With less than two weeks until Windows 7 will be released to the public, have you decided if you will be doing a clean install of Windows 7 or will you be doing an in place upgrade from Windows Vista? I hope to help you see which option would be best for you in this article.
Windows XP Users
Firstly, if you’re using Windows XP unfortunately you haven’t got the option to perform an in place upgrade to Windows 7 as announced by Microsoft. Thankfully you will still be allowed to purchase the cheaper “Upgrade Edition” of Windows 7 but you will have to do a clean install. However we have written a guide for XP users who want to upgrade to Windows 7 without losing all their data using the Windows Easy Transfer Utility. You can view it here.
Windows Vista Users
Windows Vista users have the option to do perform an in place upgrade to Windows 7 if they so wish or they can perform a Clean Install.
In Place Upgrade
Firstly find out which version of Windows 7 you can upgrade to by using this chart. Of course the main attraction of performing an in place upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7 is that you don’t have to backup all your data, or programs that you have installed as they will be automatically reinstalled as long as they are compatible. Most Windows Vista programs will be compatible and shouldn’t cause any problems when upgrading. Performing an upgrade is generally easier to do than a clean install. Your settings and personalization settings will remain the same such as your wallpaper and screen saver settings.
The disadvantages of performing in place upgrades is that over time, not matter how careful a user you are your computer will always have pointless junk files and excess registry entries. When you upgrade, these excess files and unneeded files and entries will be carried over to your new OS and will more than likely slow it down.
Also tests have been carried out showing that if you have a large hard drive with many programs installed the upgrade process can take up to 20 Hours! You can find out more by reading our article here
Clean installs will give you a fresher, cleaner OS without having all those old files and registry entries bogging down your system. All files will be removed and even that nasty virus that has been living there unknown to you will be deleted. A clean install gives you a fresh start and the opportunity to restore your computer to pristine condition like it was the very first day you got it. Also clean installs of Windows 7 from my experience never take more than 30 mins.
Of course performing a clean install means you lose all your programs and data, unless of course you have it backed up. You can back up your files and programs yourself to an external drive or there are plenty of programs out there that will do it for you. Then once you have performed your clean install, you can copy back over your data and files manually and reinstall your programs of choice. I know that I for one will be performing a clean install.
Of course maybe you shouldn’t even upgrade your current machine to Windows 7. There are multiple reasons for this which can be found in this guide. If you think this may be you , perhaps you would be better off investing in a new Computer.
Windows 7 Beta & RC Users
Users who wish to upgrade to Windows 7 from the beta release or the release candidate have been told by Microsoft that they can’t perform an in place upgrade
Unsupported Upgrade Scenarios
…Pre-release in-place upgrades across milestones (for example, Windows 7 RC to Windows 7 RTM) are not supported.
Users will either have to perform a clean install or you can follow our guide here on how to upgrade to the RTM.
Get Windows 7 Pre-installed
And finally, the easiest solution for some people would be, to just march down to their local computer store on the 22nd Of October and buy a brand new computer with Windows 7 pre-installed. All you would have to do is unpack it, turn it on and away you go running Windows 7. Just be on the lookout for manufacturers pre-loaded crapware!