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Can I do an In-Place upgrade from Windows 7 Release Candidate To Release Code??

Can I do an In-Place upgrade from Windows 7 Release Candidate To Release Code??

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I’ve been getting numerous emails from people asking if it is possible to do an in-place upgrade from Windows 7 Release Candidate to the Final Release Code (when it becomes available).

Of course, my first response is “Why would you even want to do such a thing??!!?!?”.

Let’s take a step back and think about this scenario and why it is really not a good idea.

Beta products are likely to have lots of bugs in them (hence why it is still beta) that have not been found and fixed.  There is also a lot of extra debug code included so that the programmers can find these bugs and fix them.  Beta products are also not supported in production by the company that creates it since it is not a released product yet.  I don’t know of a company that is willing to bet their business by running their production systems with Beta code.

When we (Microsoft) made the first public beta of Windows 7 available to the general public, we did make it quite clear at that time that you could not go directly from Beta Code to Release (Final) Code.  The Beta was to be installed onto a test machine and NOT onto a production machine since it is beta code.  The intent at that time was to get feedback on bugs and issues with the product.  When we came out with the Release Candidate (Still Beta Code), we also stated at that time that you could not go from Beta directly to RC, but had to wipe and reload.  Yes, I know there were folks who figured out a way around that and did an in-place upgrade from Beta to RC, but then again, some of those same folks experienced issues that were a “side effect” of doing that.  Either way, RC is still Beta (as I mentioned before) and we did state that we do not support going from Beta to Final Code.  Even though I cannot find any “official” statement on our website that specifically states you cannot go directly from RC to Final Code, suffice it to say that this is not something you would want to do.

Before you point out that Microsoft uses Beta Code in Production, I want to clarify a few things.  First, we do use our beta products in “semi” production to do the best job we can in testing out products before they ship.  This is what we refer to as “Dogfooding”, but we do NOT deploy our entire production environment on beta code, only a small portion.  There are quite a few employees at Microsoft who are using Windows 7 Release Candidate on their production system (like me).  Please note that our IT Department can support this in production because they have direct access to the Product Group should a major issue arise.  This is once again somewhat of a “dogfood” environment so that we can test out our products as best as we can in a production environment prior to shipping.  This does not mean that other companies should go and do this as well.

I also happen to be “old school” and do NOT believe in in-place upgrades.  I ALWAYS wipe and reload from one OS to another and definitely from beta to release.  I have been at Microsoft for just under 10 years and have spent many a cycle rebuilding my production machine because I was testing different builds of Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 when it was in Beta.  Needless to say, I ALWAYS flattened my machine and started from scratch once the product released because I did not want any possibility of having “left over” code from beta on my machine by attempting to do an in-place upgrade from beta to release.

To conclude this long winded post, my answer to the initial question is: NO!!!!

Harold Wong

  • Hi Harold,

    How do you feel about using Windows Easy Transfer to get your personal settings from RC to RTM after doing a from-scratch install?

    I did this between Beta and RC with good results.




  • I purchased the upgrade ($49!) to Win7. Does this mean I will have to wipe Win7RC, install vista or XP and then upgrade to Win7?   Thanks.

  • Wow, must be nice to have enough free time to ALWAYS wipe your drive and reinstall everything. Some of us work 15+ hour days and don't have the luxury to "wipe and reinstall" tens or hundreds of gigs of installed applications ON TOP of the OS.

  • Wow Jeff, must be nice to have your sense of entitlement and self importance. Some of us work 15+ hour days and know better than to install beta software on such an obviously mission critical system. Sheesh.

  • Ok, I'll do my best to address all the comments to date.

    1. Joel: I am very happy with the Windows Easy Transfer Tool.  This works great for the home or one off computer.  I used this tool to move stuff from Windows Vista to Windows 7 Beta as well as from Windows 7 Beta to Windows 7 RC.  I used my USB Hard Drive as the storage location.

    2. Todd: If you purchased the Windows 7 Upgrade, you only need the original media (CD / DVD) of Windows XP or Windows Vista.  The Upgrade media will ask you to insert the media from XP or Vista so it can perform a check of the physical media before proceeding.  Of course, if you already have Windows Vista installed on the machine, it will just allow you to perform an in-place upgrade.

    3. Jeff: I guess I should have been a bit more clear on my stance and situation.  For my personal computers at home, I NEVER do in-place upgrades.  I always transfer the data off and wipe and reload.  When testing beta Operating Systems, I absolutely NEVER attempt an in-place upgrade to final code.  This is true for home and business.  In a business environment, there are a lot more things that need to be considered.  If the user desktops are not well controlled and users can install whatever they want, then in-place upgrades are usually not a good option for me because there's too great of a chance that the user has "messed up" enough items that it is probably time to do a clean up anyways.  If the environment is large enough, I would have created images to deploy to desktops.  In this case, I would still not do upgrades as I would create new images and deploy using those.

    4.  Chris: I agree with you in that I would never install beta software on mission critical systems.  I use beta to test functionality and capabilities.

    Harold Wong

  • I am not an IT pro, but a very experienced home and business user.  I will not be upgrading my work computers, but replacing them instead as they are now about 4-5 years old.  My question is in regard to my son's home computer- a hand-me-down that had XP on it originally, but I replaced that with W7 RC.  This machine did not come with a disk and had the "restore" on a hard drive that failed.  I did make a recovery disk of XP, but chose to try the new OS since I had to reinstall everything anyway.  Now I understand that I will have to start from scratch again- and that the upgrade version that I have already purchased will require the disk for the OS being upgraded.  Will the recovery disk that I created work for this purpose?

  • Sue,

    From what I understand, the Upgrade check will require the OS Installation media - the Recovery Disk will not work.

    I'm sure if you are enterprising enough to do searches on the Internet, you can find some interesting workarounds to get Windows Vista Upgrade installed without the original media.  Who knows if this will work for Windows 7.

    Harold Wong

  • OK- I understand what you are saying *g*.  I did install a Vista upgrade on a newly built machine- I guess I will try that method again when I receive the pre-ordered W7.


  • Harold,

     Thanks for the information.  My question is (and I've been searching but found no answer): When our Pre-Ordered Win 7 comes in, will it include both 32 and 64 bit versions because there was not an option to select the version we would like?

     When you buy a computer these days it seems like they are coming with 4 GB of RAM and Vista 64 is installed.  I'm hoping both versions are included on the DVD media.



  • I need some clarity.

    I have Vista on my C drive and 7RC on a separate partition and dual boot. I almost always use 7 and have all the same programs

    installed as in vista.

    When I install the Official 7 on to the partition where i have 7RC now, will I be able to 'copy or transfer' my programs to it [from Vista] without having to re-install them all?

    Have I misread your reply to others?

  • While I agree starting from a formatted drive is best, I hate to have to do it since W7RC is running so good on my computer.  I have installed and am using all of my software without any problems!  I am still using a single core processor on a four year  old machine.  All the drivers loaded on with the original installation, too.  This was the easiest OS intalllation I have ever done.  Can hardly wait for RTM.

  • Harold -

    You stated "If you purchased the Windows 7 Upgrade, you only need the original media (CD / DVD) of Windows XP or Windows Vista.  The Upgrade media will ask you to insert the media from XP or Vista so it can perform a check of the physical media before proceeding."

    Is your statement factual? If it is, it is unlike installing a Windows Vista Upgrade license as Vista actually requires a qualifying Windows O/S to be installed, such as Windows XP, and begin the upgrade from the desktop. Has this changed with Windows 7 Upgrade?  Please clarify!  Thank you!

  • Harold -

    I have Build 7100 installed.  If I download the latest can I use my existing Product Key for the build 7100 or do I need need a new key?

    Are the latest downloads greater than 7100?


  • I think the original question was "Can I just upgrade from the Windows rc7 to the "new" Windows 7 once it is released. I, like jeff, think it is great that you chose to reformat your drive, wipeout everything that you have and start all over again, just so everything will be as Microsoft intended. What about us that have been the testers for the "last" year? Do I lose everything I have and have to start all over again? Can I not save the files and folders and settings and programs that I have installed and Verified that they work for your new OS?

    I would like to think that even if I did Buy Windows 7, I could at least keep what I had and do an Upgrade, rather than wiping everything out and having to start all over AGAIN. (That's what I hate about everytime Windows does an upgrade. Now it's up to ME to find my drivers, reinstall my programs, redo my settings, etc....)

  • Like many others, I performed a clean install of the release candidate after I backed up my files from a Vista pc to an external hd. That was more than 30 days ago.

    If I was to attempt to reinstall Vista from the reinstallation disc from the OEM [Dell] how the heck am I supposed to have foreknowledge that I'll be able to reactivate the Vista product key and have the system ready for 10.23.2009?

    If said Vista reinstall does not permit activation and myself and others in similar circumstances are unable to upgrade from the RC to the Final Release Code version by performing a clean 'custom' install, just what are our options, short of spending even more cash on a fresh copy of Windows 7???? Needless to say, that is something many of us will be loathe to do given the current OS market.

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