Getting your PC ready for Windows 7 Release Candidate

Originally posted on Teching It Easy April 7th 2009.

Last month Microsoft talked about preparing for the Windows 7 Release Candidate. The Windows Team confirmed that build-to-build upgrades will not be supported for the RC. This means, technical testers and customers running the Beta (build 7000) released back in January will not be able to do an in-place upgrade to Release Candidate. This is quite a chore for some persons who have probably standardized on the beta and are using it in production environments, but its the reality of beta testing. Microsoft wants to ensure the smoothest upgrade possible, and that means testing against a commercially released copy of Windows Vista to Windows 7, especially for feedback purposes.

We’ve also learned that many of you (millions) are running Windows 7 Beta full time. You’re anxious for a refresh. You’ve installed all your applications. You’ve configured and customized the system. You would love to get the RC and quickly upgrade to it from Beta. The RC, however, is about getting breadth coverage to validate the product in real-world scenarios. As a result, we want to encourage you to revert to a Vista image and upgrade or to do a clean install, rather than upgrade the existing Beta.  We know that means reinstalling, recustomizing, reconfiguring, and so on.  That is a real pain.  The reality is that upgrading from one pre-release build to another is not a scenario we want to focus on because it is not something real-world customers will experience. During development we introduce changes in the product (under the hood) that aren’t always compatible with what we call “build-to-build” upgrade.  The supported upgrade scenario is from Windows Vista to Windows 7. Before you go jump to the comment section, we want to say we are going to provide a mechanism for you to use if you absolutely require this upgrade.  As an extended member of the development team and a participant in the Beta program that has helped us so much, we want to ask that you experience real-world setup and provide us real-world telemetry.

Read the entire article here

I have decided to put together a little quick tutorial on how to prepare your system for the move from the BETA to the RC. Particularly, preparing your partition that you might have Windows 7 beta currently installed on. If you have a lot of data stored in Windows 7 build 7000, I recommend you do a Backup using the Back up tool included with Windows 7 Ultimate before formatting, this will allow you to do a restore at a later date. You can learn more in this introduction about Backup in Windows 7 I did a few months back here.

Like many persons who are testing Windows 7, I am sure we have it installed on another hard disk or logical partition. Preparing that volume is a simple process! Boot your computer in Windows Vista and lets begin.

1. Click Start > right click ‘Computer’ > click ‘Manage’. This will load the Computer Management MMC (Microsoft Management Console) snap-in.

2. In the left pane under ‘Computer Management (Local)’, expand ‘Storage’ and select ‘Disk Management’. Here you will see a collection of volumes, the amount will vary depending on how many you created, you might also see a volume created by the manufacturer of your computer. That volume will most likely have tools to reinstall the operating system and return it to its factory state. In my case, I have two partitions:

1. (C:)
2. WIN7 (G:)

I want to format the WIN7 partition, since I backed up any critical data I might have stored on it to the Vista (system drive) or moved data to an external drive, I am ready to format.


3. Select the logical partition on which Windows 7 is installed, right click the volume, on the contextual menu, click the ‘Format’, option. You will receive a Warning dialog, click OK to continue.

4. The next step is to select your file system option, in this case, go with the default which is NTFS.

5. The formatting process will now begin. The time it will take to format will vary depending on resources such as processor, memory and the size of the partition itself. My 50 GB partition on which I have Windows 7 installed, took approximately 35 minutes to complete.

6. Once complete, the drive will be displayed as a ‘Logical Drive’ in Disk Management.

Lets take it a step further. I would like to merge back that free space with my system drive, since I want to do an upgrade from Windows Vista SP1 to Windows 7 RC on this particular system instead of installing Windows 7 on a logical drive. Here is what you do.

1. Right click the ‘Logical Drive’ in Disk Management, on the contextual menu, click the ‘Delete Volume’ option. Click ‘Yes’ when the warning dialog appears.

2. The Volume you deleted will now appear as ‘Free space’, you will also notice that the disk icon no longer appears in the list of volumes.

3. Right click the Free space partition, and click Delete, click Yes on the Disk Management warning that appears.

4. The volume will now appear as Unallocated. (good stuff). Our next step is to merge back that unallocated free space with the system partition. Right click the System volume and click the ‘Extend Volume’ option on the contextual menu, click ‘Yes’ when the warning appears.

5. A wizard will now begin that will guide through the steps to merge back the unallocated space with your system partition.

Extending your volume wizard (click image to enlarge) 

The above wizard provides a simple procedure to merge back the unallocated space in second screenshot above with system drive. Once you have selected the space, click Next, at the end of the wizard, you will see the amount allocated.

The partition will now be displayed as a single drive.


Speaking of Recovery Tools – Windows Vista Backup Center
A Look at Windows Backup and Windows Update in 7
How to successfully burn or write an ISO-image to cd or dvd
Getting your PC ready for Windows 7 Release Candidate
Upgrading: Starting the Move to Windows 7 Release Candidate
Installation: Starting the Move to Windows 7 Release Candidate
Windows Easy Transfer: Starting the Move to Windows 7 Release Candidate
The Complete Guide On How To Install Windows 7 RC by AboKevin




Filed under 7 Journal

100 responses to “Getting your PC ready for Windows 7 Release Candidate

  1. Andre

    Thanks for that information Andrew, I am currently running the latest version of Acronis Disk Director and I understand its not compatible with either Windows 7 32 or 64 bit. I hope its compatible with the RC update when it becomes available.

  2. Richard

    Terrific article Andre – I hope a lot of people check out the RC when it hits the streets.

  3. Unknown

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