A+: Updating to Windows 7

Do you need to install Win7 on a Vista PC? Then, you _can_ update, which in theory will preserve your installed appps; but, it's not guaranteed, and it's far better to do a clean install of WIn7 anyway, as clean installs result in more reliable PCs.

That being said, upgrades are done in essentially the same manner as clean installs. The difference is that all the settings, applications, and user files will ultimately be kept in place if the upgrade is successful. It is recommended that those files and settings are backed up previous to the upgrade. However, before starting the upgrade, you should first check to see if your computer (and operating system) is compatible and if it will survive the process. You can also use the following utilities and websites to do this:

• Windows Upgrade Advisor: This is a website that is accessed by clicking on the Check compatibility online button when you first insert the Windows 7 DVD. Of course, the computer that you want to upgrade needs to have Internet access. You can also download the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor from Microsoft’s website.

• Windows Compatibility Center: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/

• Windows 7 Logo’d Products List: http://winqual.microsoft.com/HCL/Default.aspx?m=7

Only Windows Vista can be upgraded directly to Windows 7. To upgrade Windows Vista to Windows 7, make sure that service pack 1 or 2 is installed to Vista before the upgrade, insert the DVD, and select the Upgrade option. The steps to complete the upgrade are similar to the clean installation steps.

Windows Vista Home Basic and Home Premium versions can be upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium. Windows Vista Business can be upgraded to Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate. Windows Vista Ultimate can only be upgraded to Windows 7 Ultimate. Any other combinations of upgrades from Vista to Win7 require a Custom/advanced install, and would require the user to backup all data prior to the upgrade, and reinstall any applications after the upgrade is complete.

To upgrade XP or 2000 to Windows 7, a user would again have to back up all files, then start the install, select Custom/advanced, and later reinstall any applications necessary and restore data files. Microsoft recommends the program Windows Easy Transfer for the backup and restoration of files.

32-bit versions of Windows cannot be directly upgraded to 64-bit versions. 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 can be installed to a computer with a 64-bit processor. However, 32-bit processors will only accept 32-bit versions of Windows 7.