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Windows 7 Migration Woes

Some Vista users thought they died and went to heaven when Windows 7 shipped. But for some, the gates weren't so pearly, as the Win 7 upgrade was either difficult or impossible. In a handful of cases, the install goes great 62 percent of the way...and then stops. Ouch. Others get caught in an endless reboot cycle (which I used to call Windows 3.0).

Those that encounter the partial install can use a workaround, as described in this Microsoft document.

How has your Windows 7 install/migration gone, and how exactly did you do it? Answers welcome at

Posted by Doug Barney on 10/30/2009 at 1:17 PM

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Reader Comments:

Sun, Nov 8, 2009 Vickie Bay Area

I was running XP, so Windows 7 just told me to wipe the drive - unacceptable! I found this thing called Zinstall (, where they just transfer everything to Win7 and later you can sorta "switch to XP mode" and it looks just like before!

Fri, Nov 6, 2009 Jim Jones US

Successfully upgraded a Vista Ultimate x64 to Windows 7 Ultimate. This machine was fully loaded with a ton of applications installed. Gigabyte main board/quad CPU. Running the Win7 Adviser prior to upgrade yielded applications that needed to be removed prior to upgrade: 4 applications that were completely incompatible with Windows 7, new versions were sourced for some, others were replaced with new applications 8 applications that could be reinstalled after the upgrade (most were upgraded) 4 applications with question marks - the most serious was Symantec Endpoint Protection which needed upgrading (reports of occasional blue screens if not upgraded). 1 Scanner driver was a question mark. Needed Vista SP2 compatibility to run. During the upgrade, Windows 7 installer flagged three other applications that needed to be removed prior to upgrade and then reinstalled later. Upgrades took about 3-4 hours on a fast Quad core and went well. However, it took the better part of three days to perform all the prep work and re-installs. Overall Windows 7 is a delight (a much improved Vista).

Fri, Nov 6, 2009 HPJ Aberdeen, MD

After dealing with Microsoft since DOS days. I learned never to jump on their bandwagon until SP1 is released. Less headaches that way.

Fri, Nov 6, 2009 Mike Dill Greenville, SC

I performed a little research first, and determined that the overall best scenario was to always install Win 7 as a clean install. With that piece of knowledge, I Ghost'ed two of my PCs, installed Win 7 Pro 32bit on an older Win XP machine, and installed Win 7 Pro 64bit on a machine that had been running Vista Business 64bit. Both machines now run NOTICEABLY faster, appear very stable, and had zero issues with hardware, device drivers, etc. I fully expected to have to install or upgrade some hardware drivers after the Win 7 installs, but none were required. Bottom line: I'm impressed with the new O/S, and am sticking with it.

Mon, Nov 2, 2009 Curtis Vaughan Seattle, WA

I remember seeing on one forum, where an individual, who was looking for help with respect to a Windows 7 migration, switched the motto "Windows 7. Your computer simplified." (whatever it is) to something like, "Windows 7. Your computer trashed." That has been pretty much my own experience. I spent two days trying to get upgrade Vista Ultimate to Windows 7. If I wasn't paying close attention, I would discovered the computer in a BSOD state. Otherwise I would notice that it was hanging at 62% for too long and I would eventually do a force reboot. Of course, I tried the recommendations from Microsoft, which you have posted, but to no avail. The results were always the same. In the end I got so fed up that I installed from scratch. I am now trying to do the same on another Vista OS. In this case I discovered that the computer didn't have SP1 installed. The strange thing is that it doesn't want to take SP1. I have only just begun trying to conquer that issue, however. But I am expecting to run into the same issues as with the other upgrade and wonder whether I should even bother trying to upgrade. I have worked professionally in IT for over 10 years. It was after about three years of fighting with 98, 2000, XP, NT4, ES4, ad nauseum that I began the trek into open source. Despite whatever headaches I have had with Linux/Unix installs, drivers, etc. (especially some nine years back), I was always able to find a community of users wiling and ABLE to help you out. In this case, whereas Microsoft holds all the cards in its hand (proprietary), there is little support the community can offer and Microsoft itself seems surprised by the problems that have arisen. Hence the solutions Microsoft can offer are limited. If it's so disappointing and frustrating for me, I can only imagine how it must be for average users. Whereas I originally thought Windows 7 would be a game winner for Microsoft, I now think we may see another Vista catastrophe.

Sun, Nov 1, 2009 Alfred usa

I upgraded Windows 7 ultimate over Vista ultimate and went great. No issues. I also installed it on another laptop as a clean install. Again no issues. But I am an IT professional so it may be different for regular end users.

Fri, Oct 30, 2009 jjh Tallahassee Fl

I'm trying to install the Windows 7 32-Bit Ultimate upgrade over Vista Ultimate on my Dell Inspiron 1721 laptop and I get an error that says that I need to update my ATI AHCI Compatible RAID Driver. I went into the Update Device Drivers as suggested in the instructions and tried to upgrade that driver, but it says I have the latest driver for it. So I tried restarting my laptop and ran the upgrade setup again, and got the same error message.

No response from MS. Not only did my sister pay for ULtimate (and get ripped off) but the installation did not work either. No problems for a clean install of Home Premium on its own partition in a dual boot of Win 7 HP / Vista Ultimate.

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