General discussion

Upgrading from Vista Home Premium to Win7 Home Premium

My Dell laptop is only 18 months old, but my Windows Vista SP1 is becoming unstable and I can install anymore updates (like SP2 or .net Framework 3.5, etc). With all the trouble I'm having with Vista will I just be "doubling-up" my troubles if I try to upgrade to Windows 7??

I would be going from a 32-bit to a 32-bit, so it would be just a straight upgrade, right? So doesn't that replace/wipe out the Vista system that is now acting up?

Details of my laptop are: Intel Core 2 Duo T5750, 2.0 GHz, 667 Mhz, 2M L2 cache 3GB, DDR2, 667Mhz 2 Dimm, plenty of hard drive space left.

Please advise.

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Yes, you would simply be compounding your issues if you were to try installing 7 over an ailing Vista. Either clean up Vista first or do a clean install of 7.

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Upgrade or Custom Install

Hi Maggi,

When moving from Vista to Windows 7, you can choose to do either an upgrade or a custom installation. If you choose to upgrade your files, settings, and programs from Windows Vista will stay in place. If you choose to do a custom installation, you will need to back up your PC as your data will be wiped. It sounds like you might want to start fresh, so I agree with Jimmy and recommend the custom install.


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Upgrade Advisor...

It is also a good to run the Upgrade Advisor before moving to Windows 7. Since you are running Vista, you should be able to upgrade with no problem, but it is still a good idea to let the Upgrade Advisor scan your PC for potential issues with your hardware, devices, and programs.

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Upgrade Advisor

I did download and attempt to run the Windows 7 upgrade advisor and it failed . . . since I'm no computer guru (I know how to tweak basic stuff) it terrifies me to have to wipe my hard drive, reinstall everything and find out it's going to go bad all over again . . . does that happen? Could it actually be one program that is affecting everything? I'm suspicious of Registry Mechanic - it is constantly telling me it has made changes/repairs that last few months.

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That'll do it

That'll do it. Registry programs are the bane of people like me, because they frequently cause more problems than they ever solve, yet trying to convince people of that is quite the uphill battle. It may not be your only problem, but it's certainly one of them. At this point, it may well have caused irreparable damage to the OS, and a clean install would be your only option anyway.

Keeping a system running smoothly is not that difficult really. Probably 75% of it is just careful program selection. Avoiding high risk programs like Internet Explorer and any registry program, will do absolute wonders. Here's my list of suggestions. You really only need to pay attention to the do and don't sections, the rest are just supplemental. I use them myself, and regularly go months at a time without issue. Then I get bored and break something just so I can fix it. But following my suggestions should allow you to continue on indefinitely.


The more of these suggestions you follow, the fewer problems you should have. They won't solve any existing problems you have, but if you follow them all you should be able to avoid virtually all problems in the future.

Things you should NOT do
1: Use Internet Explorer (1)
2: Use any browser based on Internet Explorer (e.g. Maxathon and MSN Explorer)
3: Use Outlook or Outlook Express (2)
4: Open email attachments you haven't manually scanned with your virus scanner
5: Open email attachments you were not expecting, no matter who they appear to be from
6: Respond to spam messages, including using unsubscribe links
7: Visit questionable websites (e.g. porn, warez, hacking)
8: Poke unnecessary holes in your firewall by clicking "Allow" every time some program requests access to the Internet (3)
9: Click directly on links in email messages
10: Use file sharing or P2P programs
11: Use pirated programs

Things you SHOULD do
1: Use a non-IE or IE based browser (4)
2: Always have an up to date virus scanner running (5)
3: Always have a firewall running (6)
4: Install all the latest security updates (7)(Cool(9)
5: Delete all unsolicited emails containing attachments without reading
6: Manually scan all email attachments with your virus scanner, regardless of whether it's supposed to be done automatically
7: Copy and paste URLs from email messages into your web browser
8: Inspect links copied and pasted into your web browser to ensure they don't seem to contain a second/different address
9: Establish a regular backup regimen (10)(11)
10: Make regular checks of your backup media to ensure it is still good (12)

Being a considerate Internet user & other online tips
1: Do not send attachments in emails (13)(14)
2: Do not use stationary or any other kind of special formatting in emails (13)
3: Do not TYPE IN ALL CAPS (15)
4: Avoid texting speak or "l33t speak" (16)
5: Do not poke sleeping bears (17)
6: Do not use registry cleaners/fixers/optimizers (1Cool(19)

Offline tips and suggestions
1: Avoid buying Acer, HP. Compaq, Gateway, and eMachines computers (20)(21)(22)(23)
2: Avoid sub-$500 systems that aren't netbooks or part of some limited time price promotion (24)


(1) Sadly sometimes this is unavoidable, so only use IE when the site absolutely will not work with any other browser and you cannot get that information/service anywhere else, and only use IE for that one specific site.
(2) Outlook and Outlook Express are very insecure, and basically invite spam. The jury is still out on Vista's Windows Mail, but given Microsoft's history with email programs, extreme caution is advised. Possible replacements include Mozilla Thunderbird, Eudora, The Bat, and dozens of others.
(3) When it doubt over whether or not to allow some program, use Google to find out what it is and whether or not it needs access to the Internet. Otherwise, denying access is the safest course of action, since you can always change the rule later.
(4) On Windows your options include: Mozilla Firefox, Seamonkey, Opera, Flock, Chrome, and Safari. I would personally recommend Firefox with the NoScript extension for added security, but it the important thing is to pick one and use it instead of IE.
(5) AVG Free and Avast are available if you need a decent free virus scanner
(6) XP/Vista's firewall is probably good enough for 99% of all Windows users, but other options include ZoneAlarm, Outpost Firewall, and Comodo. If you have a router with a firewall built into it, there is no need for any of the aforementioned firewalls to be running.
(7) Microsoft's usual system is to release security updates every second Tuesday of the month.
(Cool Use of Windows Update on Windows operating systems prior to Windows Vista requires Internet Explorer, and is thus a valid exception to the "No IE" rule.
(9) Service packs should ALWAYS be installed. They frequently contain security updates that will ONLY be found in that service pack.
(10) You can go with a full fledged backup program, or simply copying important files onto a CD/DVD/Flash drive.
(11) I'd recommend a tiered backup system. For example, you might have 5 rewritable DVDs, and every day you burn your backup onto a new disc. On the 6th day, you erase the disc for Day #1 for your backup, and so on so that you have multiple backups should one disc ever go bad.
(12) Replace rewritable CDs and DVDs approximately every 3-6 months.
(13) These dramatically increase the size of email messages (2-3X minimum) and clog up email servers already straining to cope with the flood of spam pouring in daily.
(14) If you want to share photos with friends/family, upload them to some photo sharing site like Flickr or Google's Picasa Web and then send people a link to that particular photo gallery.
(15) This is considered to be the same as SHOUTING and many people find it to be hard to read along with highly annoying.
(16) Unless the goal is to make yourself look like a pre-adolescent girl, or someone overcompensating for their gross inadequacies, and you don't want people to take you seriously.
(17) Most REAL hackers are quite content to leave you alone unless you make them take notice of you. No dinky little software firewall or consumer grade router is going to keep them out of your system. So do not go to some hacker website or chat room and start shooting your mouth off unless you're prepared to accept the consequences
(1Cool Most of these programs are scams, and sell you something you don't need. Most of them report non-issues in an attempt to boost the number of "issues". Sometimes using these programs can lead to a non-functioning computer.
(19) The Windows registry is not some mystical black box of untapped performance tweaks for Windows, that will lead to untold improvements in system performance. Most of the tweaks will lead to very modest performance gains of 1-2% tops, and probably less than 10% all combined. There is also a good chance that you will render your system unbootable if you make a mistake when editing. Registry default settings are set that way for a reason. Just do yourself a favor, and forget you ever heard of the Windows registry unless you are a computer programmer/debugger and your job requires knowledge of the registry.
(20) Acer now owns Gateway and eMachines
(21) HP owns Compaq
(22) Hardware failures seem far more common with these brands than can be considered normal
(23) These companies use cheap labor in Asian countries were working conditions are often what would be considered sweat shops, and are run by brutal dictatorships, which you are supporting by buying from these companies
(24) If you just do some simple math, and realize that the cost of individual components like the CPU are around 25-33% of the total retail cost of the system, and everyone involved in the making and selling of the system is looking to make a profit, how much money can they possibly be making on each system. And if you're only making a few pennies on every system, how much quality control do you really think is going to go into the manufacturing process?

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That'll do it!!

Thank you so much . . . you know, there's only one thing on your "Don't" list that I do and that's use IE . . . .well, that and get suckered into that damn Registry Mechanic. I'm pretty careful otherwise.

I've been doing research on other laptops - I'm almost leaning toward getting a new one with Windows 7 (supposed to be more stable than Vista). I've been researching Toshiba satellite models. I may just do that & be able to sleep better at night. The only thing that makes my Dell special is the pretty purple color !! lol

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If you have money to blow ...

... go ahead and buy a new one; in another 18 months? time, it is likely to look like your current machine. Surely a blessing to hardware manufacturers, when even the cheapest product should last some three years. There is nothing wrong with Dell (or HP for that matter, just as with any other well-established brand); there is nothing wrong with Vista; now, what does that leave us with ... you in the hot seat, perhaps? What is it exactly that you have been doing with/to your computer? What have you been clicking on and/or let through unawares? IE nowadays is generally not the culprit as long as you set it right. As for Registry Mechanic, it is not highly rated by its users here, getting 3 out of 5 (would be good to look up some reviews before downloading, would it not?). On most computers, any arising problems are behavioural, so it might be advisable to stop for a while and reconsider how you in fact treat your gear. But once again, if you have money to blow ...

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To Jimmy

I read elsewhere that one should not use McAfee or Norton internet security suites . . . .that they should be uninstalled from new systems and another option used. What do you know about Avast Security Suite?

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I dislike suites

I dislike suites, because they tend to share code. Normally shared code is a good thing, but not with security products. Shared code means there's a higher chance that a single bug can take down all programs using that code.

It's a bit of a pain, but having security programs from different vendors reduces the odds that if one is compromised, the others will be as well.

YOU are the first and last line of defense on your computer. You can argue all day long about how unfair it is, and why aren't there programs that can handle this for you; and I'd agree with you, but I'd also say it doesn't change the way things are. Security programs are just there to help back you up, not do your job for you. If you follow my list of dos and don'ts, you should be able to get by just fine with a free AV program and the Windows firewall. IMO, aside from the common code threat, suites are for the lazy who are more interested in the illusion of safety than actual safety. People who don't want to take any responsibility for the security of their system, and are willing to get scammed in exchange for the illusion of security.

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Win 7 Upgrade

I would first try the in-place upgrade, as it is much easier. First, though, you should do as much cleaning up of Vista as you can: anti-virus and spyware scans, removing old unused programs, cleaning up the registry and cleaning out old files. Make sure to back up all data you do not want to lose in case something happens.

With the in-place upgrade, all your programs and data will remain. You will probably need to upgrade some programs to Windows 7 compatible versions.

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windows 7 is way better than vista

if you are thinking of upgrading from windows vista to windows 7, then lemme tell you that the decision you \re tking is absolutely right. windows 7 has many cool features , is more user friendly and lighter than windows vista which makes you a complete handicap regarding many installations. best is to remove the vista first and install a fresh copy of windows 7.

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YES more headaches

even though Microsoft does sell an upgrade version of just about everything they make they also recommend STRONGLY that you are much better off doing a completely FRESH install NOT from an upgrade cd. there are a few advantages of this as well like not having to load vista then converting everything. you have a full windows 7 cd in the need should you need it again.

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Uprading from Vista Premium to Windows 7

I have done it twice on two HP Pavilion 9000 laptops. Best to do a clean boot, meaning go buy Drivewasher and scrub your HD. Windows 7 will load right in with no trouble. It even reaches out and installs the latest drivers for whatever you have hooked up, so leave everything hooked up. On the second HP I left Vista on and it did take Windows 7, but I had to re-start 4 times because the installation hung up. I finally left it in "hang up" and went to bed and when I woke up in the morning, Windows 7 was installed! Go figure.

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