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Does the Windows 7 Upgrade process truly create a "fresh" OS or does it carry forward any Vista "garbage"? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have used the Windows 7 upgrade process on a Vista OS and it seems to be more than just replacing Vista OS with Windows 7 OS.  It looks like it practically does a clean install, then it re-installs your applications, desktop settings, configurations, etc.  Actually I am hoping that is what it does and would like to get some validation on that.  Generally I do not trust an upgrade and opt for a clean install so as to not build a new OS on potentially corrupted older OS files.  In the case of Windows 7, I would like to use the upgrade instead, and my trial upgrade was very successful.  Does anyone know the answer to how the upgrade process for Windows 7 actually works and is it really as "clean" as a clean install would be?
    Wednesday, October 7, 2009 5:45 AM

Answers

  •  It looks like it practically does a clean install, then it re-installs your applications, desktop settings, configurations, etc.  Actually I am hoping that is what it does and would like to get some validation on that. 
    That is precisely what it does.  Quarantines your data, settings etc aside, puts a clean install in place, and then migrates your data., settings etc into that new install.  That's why an 'upgrade install' takes a fair while to complete.

    It's an image-based deployment, and it was introduced with Vista.

    http://apcmag.com/inside_vistas_new_imagebased_install.htm


    It can, of course, still end up problemmatic.  But if it does then it'd be the result of user-installed stuff which isn't fully compatible with the OS being upgraded to.  Do the homework and the preparations adequately, and an upgrade install should be as reliable as a clean install.
    Wednesday, October 7, 2009 6:45 AM
  • Hi Irpacs,

    Differences between an upgrade and a clean installation: During an upgrade, existing user settings are retained, as are installed applications and application settings. During a clean installation, the operating system files are installed in a new folder, and you must reinstall all of your applications and reconfigure user preferences, such as desktop and application settings.

    The biggest benefit of an upgrade is that you can accommodate heterogeneous hardware and software configurations without customizing them. Also, because an upgrade does not affect applications, files, or settings, you do not have to spend time configuring computers or installing applications during a rollout. Another benefit is that you do not need to migrate user data before an upgrade.

    Hope it helps.

    Thursday, October 8, 2009 6:43 AM

All replies

  •  It looks like it practically does a clean install, then it re-installs your applications, desktop settings, configurations, etc.  Actually I am hoping that is what it does and would like to get some validation on that. 
    That is precisely what it does.  Quarantines your data, settings etc aside, puts a clean install in place, and then migrates your data., settings etc into that new install.  That's why an 'upgrade install' takes a fair while to complete.

    It's an image-based deployment, and it was introduced with Vista.

    http://apcmag.com/inside_vistas_new_imagebased_install.htm


    It can, of course, still end up problemmatic.  But if it does then it'd be the result of user-installed stuff which isn't fully compatible with the OS being upgraded to.  Do the homework and the preparations adequately, and an upgrade install should be as reliable as a clean install.
    Wednesday, October 7, 2009 6:45 AM
  • Thanks very much, your reply is quite helpful.  Could you please clarify further what you mean by :

    "Do the homework and the preparations adequately, and an upgrade install should be as reliable as a clean install."

    Can you direct me to specific preparedness information I should follow?
    • Proposed as answer by Ratsneve Thursday, October 8, 2009 9:47 PM
    Wednesday, October 7, 2009 10:29 PM
  • Hi Irpacs,

    Differences between an upgrade and a clean installation: During an upgrade, existing user settings are retained, as are installed applications and application settings. During a clean installation, the operating system files are installed in a new folder, and you must reinstall all of your applications and reconfigure user preferences, such as desktop and application settings.

    The biggest benefit of an upgrade is that you can accommodate heterogeneous hardware and software configurations without customizing them. Also, because an upgrade does not affect applications, files, or settings, you do not have to spend time configuring computers or installing applications during a rollout. Another benefit is that you do not need to migrate user data before an upgrade.

    Hope it helps.

    Thursday, October 8, 2009 6:43 AM
  • Could you please clarify further what you mean by :

    "Do the homework and the preparations adequately, and an upgrade install should be as reliable as a clean install."

    Can you direct me to specific preparedness information I should follow?

    By that, Irpacs, I mean you should go beyond the 'Windows Upgrade Advisor' rather than relying upon it alone.  Like any software tool, it isn't foolproof.

    Google is your best friend, as always.  Check for things like 'applicationname windowsversion compatibility' maybe.  Read up on what other people testing the new OS version and using the tools you use are experiencing.  Run a tool which correctly identifies make/model of all the hardware components in your PC.  Check what others are experiencing with that also.

    Uninstall, in preparation, anything your investigations make you suspect might be suspect.



    Another tip:

    Check what 'new features' are included in the new OS version, that your current install doesn't provide.  Don't rush into installing software which the new OS version features might render redundant.  Use the upgrade as an opportunity to 'prune' your installed software library.  (Windows 7 isn't a big change for me, because I was an early adoptor of Vista.  The transition from XP to Vista saw me with MUCH less third-party sopftware installed afterwards, because many of the tools I'd been using were no longer necessary :)
    • Proposed as answer by Ratsneve Thursday, October 8, 2009 9:47 PM
    • Edited by Techwrighter Friday, October 9, 2009 12:26 AM typo correction
    Thursday, October 8, 2009 9:04 AM
  • Although this may not be accurate I suspect it is.  On the downside of doing an over the top installation as opposed to a clean install is that you are left with the old Registry files configured for the new W7 installation with perhaps hundreds of old remnant unused lines cluttering up the Registry.  Many don't care about this but I do and don't like it.  There may be other good reasons too but this sort of concern is why I always do very infrequent but clean installs even though I spend up to days afterward getting the OS and applications configured.
    ~Ratsneve~
    • Proposed as answer by Ratsneve Thursday, October 8, 2009 9:45 PM
    • Edited by Ratsneve Thursday, October 8, 2009 9:48 PM spelling error
    Thursday, October 8, 2009 10:01 AM
  • Although this may not be accurate I suspect it is.  On the downside of doing an over the top installation as opposed to a clean install is that you are left with the old Registry files configured for the new W7 installation with perhaps hundreds of old remnant unused lines cluttering up the Registry.  Many don't care about this but I do and don't like it.  There may be other good reasons too but this sort of concern is why I always do very infrequent but clean installs even though I spend up to days afterward getting the OS and applications configured.
    ~Ratsneve~

    Okay, so exactly what shape is the new W7 Registry you have if you do a W7 upgrade on top of Vista that has been running for over a year with numerous games and utilities installed and removed and from time to time with varying problems from wireless connectivity, printer, Internet secuity issues, and etc?
    ~Ratsneve~
    Friday, October 9, 2009 12:12 AM
  • Although this may not be accurate I suspect it is.  On the downside of doing an over the top installation as opposed to a clean install is that you are left with the old Registry files configured for the new W7 installation with perhaps hundreds of old remnant unused lines cluttering up the Registry.  Many don't care about this but I do and don't like it.  There may be other good reasons too but this sort of concern is why I always do very infrequent but clean installs even though I spend up to days afterward getting the OS and applications configured.
    ~Ratsneve~

    Okay, so exactly what shape is the new W7 Registry you have if you do a W7 upgrade on top of Vista that has been running for over a year with numerous games and utilities installed and removed and from time to time with varying problems from wireless connectivity, printer, Internet secuity issues, and etc?
    ~Ratsneve~

    I think its a good question...  If you install W7 on top of Vista are you ending up with a a 'clean' new W7 OS or something that's going to bite you in the future because of Vista and/or application leftovers in the Registry??
    ~Ratsneve~
    • Proposed as answer by Ratsneve Friday, October 9, 2009 4:09 AM
    Friday, October 9, 2009 3:46 AM
  • Thanks for everyone's input.  I would like to try to pin down one last detail, probably only answerable by Microsoft.... When you perform the Windows 7 upgrade from an existing Vista system, does the entire OS portion of the Windows registry get replaced with a completely clean registry of all the entries that affect the OS itself and no old registry entries relating to the OS are added back in?  In other words is the only registry "garbage" that you might end up with at the end of the Windows 7 upgrade those entries that relate to software applications and hardware drivers (but NOT the OS)?  Thanks.
    Thursday, October 15, 2009 2:37 AM
  • In other words is the only registry "garbage" that you might end up with at the end of the Windows 7 upgrade those entries that relate to software applications and hardware drivers (but NOT the OS)?  Thanks.

    Read this:

    http://windowsteamblog.com/blogs/windowsvista/archive/2006/10/02/Windows-Vista-Imaging-and-Installation-Performance.aspx?PageIndex=3


    The procedure for Windows 7 is the same one as introduced with Vista.  As mentioned in that article:


    Additionally, we also support in place upgrades from Windows XP to Windows Vista. During an in place upgrade, we install the image and ensure your applications, drivers, settings, and documents are properly moved into Vista.  This process of finding and moving your state adds at least 30 minutes to the upgrade process. And some machines with large numbers of files, applications, or drivers can take up to 120 minutes."





    The entries for your programs, drivers and configuration settings get migrated.  Unrelated residual registry dross should not be getting migrated.  For the Windows 7 release an in-place upgrade from XP is no longer supported.  Such an upgrade from Vista to Windows 7 or Windows 7 RC to RTM should (theoretically) give clean results.  Carried over 'problems' should only relate to user-installed or user-configured problems.  Those are the only things which should be getting 'inherited'.
    Thursday, October 15, 2009 7:08 AM