Thursday, February 01, 2007

Windows Vista: Upgrading to Vista

If you decided its time to upgrade your old computer to Windows Vista, then I am going to tell you the best way to complete this install. Although, I have to warn you that is not the easiest method to accomplish this upgrade, but in the long run you should have fewer problems and your system should even run faster (initially).

Pre-Installation Checklist:
  • Make sure your system can handle the hardware requirements of Windows Vista.
  • Download and run the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor, this might identify known problems with your hardware or software.
  • Make sure that you have Vista compatible versions of your applications and their associated license keys (if required). You also want to make sure that you have a Vista compatible version of your anti-virus software.
  • Windows Vista comes pack full of drivers for older peripherals. If you have system with newer hardware visit the manufacturer's web site and download the latest drivers for your hardware that is Vista compatible.
  • Visit your motherboard and graphics card manufacturer's web site and search for firmware update for this hardware.
  • Backup all your data, and anything else that you know you will need. Also be aware applications like Firefox and Outlook don't store their data files in the 'My Document' subdirectory.
    • Microsoft has created the 'Windows Easy Transfer' wizard that can all your files and settings to an extra hard drive (or other storage device). Then after you finish installing Windows Vista, you run the 'Windows Easy Transfer' wizard again to reload your files and settings on the upgraded PC. Go here to download versions of this software for Windows XP and 2000.
Installing Windows Vista
  • Before you start you make sure that you have the Windows Vista installation media and product key for the version of Vista that you're going to install.
  • The best type of installation you can do of any operating system is to perform what is called a 'clean install'. This type of install requires you to format your computer's hard drive, and then put a fresh copy of the OS on it.
    • Warning: Formating your computer hard drive will destroy all your data to make sure that you have a good backup of your data before performing this operation.
  • After you finish the install make sure that you run the 'Window Update' application and download all the latest updates and drivers for your computer.
  • Open the System control panel from the Control Panel folder, then click the link for the Device Manager in the upper left corner. Check if the Device Manager is having problems identifying any of your hardware.
  • Install your applications, and copy your data back to the computer and organize it as appropriate. There are certain advantages to putting your pictures in the Picture folder, video into the Video folder, etc.
    • The first thing that you will notice is that these folders have new locations under your User directory, and not under the 'My Documents' folder like they were in Windows XP.

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