Several places, like gHacks, on the internet are reporting that Windows 7 upgrades will install, and upgrade Windows 7 betas, the Release Candidate, or Windows XP. While that may be happy news on the surface, I believe that time has shown that upgrading a Microsoft operating system installation has not been something that one wants to do in place (essentially copying new files to replace old) since the days of DOS.

image choose your poison, er, flavor! Whatever you choose, do a clean install. You’ll be much happier.

More than a few times, I have had to recover a customer’s data from a botched upgrade of Windows. These were not situations where the user was a buffoon, or not careful. This is something that happens no matter how small the increment of the operating system. Witness the myriad of problems experienced by those who tried to upgrade their Windows XP Service Pack 2 installations by using the Service Pack 3 release from Microsoft.  Many users became the owners of machines that would do nothing but become perpetual rebooting mechanisms. Though I never had problems with doing the in place Windows XP SP1 to SP2 upgrade, I know there were reports of many problems. This means that it is not an impossible task, achieving an in place upgrade, but the odds are greatly against it.

Another thing to consider is that just because something might work out, does not mean it is advisable from other standpoints.  If a successful upgrade is done in place, there are still so many things that will be left around that various settings in the registry, or possibly in .ini files, will screw up later workings of the user’s computer (in some cases screw up is too harsh a descriptor, produce unexpected results is more precise).

Another thing to think about, there are always a great number of files left behind by an in place upgrade. Some of these are forgotten, but some are actually by design, just as there are backups of system files each time an Upgrade Tuesday comes around. These are all preserved when upgrades are done, and can end up being a few gigabytes in size. Disk space is cheap, but cleanliness is next to godliness!

Now Download Squad is reporting that to use an upgrade disc, an activated copy of Windows is necessary. For many, this will make them want to take the easy way out, and try the in place upgrade. Don’t do it, you will regret it, sooner or later. If this does turn out to be true, there will be a work around found, just as there always has been. Remember, using these workarounds is not illegal, it is simply prudent.




Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.Mahatma Gandhi

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