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Upgrading from Vista Home Premium

Posted on 2013-12-20
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Last Modified: 2014-01-09
I currently have an HP computer (model m9510f) that I bought in April 2010 w Vista Home Premium installed. I've always had problems with dropouts and freezing and such when using my music production software SONAR X1 Studio, and I'm wondering if the problems might be OS related. If they are not, then I would have to consider upgrading to SONAR X3, but that requires Windows 7 or 8 anyway.

From what I've gathered from a little research online, with a machine as old as mine, Windows 7 is a better way to go than Windows 8 .

So my first question is: do you agree?

Secondly, installing a new OS gives me more than a little anxiety:
Will I lose files?
Will I have to re-install all my programs? The main ones being MS Office 2010, Adobe Web Premium CS3, and SONARX1, assuming i keep it. I hope not because that can be a headache, especially I would think with older programs.
Will I have to manually re-create my (admittedly minor) network connections.
Worst case of all, could the new OS encounter some kind of "organ transplant rejection," leaving me with an unbootable computer.


I'd love to get some feedback from you all about my four pillars of anxiety :-) But bear in mind that my main goal is to improve my music production experience.  If there happens to be a SONAR expert out there, I'd love to hear your perspective.

Thanks,
John
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Question by:gabrielPennyback
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16 Comments
 
LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:aadih
ID: 39733062
(1) Generally, if you can run Windows 7 on your PC. You can run Windows 8. The difficulty may be getting all the device drivers.

(2) You cannot upgrade from Vista to Windows 8.

(3) Therefore, if you are thinking of upgrading (to keep the existing data and programs) you should upgrade to Windows 7. The instructions from Microsoft for doing this are here:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/help/upgrading-from-windows-vista-to-windows-7#T1=tab01 >
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Author Comment

by:gabrielPennyback
ID: 39733069
Thanks for responding so fast! I was at that site earlier and no matter what clicked I couldn't find anything about downloading or installing Windows 7. Could you walk me through exactly what menu trail to follow to get to (a) the instructions and (b) a download page for Windows 7. Which leads to the question: is it even possible to install an OS without a DVD?
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Expert Comment

by:aadih
ID: 39733075
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LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39733085
I have a small client with such a machine and I can say in agreement that Microsoft will no longer upgrade Vista to Windows 7.

If you are going to purchase a license anyway, you should consider Windows 8.1 Pro instead.

A computer made in 2010 should run Windows 8. Check the HP site to see if they have new drivers. This is NOT an HP strength, so check first.

... Thinkpads_User
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 39733109
Windows 7 beats windows 8.x all the way in my point of view, whether the hardware supports it or not. It also beats Vista of course.

Maybe though, before getting another OS, I suggest you add RAM to your PC (if it will take more), and then check whether it runs better that way. Often the problem you describe can be overcome with enough RAM.

If that doesn't help, get another HD and install Windows 7 to it. You can use the tool below to create an installation USB stick for the OS:

http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/html/pbPage.Help_Win7_usbdvd_dwnTool

You can then move back and forth from Vista to Windows 7 by changing the disk. The data from the old vista installation, just get from your backups to the new installation.
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Assisted Solution

by:aadih
aadih earned 116 total points
ID: 39733124
Take a look at comparison graphs for Windows 7 versus Windows 8 performance:

http://usabilitygeek.com/windows-8-vs-windows-7-speed-and-performance-testing/ >

"At the end we concluded that Windows 8 is faster than Windows 7 in some aspects such as startup time, shut down time, wake up from sleep, multimedia performance, web browsers performance, transferring large file and Microsoft excel performance but it is slower in 3D graphic performance and high resolution gaming performance. Battery life improved enough to be noticeable."

http://www.techspot.com/review/561-windows8-vs-windows7/ >

"From a performance standpoint Windows 8 appears to offer a solid foundation from the get-go. Although there are only a few select areas where it is faster than Windows 7, we are pleased that it's able to match it everywhere else."

There are several others if you are interested (Google); most, however, reach similar conclusions as above two.

A consumer must make her own mind, of course.
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Author Comment

by:gabrielPennyback
ID: 39733144
I downloaded and ran the Upgrade Advisor and it said that I could "upgrade to 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium or Ultimate." The PDF instructions say that I can do an upgrade install right from a downloaded EXE while vista is running. Just make sure to click "upgrade" as the type of install.

I found a site that will sell me Windows 7 for $119.99 as a direct download from Microsoft, which sounds good to me. I doesn't say whether it's SP1 or SP2. If it's SP1, can I download SP2 for free later?  I forget.

I'm ruling out Windows 8 because I do not want to go through the hassle of re-installing my programs or finding out too late that some of my important files weren't backed up after all.

if everything I say in Paragraph 1 is valid, then is there any reason for me not to proceed with the download from http://www.softwareking.com/WIN7HD64.html? That is, assuming that softwareking is a legitimate retailer.

Thanks,
John
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LVL 95

Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 117 total points
ID: 39733146
If you wish to go to Windows 7, it works fine. You can download Service Packs for Windows 7 for free.

In terms of upgrading in place, in theory this will work. Be aware that in place upgrades frequently go wrong and carry errors from the prior system forward.

So you may wish to completely back up first.

Re: Software King:  I have purchased from them and they are reputable in any of my dealings with them, including questions from me in advance of purchase.

... Thinkpads_User
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LVL 8

Assisted Solution

by:davidlevans13
davidlevans13 earned 117 total points
ID: 39733348
If you are going to upgrade to Windows 7 my personal experience has shown me that in-place upgrades are very problematic. I did it on 2 machines and the actual process was easy but the results were not. The new upgraded machines became very buggy and error filled. I wound up doing a clean install on both machines.

I know reloading your software etc is a daunting task, but I suggest getting a new HDD and installing Windows 7 to that.
You will be much happier in the long run.

PS. What I did was to clone old drive to new drive, and then upgrade (clean install) the Windows 7 on new disk.

That way you have your old drive to access files if need be.
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Accepted Solution

by:
rindi earned 150 total points
ID: 39733475
Windows 7 currently only has SP1, there is no SP2 yet (and from what I gather m$ hasn't got any intentions of ever publishing SP2). If this is a current version of Windows 7m SP1 will be integrated already, but if not it will be available as a Windows update.

I don't think upgrading from an older OS to a new one is a good idea, as that usually carries any problems and ballast you had with the old one over to the new one. It is always better to do a clean installation. Then install the chipset drivers, reboot, install the rest of the drivers. After that install a good AV tool (Panda Cloud Antivirus is what I recommend), and after that do all Windows updates.

I also recommend only to install those programs you absolutely need. Usually a lot of unneeded crap gets installed, which then doesn't get uninstalled properly again, and all that slows the PC down. What I suggest is to use the tools you get with "PortableApps". They are all free, there is something available for practically every task, you don't need to keep any product keys, and if you want to, you can put them on a USB stick so you have all your applications available to you when you have to use a foreign PC. It also takes away the hassle of re-installing software every time you install a new OS or PC. If you use a 2nd disk for the installation as I recommended above, you still have your original installation if you ever need it, and if you want to sell your PC, you can also put that old disk back in, do the factory reset, and the buyer gets the PC in the state you bought it in. You can still use your new Windows 7 OS on a new PC, provided you don't use an OEM version of it (just make sure you buy a retail Windows 7 version, and not an OEM version).

http://portableapps.com/
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Expert Comment

by:aadih
ID: 39733605
As advised above, if the upgrade is not a good way to go, and a clean install is better, consider seriously saving your data and files and installing Windows 8.1. You will be up to date.

And if you do not want to see the normal Windows 8.1 touch menu, use "Classic Shell" (< classicshell.net >) and boot up directly to  desktop and customize your start menu as you like it.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 39733629
No. Don't go for Windows 8.1. That is in my point of view only a little less bad than Windows8, both are terrible OS's compared to windows 7 (actually any m$ OS). Even Vista is better!!
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39733645
To All, and for what it is worth, I have Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit running on my ThinkPad X230 and it runs fine.

It boots to the Desktop (no Metro at all) and there are a couple of ways of using the Start Menu on the desktop including one built into Windows 8/8.1.

So take your pick of Seven or Eight because both work.

@gabrielPennyback  - As I suggested and others agreed, upgrading from Vista directly is not a good idea (it might work), so be ready for a fresh install in either case (Seven or Eight).

... Thinkpads_User
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LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:aadih
ID: 39733672
FWIW: My experience is exactly as Thinkpads_User's regarding Windows 8.1 (Two computers, one using 32 Bit and another 64 Bit) since Windows 8 came to the market. Better performance than Windows 7 and more stable (one example: Windows explorer never crashed, so far) and more secure.

<Only an opinion, based on an individual's experience, however.>
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 39733787
Mine is different. Same hardware. Installed Windows 7. Speed and stability is very good, no crashes. Installed Windows 8. Speed is similar to that of Windows 7. Bootup may be very slightly faster, but not really noticable. With Windows 7 I don't have to insult my eyes with the terrible looking metro desktop, and I don't have add any 3rd party tools, or go through other workarounds or hoops spending time until I have a usable desktop. I also don't have all those useless metro apps which Windows 8 comes with (I haven't seen any that would be of any use, or for which there isn't a better "normal" program or PortableApp as replacement). So I just don't see any reason whatsoever to go for Windows 8.x. I also don't have any multitouch hardware, so why go for Windows 8.x?

Besides that, Windows 8 doesn't install to many older or even relatively new hardware. A 3 year old PC could already be too old, and you will certainly have less issues and a lower learning curve with Windows 7 than 8.x.
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Author Closing Comment

by:gabrielPennyback
ID: 39770182
Thank you all so much. One of the best ideas I got from you is the idea of putting all my apps on  USB stick, That and the reality check that an upgrade install will probably bring over a lot of problems.  Forgive me if I overlooked anybody in the points.

Thanks,
John
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