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Windows 7 upgrade vs fresh install - Is it worth it?

Posted on 2011-02-22
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I have been running Vista Ultimate for a while and am considering upgrading to 7 Ultimate.  It has been out for a while now and the market feedback says it is better.  But how much?

I don't have specifically problems with Vista, and have even managed to get some pretty old software to run natively, such as ACT! version 6.  

I have seen resource usage for 7, and do not see that 7 would perform better than Vista.  They both appear like similar bloated operating systems to me.

I am running 32bit because I need my system to work.  I don't want to fool around with looking for 64bit drivers.  I see that as a waste of time, and just need this to work.  I haven't had problems with Vista in this regard.

I know a fresh install is best, but what is the overall experience with doing an upgrade?  I have $&!*loads of software installed and working.  I don't have nor want to spend the time reinstalling everything and would hope that an upgrade would allow the software to work fine without the need to reinstall.  Especially ACT! version 6, but I realize nobody has experience for this specific version of ACT! in Vista.  It's not even supposed to run in Vista!  I had to tweak things fairly heavily to get ACT! to run in the first place.  I even have the ACT! word processor working from Version 6 in Vista Ultimate.

My question is whether there is any real benefit for me to upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate?  Will I see advantages?  How well does the upgrade actually work?  And will I lose functionality of software after an upgrade?

I am hoping for increased performance, easier configuration, and that I can interact better with Mac OSX Leopard and Snow Leopard on my network.  I have difficulties with Snow Leopard and Vista talking.

If this was a Mac upgrade, I would have no concerns at all, but with Windows, I'm $&!*'n bricks and need advice from other techy's who have experience doing this!  I really need your experience and opinion on this to help me make a decision.

Thanks so much.
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Question by:rotnfire
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Lee W, MVP earned 63 total points
ID: 34957867
My advice - buy a new hard drive, image/backup Vista, restore it to the new drive, then upgrade the new drive to Win7.  If you have problems - even for a minute and need to do something and don't want to troubleshoot - you can always place the old drive back in and resume running Vista until you have time/inclination to get your Win7 upgrade working.

Of course, one benefit to Win7 (Pro, Ultimate, Enterprise) is the free XP VM (aka XP Mode) so if you have difficulty with some software, you can use XP with it instead.
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 63 total points
ID: 34957972
>>> It has been out for a while now and the market feedback says it is better.  But how much?

Better enough overall for me not to return to Vista (which I used successfully for 18 months). UAC in Windows 7 is vastly superior to UAC in Vista. Search is better.

>>>> I don't have specifically problems with Vista, <-- Neither did I

>>>>> I have seen resource usage for 7, and do not see that 7 would perform better than Vista.  They both appear like similar bloated operating systems to me. <-- If bloat is a real concern to you, use NT4 Workstation. It fits in under 1Gb of disk space and is perfectly useable. Vista was very fast for me and so also is Windows 7.


>>>> I am running 32bit because I need my system to work.  I don't want to fool around with looking for 64bit drivers.  I see that as a waste of time, and just need this to work.  I haven't had problems with Vista in this regard.  <--- Windows 7 offers the last 32-bit system. Windows 8 will be 64-bit. 64-bit on a fast hard drive runs rings around 32-bit. I would not and will never be caught dead with a 32-bit system. 32-bit is the true waste of time because it is slow and cannot use much memory.


>>> I know a fresh install is best, but what is the overall experience with doing an upgrade?  <--- Too much experience for me I guess. I only recommend a fresh install. Why carry all your problems (even the ones you don't know about) forward.


>>> My question is whether there is any real benefit for me to upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate?  <--- For me (and with a fresh install) yes, I am glad I did it. Windows 7 works great for me.

... Thinkpads_User


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by:jatremillo
jatremillo earned 62 total points
ID: 34958209
If you are using Vista Ultimate, the best thing to do if you don't want to upgrade, is just to move up to Vista Ultimate SP2.  It is almost just as close as Windows 7.  From my professional experience, Vista Ultimate SP2 works great, seems that this was too little too late for MS with this update, but it is still a very good update, just like when XP SP2 came out.  Especially in your case, that you have a whole bunch of software to reinstall.  If you want to upgrade to 7 with a WIN 7 upgrade disk, not full install, then it would be best to run a clean Vista install then up to 7 after that, that way it would feel like a clean Windows 7 install if you only have the Windows 7 upgrade (the reason I say upgrade disk, because you can get these deals from MS at a discount price, but its only an upgrade of whatever Vista install you have.).  Hope this helps.
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by:RootsMan
RootsMan earned 62 total points
ID: 34961282
If it ain't broke don't fix it. ;)

If you're not having any problems with your current setup, do not have a specific need for Windows 7, and you have several apps that you had to tweak to get them to work, and don't have to time to start from scratch, then stick with what's working for you.

I've switched from Vista to Windows 7 (64-bit) on the three systems I use regularly. Windows 7 is better than Vista. A clean install is best.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 34981399
Thank you and good luck going forward. ... Thinkpads_User
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