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Vista Version Upgrade

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Old 05-24-2008
Lowell Greenberg
 

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Vista Version Upgrade
I posted this information on my web site to help people considering a Vista
version upgrade. While the instructions may seem over precautionary- I
believe they are warranted.

Upgrading any Microsoft operating system software can be demanding on one's
machine and nerves. This is particularly so for Windows Vista- where even
though its been over over a year since its final release- video, USB,
motherboard, ACPI, network, sound, system & other device drivers conflict
and/or cause serious system stability issues. Even Windows system updates
can cause stability issues.
The so-called Anytime Upgrade can be used to upgrade Vista Home Basic, Home
Premium or Business to the Vista Ultimate edition. It is in reality a new
install and involves copying registry and other settings from the old to the
new install. This fully automated process can take anywhere from 1.5 hours
or longer. There have been many reports of upgrades failing at the last step
("Completing Upgrade"). If the upgrade fails, the system may rollback to the
previously installed edition. While one might expect the upgrade process
from one version of Vista to another to be painless- this is often not the
case.

I have found the following suggestions helpful before performing an upgrade
from Home Premium to Ultimate. However, following them is no guarantee of
success. Also, If you applied a service pack to your current version of
Vista, make sure your upgrade disk incorporates this service pack as well.
The most current service pack is SP1.

After the install, re-enable the Windows features, software and hardware
devices mentioned below.

Upgrade Preparation Steps

(1) Review Windows Anytime Upgrade FAQ. You may wish to run the Vista
Upgrade Advisor.
(2) Create a full image backup of all hard drives using a tool such as
Acronis TrueImage, Norton Ghost or DriveImage XML(freeware). Create the
image on your Vista compatible USB 2.0/Firewire compatible drive. Create an
emergency boot-up disk with all essential drivers and one of the
aforementioned programs installed on it. Also, record your current version
product key and make sure you have the current version install disk
available in case there are issues with the image restore. If your computer
was purchased from an OEM manufacturer such as Dell or Gateway, take the
time to review what would be involved in an operating system restore using
the disks and/or recovery partitions that came with your machine. Hopefully
an image restore will not be required.
(3) Go to http://support.microsoft.com/kb/946078. Per this knowledge base
article, uninstall the following Windows features:
Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0\XPS Viewer
Remote Differential Compression
Window DFS Replication Service
(4) Turn off all unnecessary USB peripherals (scanners, USB drives, etc.).
Vista frequently has issues with USB host controllers & devices such as
external USB hard drives. This step is an attempt to prevent USB related
issues during the upgrade.

Run chkdsk on all drives to insure there is no file corruption.
Run system file checker to verify that the system files are not corrupt.
Verify in device manager that there are no device conflicts by checking
Device Manager (Control Panel > System > Device Manager).

You may also want to generate a system health report and run memory
diagnostics (these are under Vista Performance and Information Tools >
Advanced Tools).

(5) Turn off anti-virus/anti-spyware/non-Windows firewall software.
(6) Run MSCONFIG from Accessories > Run program. Disable loading of all
startup items.
(7) Set sleep power settings to 'Never.'
(8) If your graphic card manufacturer's supplied video driver is not WHQL
certified, then consider uninstalling and reinstalling Vista's standard
video drivers. Even if it is WHQL certified make sure it has been running
stably on your system for an extended period. Nvidia drivers are notorious
for their instability.
(9) If the Vista DVD was burned from a downloaded ISO file, run a CRC check
to verify that the image is correct before burning it to DVD. Then verify
the DVD after the burn.
(10) After completing the above, reboot and wait for Vista to fully load.
Then insert the Vista upgrade/full version CD and click on setup to begin
the upgrade process from within your current version of Vista. Be sure to
have you new product key available for reference during the install. The
setup process should prompt for applying system updates and will run the
compatibility analyzer. Also, be sure you select the 'Upgrade' option. The
only other option may be a fresh install- which will require you to
reinstall all of your programs, emails, etc.
(11) After the upgrade is complete verify Vista is functioning normally by
testing all installed applications at least once. If a particular
application is not working, then consider a repair or reinstall of that
application.
Go to system properties to verify that Ultimate is now the current Windows
edition and to activate your new product key.

After the above, re-enable Windows features, software, devices, etc.
disabled in steps (2)-(8) above. Test any hardware that was re-enabled for
compatibility and stability.

Note: Other then Step (3), all other preparation steps are optional, but may
increase the probability of a successful Upgrade. Also, do not attempt to
upgrade a machine that has hardware and/or software stability issues that
may be uncovered from step (4) above.


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