This guide will show you how to upgrade your Windows Vista operating system to Windows 7. It is important to have this guide available either on another computer or in print. Your computer will turn off during your installation of Windows and you will not be able to view this guide from that computer.

Before you begin

To install Windows 7 while you are running Windows Vista, you can either choose the Upgrade option or choose the Custom option during your installation. Choosing the upgrade option is the most convenient method. The custom option will completely erase your personal files. If for any reason you choose to perform a custom installation, you must backup anything you wish to transfer to your Windows 7 system.

What you need to prepare:

  • For a custom installation, you will need all the installation files and disks for the programs that you want to use in Windows 7. You will also need to back up your personal files and settings using Windows Easy Transfer.

  • The previous step is unnecessary for an upgrade installation.

Decide whether you will be installing the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows 7. If you have less than 4 GB of RAM (random access memory), then the 32-bit edition is sufficient. If you have more than 4 GB of RAM, then you can select the 64-bit option.

  • Go to Start
  • Right-click Computer
  • Click Properties

  • You can also follow this procedure to find out if your computer is capable of running the 64-bit edition
  • Go to Start à Control Panel à System and Maintenance àPerformance information and Tools.
  • Select View and print details.

The information that appears will indicate whether you are capable of running the 64-bit edition of Windows. You do not need to run this test if you are already running a 64-bit edition of Windows.

Check compatibility

Although Windows Vista-based computers meet the system requirements for Windows 7, it is still advisable to run Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. You can download and install Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to check if there will be any compatibility issues with your programs, hardware, or devices. It will also give you recommendations if it finds any potential problems.

Check Upgradeability

When you are ready to upgrade your Windows Vista to Windows 7, you must check whether the edition you have installed is upgradable to the edition of Windows 7 that you want. For each version of Windows Vista, the table below will show you the corresponding Windows 7 editions:

If you choose a custom installation, you will not have to regard this table. However, not doing an upgrade installation will mean you have to create a backup disk in order to transfer your personal files.

Install Windows 7

If you have decided to do a custom installation, make sure you have backed up your important files. Make sure you have the product key for your copy of Windows; you will need it for validation after your installation. Also, make sure you have an internet connection for installing the latest updates.

  • Find the *.exe file for your Windows 7 installation depending on how you chose to install it (CD, USB, or downloaded from the internet)
  • Click Install Now in the instructions that appear.
  • Select Get important updates for installation if you want your system to be up to date on installation. Although not recommended, you can continue without selecting this option.
  • Accept the license terms (if you accept the terms) and click Next.
  • Choose between Custom and Upgrade (recommended) when you presented with the options.
  • If you chose the custom installation, select your Windows 7 partition and click Next.
  • If you chose the upgrade installation, follow the remaining instructions to complete the installation.
  • Click OK.
  • Follow the instructions until the installation is finished.

If you have chosen an upgrade installation, then you are almost finished with setting up Windows 7 (you will have to restore your files and install your programs if you chose to do a custom installation). The remaining steps are optional but recommended:

  • Perform a system update by running Windows Update from Start à All Programs.
  • You can share your devices by accessing Start à Device and Printers.

In the Sharing tab, select Share this printer and click OK.

You are now done with upgrading your Windows Vista to Windows 7. You may run Disk Cleanup to ensure that you have cleared your computer of unneeded files.