General Question


I currently have Windows Vista. I tried upgrading to Windows 7 with the software I purchased, but it won't let me. What could be the problem?

Asked by MRSHINYSHOES (13966points) November 16th, 2010

I ran the Windows 7 Upgrade Adviser, and it said everything is compatible——that I can upgrade to a 32-bit Windows 7 from my Windows Vista. But when I tried installing yesterday night, it said “could not upgrade” and that my old Windows Vista would be restored. Should I try installing again? Anyone else had this problem before?

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18 Answers

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@poisonedantidote I tried the 32-bit Windows 7 disc for installation. The Windows 7 Upgrade Adviser said my system is compatible and meets all the requirements, yet I still could not upgrade.

KatawaGrey's avatar

[mod says]: Okay folks, this is not a mac vs. pc debate. Please keep your responses on topic. Any further off-topic responses will be removed. Thank you.

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I was wondering if it was my firewall. I have Kaspersky firewall, and de-activated the Windows firewall, as I know one shouldn’t have 2 firewalls going on at the same time. Someone at work told me that shouldn’t be the problem, that it could have something to do with my computer hardware instead.

poisonedantidote's avatar

I doubt the fire wall would cause any problems, unless you have to download something. don’t you just have it all on a cd or dvd already? the more details you can add the better. What exactly is this software you purchased? is it a windows 7 installation disk?

My first original answer :

I have only installed windows 7 a couple of times, so i dont have that much experience with it yet, my guess so far with the information provided, would be that you are maybe trying to install a 64-bit operating system on a 32-bit machine

mrlaconic's avatar

You cant upgrade to all versions of win 7 even if update advisor says you can. You may have to migrate. I will look through my win 7 book when I get home to confirm


@poisonedantidote Yes, it’s the Windows 7 installation disk. ;)

@mrlaconic Migrate? What do you mean? On the package I purchased, it says on the box “This version of Windows 7 is designed as an upgrade for Windows Vista”.

I will try upgrading again. It seems to take a long time to do. Will let you guys know how it turns out.

poisonedantidote's avatar

How are you installing it? It sounds like you are trying to install it with windows vista still running.

You may not want to take the following advice just yet, but when i install an operating system, i always do so by, 1. setting the BIOS to boot from CD. 2. putting the CD in the machine 3. restarting the PC so it boots the setup. I never try to install one operating system with one running.

If it where me and my machine, that is what i would do next. but as i said, you may not want to take that advice just yet, as it’s coming from someone who has only installed windows 7 a couple of times. Im going to look some things up and ill get back to you if i can find answers.

jerv's avatar

Migrate – Replace Vista with Windows 7 without formatting your hard drive and wiping out your settings and documents. In non-computer terms, “migrating” like moving into a new house but taking all of your old furniture and appliances as well as your other personal effects (clothes, pics of the family, books…) with you instead of setting them on fire and starting over completely from scratch. The latter would be a “clean install”, though some refer to it as “The Nuclear Option”.

I will say that @poisonedantidote is correct; you should boot from the install disc. As long as Vista is running, you cannot replace it or most of its files, and if you are booting from your hard drive as you normally do, then you are running Vista and thus locking yourself out.


@jerv So how does one “migrate” and replace Vista with Windows 7 without formatting the hard drive? Is it a complicated or risky procedure?

poisonedantidote's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES I have never done a migration from vista to 7, all i have ever done is a clean install.

but, here: is a migration guide that may be of some help.

jerv's avatar

Migrate does not format the drive; that is the difference between migrating and a clean install.
You want to migrate; trust me ;)

They do everything they can to make it simple, as most PC owners are not very tech-savvy.
As for risk, I have never lost a file during migration yet, so I would say that migration is safe based on personal experience.


@jerv So how do you migrate? (Yes, I am not tech-savvy. Lol.) ;)

jerv's avatar

If you boot from the Windows 7 disc, it should have step-by-step instructions. If you come across anything that says something like, “This will format your hard drive…” then stop and back away.

Here are the official instructions from Microsoft.

One thing to note is that certain versions of Vista require certain versions of Win7 to be upgraded without a clean install:
Vista Home (Basic or Premium) —> Windows 7 Home Premium
Vista Business —> Windows 7 Home Professional
Vista Ultimate —> Windows 7 Ultimate

Under Win7, “Migrate” is now “Upgrade”. Choosing “Upgrade” may not be possible, but choosing “Custom” will nuke your files. For me, that isn’t much of an issue since I back my stuff up regularly, and with the relatively low cost of external hard drives with “one touch backup” software built-in, I am surprised that more people don’t.

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