Having read a few articles beforehand, I embarked on the upgrade with caution. What follows are my experiences of the upgrade with the hope that it saves someone else some time in the future.
My PC had Windows Vista Ultimate x64 installed and my upgrade path was to go to Windows 7 Ultimate x64 (the only path available other than a clean installation).
First up was to add a new environment variable which had been reported to cause a hang (or stall) at 62% of the upgrade – see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/975253 for latest info on how to fix this problem.
Next up was to run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor which told me that I needed to uninstall the Raxco PerfectDisk disk defrag software (which I installed from a magazine CD and I hardly ever use) in order to run the upgrade. It also advised that I should uninstall my ATI software and iTunes, and reinstall them after Windows 7 was installed.
Just in case, I also downloaded the latest versions of the ATI drivers for Windows 7, along with Windows 7 drivers for my motherboard, and the latest version of iTunes.
So having done my due diligence as above, I embarked on the upgrade process and ran the upgrade program. I noted the time of starting the upgrade to give people an idea of how long it would take. Almost as soon as it started, it was telling me to reboot before it could proceed (to finish a previously uncompleted uninstall).
Disappointed (because I know how long Vista takes to reboot :() I duly rebooted my PC. At the restart there was an error that it couldn’t find one of my drives – in fact it had lost 3 DVD drives (2 physical, one virtual) and so I could not continue my Windows 7 upgrade until I resolved the issue. After uninstalling the DVD drives from Device Manager and going through various routines of scanning for new hardware and rebooting, I eventually found a fix – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314060. I ignored the last point about restarting the computer and simply scanned for new devices in Device Manager instead (which worked out fine).
So, having had to abort the initial upgrade, I was able to restart again 35 minutes later, only to find that the Windows 7 upgrade then complained about the Raxco PerfectDisk software I’d already uninstalled. After more messing about and reboots, I found that there was a PerfectDisk folder still on the system and simply removing the folder allowed the upgrade to continue – 45 minutes after I’d first tried to start!
Once the upgrade got started, I was able to leave the PC to upgrade and 2 Hours 3 Minutes later I was asked for the Product Key – 2 minutes after that I had a login screen.
After reinstalling the ATI software, Motherboard Drivers and iTunes, the only thing that was immediately noticeable was that Windows Live Messenger was broken. Uninstalling Windows Live Essentials and reinstalling it again from the latest downloadable setup (http://download.live.com/?sku=messenger) has fixed this issue.
In all, despite the initial problems, this has been quite a satisfactory upgrade – the performance improvements are immediately noticeable with the PC much more responsive than before. Let’s hope the stability is better than Vista (that shouldn’t be too difficult).