Upgrade Performance, from Windows Vista to Windows 7

An interesting blog entry by Chris Hernandez who works in the Windows deployment team, I came across reading Computer World today talks about what users can expect upgrading from Windows Vista SP1 to Windows 7. What’s causing a lot of buzz is the mention of some upgrades taking up to 20 hours to complete. Yep, 20 hours! Now, don’t be astonished, because you have take into account some variables here such as your data set (personal data: music, pictures, videos, application library) and your system configuration.

One of the main goals with Windows 7 in general has been to be better than Vista. As part of the Windows Upgrade team we have tracked Windows 7 upgrade performance using Vista as our baseline comparison.

The upgrade performance tests used the metric of total upgrade time to gauge how Windows 7 upgrade performed against Vista upgrade. The tests were designed to measure total upgrade time simulating different user profiles (with different data set sizes, number of programs installed and settings) against different hardware profiles.

The goal was to determine whether an upgrade from Vista SP1 -> Windows 7 was within a 5% threshold faster than an upgrade from Vista SP1 -> Vista SP1. The reason we choose to use a Vista SP1 -> Vista SP1 upgrade instead of Windows XP -> Vista as our baseline was for the following:

  • Windows XP is a vastly different operating system compared to Vista and an upgrade from Windows XP -> Vista would not be a good comparison with Vista -> Windows 7
  • Windows XP did not support 64-bit upgrades and we wanted to track 64-bit upgrade performance as well as 32-bit upgrades for Windows 7
  • Vista SP1 -> Vista SP1 is a valid upgrade path that exercises all upgrade code (this upgrade is commonly used by Product Support Services for a repair scenario)

Read the entire article here

My upgrade experience from Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 64 bit to Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit, is in line with some of the results Chris produced. Considering that I have a large library of software installed (108 applications), in addition to a large data set that is around 60 GBs I wasn’t surprised by the 4 hours it took to upgrade to Windows 7. What surprised me most was how successful and smooth the procedure was, everything works except for VMWare and iTunes Bonjour (need to upgrade to version 9 to see if it has been fixed), I have also managed to work around some hardware compatibility issues by using Windows Virtual PC with XP Mode:

The Windows Team has made installing Windows a bit more informative, detailing the various steps of what happens during an upgrade. What’s also interesting is the ‘Copying Windows installation files to your computer (27 of 2772 MB copied) indication. Its the first time I am seeing this and I find it a welcome change that actually keeps the user in the know about what is going on. During the upgrade, which took several hours on my system (nearly 4 hours to be exact), you will see a lot of details about Files, Settings and Programs being transferred with numbers ranging in the hundreds of thousands. It might seem like the upgrade will take a very long time, but do not worry, Windows 7 will quickly jump over hundred’s of thousand files at various points during the install.

Upgrading is a complex and timely process. I do not recommend doing this in the middle of a project or on a week day. The weekend is recommended, you can also leave Windows 7 to handle the upgrade while you go take a walk, watch a movie or some other activity while the upgrade do its thing.

I concluded:

I have heard a lot about upgrading to newer versions of Windows and the potential for problems with persons most times recommending a clean install instead. Windows 7 is an exception in this case and I can see that the Windows Team has done some significant work to ensure that the transition from Windows Vista SP1 is a smooth one. Of course, there will always be potential hiccups, but with careful planning and a small amount of patience, upgrading to Windows 7 can be as smooth as its intended to be. I definitely give Windows 7 a thumbs up in this regard!

Users planning to upgrade from Windows Vista SP1 or later to Windows 7 can have a smooth experience by planning well.

  • If you are not sure an application or hardware device you are using now is compatible with Windows 7, check the software or hardware developers website for patches, updated drivers or to simply find out about Windows 7 support for the particular product. If you are unable to find information on the website, try contacting the developer by telephone. If you unable to get any information that way, its best you look into investing in a alternative solution from another vendor.
  • Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor – provided by Microsoft, the Upgrade Advisor can help you evaluate your systems configuration to find out what works and what does not if you decide to move to Windows 7. The utility also makes appropriate recommendations where editions of Windows 7 are concerned along with what you might need to upgrade.
  • Get Religion: Backup, Backup, Backup!

    I can’t say this enough, if it can go wrong, it will. Upgrading is a very complex process and there are often cases of failed upgrades from older versions of Windows. Causes can include, power outage during installation, hardware or application conflict. This is why you should “always back up”, it’s better to be inconvenienced than having to start all over from scratch.

  • If you are upgrading/clean install, disable any external or USB based devices you might have attached to the computer. Also, disable any Security software before launching setup and ensure that you meet the minimum system requirements for Windows 7.
    – 1 GHz processor (32-bit or 64-bit)
    – 1 GB of system memory (2 GBs for 64 bit)
    – 16 GBs of disk space – Windows 7 uses approximately 10.5 GBs of disk space.
    – DirectX 9 graphics with 128 MB of memory

Following these basic instructions can have a positive impact on your upgrade experience.

Resources:

Windows 7 Upgrade Performance
UPDATED: Upgrading: Starting the Move to Windows 7 RTM
My Software Library and Windows 7 – Compatibility Experiences
Upgrading to…ur Migrating to Windows 7 from Windows XP
Windows Easy Transfer: Starting the Move to Windows 7 Release Candidate

 

100 Comments

Filed under 7 Journal

100 responses to “Upgrade Performance, from Windows Vista to Windows 7

  1. Andre

    Not yet, when I get the RTM, but I don\’t expect any significant differences.

  2. Calvin

    Andre, I am currently running a dual boot of Win7RC and VistaSP1. Like the rest of the universe I\’m waiting for arrival of my official Win7 disk. Do you have any recomendations for the best intall? Is it best to delete everything, reformat the drive and install Win7 or Do an install of Win7 from within my current copy of Vista and then delete the content of the partition holding my existing Win7RC to recover drive space … or are there other better approaches to as not to waste disk space?

  3. Andre

    Some persons say the best install is always a clean install. I personally have seen significant improvements to upgrading from Windows Vista SP1 (or later) to Windows 7. It all depends on your current setup, if you want to reduce need to reinstall applications, restore data, reconfigure personal settings, then an upgrade is the best way to go. If you want to start from scratch, you do so just as a opportunity to maybe do some house cleaning and remove any old applications. Since you are not going to be using the Windows 7 RC when you receive your RTM copy of Windows 7, you can delete that partition after upgrading your installation of Windows Vista. In Windows 7, click Start > right click Computer > Manage > Disk Management > select the partition, delete it and merge it back with the Windows 7 RTM drive.

  4. Calvin

    Perfect. That is just the suggestion I was looking for. Upgrade it is then. Thanks Andre!

  5. Andre

    You are welcome Calvin!

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