A+: Upgrading to Windows Vista from XP or 2000

There are two installation options when attempting to upgrade to Windows Vista. The first is an “upgrade in-place” which means that you can install Windows Vista and retain your applications, files, and settings. This is usually how an upgrade is accomplished from Windows XP. The second is a clean install. This means that you should use Windows Easy Transfer to copy files and settings to an external source before starting the “upgrade.” This second option is necessary if you wish to upgrade from Windows 2000 Professional to Vista. Keep in mind that once a computer has been upgraded to Windows Vista, it cannot be “downgraded” back to XP or 2000, the way that older Microsoft operating systems could be; the only way to revert back to the older OS would be to reformat the hard drive and reinstall the older OS. For more information about the upgrade options, mapped to the various operating system editions, see the following link: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-vista/get/upgrade-your-pc-options.aspx.

To start the Window Vista upgrade process from Windows XP or 2000, do the following:

    Step 1. Insert your Windows Vista DVD into the DVD-ROM drive while your old version of Windows is running.

    Step 2. Unless you’ve disabled Autorun, the Windows Vista splash screen is displayed. If you do have autorun disabled, go to your DVD-ROM drive and double-click setup.exe. It is recommended that you choose Check Compatibility Online.

    Step 3. After checking compatibility (if necessary), click Install Now.

    Step 4. Next is the updates screen. It is recommended that you select the first option Go Online and Get the Latest Updates for Installation. There is also an option to send anonymous information back to Microsoft during the install. If you do not want to do this, leave the I Want to Help Make Windows Installation Better checkbox blank.

    Step 5. Type in the product key. This should have come with your upgrade disc.

    Step 6. Next, accept the terms of the license (otherwise the installation will end).

    Step 7. In the next window you have two options: upgrade or custom. Select the first option to upgrade the previous version of Windows to Windows Vista. If you receive any type of compatibility report window that says you have potential issues, consider stopping the installation for now, and finding out what hardware or software needs to be replaced using the websites listed previously. Then start the upgrade again when you have fixed any issues. In some cases when you receive a compatibility report, the installation will not let you continue, and in other cases you can proceed at your own risk; but be warned, these devices or applications might not function when the upgrade completes.

    Step 8. Next, Vista will copy files, gather files, expand files, install features and updates, and finally, complete the upgrade. This might require several restarts and will take at least several minutes to several hours to finish, depending on the computer’s resources. Let the upgrade continue unhindered until you get to Step 9.

    Step 9. After the final restart you should see the Help Protect Windows Automatically screen.

    Step 10. Then you will need to configure the time zone, time, and date.

    Step 11. Finally, select the location for the computer, and click Start to begin using Windows Vista.

Another upgrade option for Windows Vista is called Windows Anytime Upgrade. This allows a user to upgrade from a lower edition of Vista to a higher edition, for example from Windows Vista Home Premium to Windows Vista Ultimate.