Microsoft is currently trying to resolve why some users’ attempts to upgrade to Windows 7 from Windows Vista results in an endless reboot loop with the computer not updated to the new version and unable to restore Vista. Some of the borked computers may have had corrupted downloads of the Windows 7 upgrade software as the problem (UPDATE: 64 bit .ISO now available for download) – for others, MS is focusing on software drivers installed by CD burning programs or Acronis backup or recovery software as the likely cause.

The other failing upgrade scenario from Vista to Seven has the upgrade hanging at 62% completed. Microsoft believes that this issue might be caused by the iphlpsvc service hanging at this point. The entry in the setupact.log file repeats about every 15 minutes and is:

Warning [0x080b50] MIG AsyncCallback_ApplyStatus: Progress appears to be stuck. Current progress: 62

They also say that there may be other services hanging at the same point and causing the same entry in the setupact.log file. They state, “If this entry is not occurring in the log file or you are hanging at a percentage other than 62% this workaround should not be attempted.” Knowledge Base article 975253 has a workaround that should allow the upgrade to complete successfully the next time it is started.

I’d advise anyone wanting to do an upgrade installation to Windows 7 to not start it until Microsoft has determined what the issue is and come up with a fix. UPDATE: Following the instructions in Knowledge Base article KB974078 may allow you to escape the reboot loop and restore your Vista installation. An alternate method is here – look for the post by frankenstynerjcr starting “@ JSchneider21: @ FJP57:”.

I do not recommend an upgrade (please see my comments here starting at the paragraph below the Upgrade Chart). Windows – in my experience – has always ran better as a clean installation (that’s what Microsoft calls a Custom Installation). It is an extremely good idea to run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor and read the Upgrade Compatibility Report before trying to upgrade. Uninstall any non-compatible software or upgrade it to a compatible version before starting the upgrade (see “I am running An Acer Aspire M3640 desktop, on Vista SP2, with Kaspersky IS 2010.” and the answer to it later on down on this page). There’s a Microsoft guide to upgrading a computer from Windows XP to Windows 7 here – most of it is applicable to a Vista to Seven upgrade also.

Let me put this very loudly: BEFORE MAKING ANY CHANGES TO YOUR COMPUTER, ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR FILES. Even something as simple as a software patch or a small program installation can disclose a hardware problem, software conflict, or some other issue that may result in a (temporarily) unusable computer – and if it’s your only computer, you’re going to suffer some pain until someone figures out what is wrong. There are plenty of online backup services available and some are free – or you can copy files to a USB drive, external hard drive, CD or DVD, another computer, etc. If you cannot do this a knowledgeable friend might, or you can hire a competent technician.

Even paying a technician can sometimes result in an issue. I regard myself as being a good computer technician. I have three Microsoft Certified Professional certifications, and ran a onsite repair business that I started from nothing and built into a $40,000 annual business that supported its only employee (me) very well and had many, many happy customers. I saved many computers, a lot of data, and a lot of time, money, and frustration for my customers.

Yet I’ve destroyed my own data once when trying to correct a problem with the RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks – a way to increase the reliability, speed, or both of hard drives) on my computer (I lost my entire My Documents folder – no backup). I also once erased a customer’s hard drive when installing a fresh copy of Windows – having forgotten to back up her files first.

Borking all her grandchildren’s photos still haunts me. I changed the way I repaired computers after that and I now use a checklist when I have to repair a computer – but people make mistakes, I’ve done it and could do it again, and it could happen to you. Please, please, please! BACK UP YOUR FILES! Here’s another skilled computer user who lost all of his files (three years of work) – it can happen to ANYONE.