade and see how it went.

Get Ready

After a complete system backup to a removable drive I launched the setup program from the DVD – from within Vista (not via a booted DVD). Windows 7 setup reported MagicISO, LifeCam, and Skype as software that might not work after the upgrade – so I uninstalled these first. BitLocker had to be disabled as well (not volume decrypted – just disabled). SQL Server 2005 was also on the list of ‘might not work’ after upgrade, but I decided to try upgrading to SQL 2008 Developer Edition afterwards.

Make Yourself a Coffee

First word of advice – make yourself a coffee – grab some donuts too – and find something to read, or watch. The upgrade took over three hours to complete. The ‘Gathering files, settings, and programs’ stage took over an hour alone. At 18% of ‘Expanding Windows files’ – the PC rebooted and continued to expand files – but not before 30 minutes of ‘Gathering additional information before expanding files…’ Transferring files, settings and programs – 1,138,187 files, settings, and programs to be exact – took another hour (and two reboots). Incredibly – it worked! First Impressions I’ve not been following the Windows 7 story that closely – but most of the reviews report performance improvements, and I like the new task bar and general UI improvements a lot. Will be interesting to see how it goes over the next few days of general use and abuse. A couple of noticeable changes though – disabling Windows Search – also removes the search function from the start menu – it didn’t used to. Also Superfetch – which was on my list of disk thrashing culprits, is enabled by default – and so I’ve turned this off again (the I/O at start-up because of Superfetch was horrendous in Vista – will have to experiment to see if it’s any better in Windows 7)

UPDATE: If you’ve upgraded from Vista as I have – and have previously installed a LifeCam VX-700 – uninstall the LifeCam software before the upgrade and be sure to delete the following file as well C:\Windows\inf\OEM16.INF (check that this is the LifeCam driver inf file) – otherwise the installation of the LifeCam will fail in Windows 7 when it finds the previous LifeCam inf file. More soon…