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Win 7 in place upgrade, or New install to SSD of Windows 10 - what is more stable

Hi all!  We have a pretty solid history with our customers of doing top notch high quality work  It has been brought to our attention that some people are doing in place Windows 10 upgrades, rather than a fresh install.  We have clients where they don't want to invest in new hardware and although 4+ yrs old, more than meet their needs (i7s etc)  .  Due to spindle drives being one of the weakest links in a desktop, the registry getting bloated over a few years, we recommend doing a new install of Windows 10, on an SSD, then installing apps fresh, and restoring any local data/config etc.   Many of the users are on Office 2010, which EOL is Oct 2020, when it comes to sec updates too. Yet another reason to go to a new install on an SSD.
The systems we have done - are flawlessly reliable.  Does anyone disagree with a fresh install on new drives, vs in place?  I keep hearing people having performance issues, random BSODs, and other issues with in place upgrades.

I just want to see what the consensus is.
Most users even notice an increase in performance by adding an inexpensive SSD.
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Sajid Shaik M
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I too suggest for new installation... Once upgrade created compatibility issue with McAfee similar way this could happen with any other app...or bsod ..etc.

All the best
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Daniel Pineault

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Thanks guys!  I have been doing this for a long time, BUTTTTT - just wanted to see what the consensus is!

Thanks again!
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I would NEVER EVER do an in place upgrade on a server.

Thanks Lee!
In-place upgrades have been around since...the early 90s?  Sure, it's really easy to wipe a drive and install a new OS, wiping away all of the customer's programs and personalized settings.  There's nothing wrong with in-place upgrades.  Millions of computers have been upgraded this way.  Windows even gives you the option to roll back to the old copy of Windows for 30 days if you are having problems.
The issue is whether the systems in Question have rights to win10 where a clean install would be authorized.
In situations with win7
In your case it is difficult to answer, I.e. If the system was entitled to the freeupgrade, an inplace upgrade might avoid the purchase cost if one did a clean install to a system without a win10 COA or not part of an enterprise software assurance?...

Try with one system and a brand new HDD/SSD and do a clean new install to see whether win10 will auto activate, add licensing.

I appreciate your feedback, however, I think without a doubt it is going to be cleaner, more stable and faster on an SSD than the 4+ year old 7200 RPM drives.  We have done dozens as a new install - not a single call back, not one.  I think what it comes down to is. if you want to ensure the highest quality, you go clean.  Hell, even office has to be upgraded  within the next few months because the version they are using is 2010.  People have been blown away on the increase in performance.  Lee had a great point. I would never do an in place upgrade on a server.

They are willing to purchase the licenses for win10 pro, office has to be upgraded as well so why put it on an old drive with a dirty registry etc.

His many unused systems do you have?
Replacing with an SSD will speed up the rollout.
Using software deployment, you can push suitable applications on bootup.

How are the current user data managed? Folder redirection? Roaming profiles? Or part of the time you'll be spending is getting user data.
All local data remains intact on the old drives,  So after you get the OS/Office Suite/updates etc., -
No roaming. We have done so many of these, it really is not bad at all, yet far cleaner

Wouldn't you rather install fresh on a new ssd vs a 4-5 hr old 7200 RPM drive? That is probably we we never get any complaints.  

That is what I was trying to find out what others have experienced, but based on my experience I think a new clean install blows away an in place.  Eliminates unpredictability, runs very clean/lean
Most desktops don't have that much data local anyway.
The question is as you noted in the last comment deals with whether and how much personal info there is .....
Customer software installed and whether it is needed and flexibility of what is in place in terms of whether there are resources that can be swapped in and out.
a step is to get the HDDs out of the way through cloning them to an SSD...

The fastest way to get a new OS in place is through the freshinstall, join to the domain.
The getting software installed, getting the user to login so that you can copy their data from the old drive .........

There are valid reasons and approaches to each.
Each case can be different
and in most cases, an upgrade of windows 7 to 10 will get a digital licence for free
but a clean install is what it says : clean ! - but takes more work installinf softwares and  copying data and configuring
It seems like your mind was already made up before you asked this question.  In short: do what is best for your customer.  I've done hundreds of in-place upgrades for past employers without any issues.  You can also clone a 7200 RPM hard drive to a SSD using disk copy software.
Hey Adam

I am part human ;-)  Want to  check the consensus out there. I have been doing this for a long time, but don't know everything.  
You have done hundreds - any issues?

But again, if you have to install a current app suite - and you rather not use a 5 yr old drive....

Good point about cloning to an SSD - do you use Acronis?  But again, are we bringing over all the garbage left behind in a bloated registry accumulated for years?

Thanks again!
Issues usually relate to installed software that is incompatible with Windows 10.
There are threads here that people ran into where the HW and the new version had mismatch, incompatibility where prior versions of Windows 10 1511,1609,1709, etc upgraded in place without an issue.
I.e. The current fir are, drivers on the older system were not seen as suitable by the newest win 10 1903,1909.
If you are working with a uniform setup HW/software
Testing one will indicate how likely the rest will go.
Hey Arnold

So based on your experience, what do you lean towards doing.  in place is acceptable, but a fresh install on a new drive still superior as well?

There's several suites, but I like Paragon Hard Drive manager and Acronis the best.    Yes, you will bring in artifacts from the old operating system.  When you have a deadline and limited staff, you use the method to get you from point A to B the quickest.  This is probably more of an issue in corporate environments vs the consumer environment that you are referring to.  Lots of consumers like to check the box "Save my password" in their web browser, then they forget their password.  Now you go ahead and wipe their OS and now all of their web passwords are lost.  Who are they going to blame?  They could be storing those in Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox...are you going to back all of those up?

This doesn't even address the software that they may have purchased, installed and licensed.  What if they didn't save the registration code? Now you wipe their OS and go to re-install their software and can't.  Again, every case is going to be different.
It's a choice.  Both approach offer advantages and disadvantages.

In a past lifetime, when working as an IT Admin, the policy was to perform a fresh install every PC every 2-3 years to clean the crap out and ensure no issues.
Hey Adam

I am referring to small businesses for the most part.  Yes, agreed with dealing with licensing but thankfully they have all that is needed good records really which is a plus!

Thanks again!
Excellent feedback

It is appreciated.  We have pretty much a flawless record with server installs/migrations/desktops etc - so very helpful to see what the consensus is

Thank you everyone!
Thank you everyone for sharing your expertise/experience
To your last question, it most often depends on the availability of resources and custom software.
If they do not have systems to swap in and swap out. Cloning of the existing hard drive to an SSD is about an hour per system. This achieves two things at the same time. Image of system pre upgrade. and a speedier upgrade process when ran.
not a one way trip if something goes horribly wrong.

when there are systems that can be swapped in and out and all the user use are web based application, no local or minimal application that can be pushed through a GPO, a clean install on a "new system to the user" is the faster approach. (roaming users, folder redirection)....though will not apply as windows 7/8/8.1 use a different version of the profile ...... so they will start with a new profile....user profile migration...... depends on whether that is needed. with this scenario, there is little customization, though the user might complain about their saved passwords in the browser....
i have done about 20 -30 upgrades and 2 of them gave problems; but 1 i am not sure if the hardware is not  the cause
Hey Nobus

Although the others didn't give problems, I wonder if they are actually running optimally, meaning on the same level as a fresh install on a new SSD

Often issues arise when applications, and user interactions are done.
A fresh install is prestine until the user logs I and presumably accesses the same things they may have before ....

THe scenario is important. Consider a vendor custom application into which I ran, it requires .net 3.5 to work. The Windows 10 commonly does not have it enabled. If the system is joined into the domain, the .net 3.5 feature install kept failing because they had an internal wsus. The fix was to disjoin, add the feature. Rejoin the domain to install the app.....
On a system I upgraded in place, the win 10 included all existing features from the prior system. At times the upgrade did not go while attached to the domain, disjoin, upgrade in-place, rejoin and the system was good to go I about 2 hours.
fresh is Always considered the best - but , as said, it costs more time + licence
as for running in optimal shape - it depends on what the user installed/ changed and ruined on his system
Hey Guys

So Windows 10 is still free if you do an in-place upgrade over Win 7?

It is free if you were entitled at the time of the free offering g. U.e bought a computer around that time.
Eas offered a free upgrade. Tried it but went back.....

It is possible that they entitled some poems dell, hp, Lenovo, etc.

If you are entitled with the in-place. If you wipe and try it might not recognize your right.
It worked for one VM - and it definitely activated it.  I didn't think it was free any longer, so I am shocked that it worked - that's why I figured I would check here.  I will have to test on another computer for the hell of it
i have upgraded  about 10  pc's since 2020 - all were activated
Hey Nubus  - thanks!  BTW - how was the stability doing the inplace - any issues?
no problems showing - but you must remember not all devices have windows 10 drivers  - printers, scannes etc