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Upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 - Keeping all files and programs

Posted on 2014-12-02
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Last Modified: 2014-12-03
Hello,
As the title says; I want to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 but I want to keep everything in place. All personal files and all programs.

Is there any way I can take a system image of the windows 7 and import that on a windows 8.1 machine?
I read something about going from 7 to 8.1 wasnt an easy task. But can I go from Win7 -> Win8 -> Win8.1 and the end result would be a windows 8.1 with all programs and files from the original windows 7 machine. (Just to clarify, im talking about the _same_ machine, just upgrading)

I know the windows 8 installer got some restore options, but as far as I can understand thats just about keeping personal files, not programs and everything thats stored in those programs.

It boils down too this: I want to upgrade from Windows 7 too windows 8.1, and basically keep the machine in the same state; just upgraded.
Any information or advice would be highly appreciated.
Best Regards.
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Question by:Anders Thoresen
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by:McKnife
McKnife earned 500 total points
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"But can I go from Win7 -> Win8 -> Win8.1 and the end result would be a windows 8.1 with all programs and files from the original windows 7 machine" - exactly. I did that with most computers of our domain - no problem at all, files, settings and applications were kept.
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by:Colin McDonald
ID: 40477024
Hi Anders,

You will need to go from Win7 -> Win8 -> Win8.1

In place upgrade from Win7 to Win8.1 only keeps files, you would need to reinstall all your applications and reconfigure all of your settings
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by:Anders Thoresen
ID: 40477029
"But can I go from Win7 -> Win8 -> Win8.1 and the end result would be a windows 8.1 with all programs and files from the original windows 7 machine" - exactly. I did that with most computers of our domain - no problem at all, files, settings and applications were kept.

How did you go about to achieve this? Can I use some backup program or similiar? Or is this all baked into the installer?

I've worked with computers and system for a little while but never done this kind of thing. With all the automation we got in my firm we've gotten lazy when it comes to reinstalling. Normally just push things out using ConfigMgr or similar.
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McKnife earned 500 total points
ID: 40477047
"How did you go about to achieve this" - use a share that holds the extracted contents of the Windows 8 ISO file. Start Setup via Network. The upgrade will be performed after a compatibility check.
From 8 to 8.1, you can do it quite similar, but even scripted:
\\server\share\setup.exe /auto:upgrade

Open in new window

is the "magic line".
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by:Rob G
ID: 40477132
Yikes.. Why? I mean did you upgrade all the PC's to support touch screens.. Or update all the end users to support half a brain?
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by:McKnife
ID: 40477136
The second one.
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by:Rob G
ID: 40477139
McKnife! Awesome!
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by:rindi
ID: 40478251
Remember that the upgrade only works if you upgrade the same bit-level of the OS. For example, if you have Windows 7 in 32 bit, you can only upgrade to a 32 bit version of Windows 8.x, and not to a 64 bit version (and vice versa).

Also, some old software which still might work on Windows 7, might no longer with Windows 8.x, so be prepared for some things not working (the upgrade check mentioned above should find most of those programs).

Why are you upgrading at all? I haven't found any reason for Windows 8.x. Windows 7 is just as fast and reliable, and I have found zero improvements at all, on the contrary. If I were you I'd wait for Windows 10 to come out, The Technical Preview release that is out now is an improvement over Windows 8.x.

Also, I would rather not upgrade anyway, but do a clean install. That of course does mean you have to install software you need, but it also is a chance to get rid of obsolete stuff you no longer need, and to get rid of a lot of trash that has accumulated over time. A clean install should run faster and more reliably than an in-place upgrade.
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