My Windows 7 Upgrade Experience

Completely out of context for this blog, but I thought it worth a mention. I’ve been running Windows 7 for about 7-months as my main OS with Outlook 2007 for work and personal email, and Chrome as my primary browser.

Dell IT required us all to upgrade to the WIN 7 RTM by Sept. 11th for a number reasons. I’ve was out on vacation last week through Tuesday and when I got in the office yesterday I was ready to go with the upgrade.

I have to say it went really smoothly. Before starting the RTM upgrade , I did an image backup of my whole Dell Latitude 160Gb hard drive, I also did a User State Migration tool (USMT) backup, both to an external hard drive.

I then started the upgrade, it formatted the hard drive, installed with one mid-install reboot and then it was pretty much done. After that, I ran USMT to re-apply my customization and it did a pretty faithful update, producing a report on the programs and settings that needed some attention. This report, the “Windows Easy Transfer Report”, listed everything that WAS transferred including account, documents, programs and settings and system settings. The report also contained a list of programs installed prior to the migration, and their status afterwards.

Overall the process was pretty faultless and all my data preserved. I had to re-install Chrome, amongst a few other programs. However, all its settings, bookmarks etc. were preserved and restored. While I don’t run a heavily modded system, I do run a highly customized on.

Of course, I can’t say what it would be like upgrading from say Windows XP to Windows 7 RTM since I stopped using XP completely when I first installed Windows 7. Interestingly, I’ve still got a few programs I wrote for Windows 3 back in the early 1990’s. These all still run perfectly without recompilation. Admittedly they are fairly lightweight but it’s pretty good they still run. One really old school program that I’m delighted still runs on Windows 7, ZDNets Password Pro 32, which is from 1998.

One of the cool new tricks in Windows 7, is when you take a full Image backup, you can later mount the VHD file created as a drive letter, enabling the simply copying of files and directories from your backup.

Good luck if you are upgrading, hopefully it will go as simply as mine!

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About & Contact

I'm Mark Cathcart, formally a Senior Distinguished Engineer, in Dells Software Group; before that Director of Systems Engineering in the Enterprise Solutions Group at Dell. Prior to that, I was IBM Distinguished Engineer and member of the IBM Academy of Technology. I'm an information technology optimist.


I was a member of the Linux Foundation Core Infrastructure Initiative Steering committee. Read more about it here.

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