How to Upgrade Windows XP to Windows Vista

 
You’ve determined that your computer’s hardware & software is ready for Windows Vista, and now you’re going to upgrade your existing Windows XP software.
While I still prefer everyone install Windows Vista on a "clean" hard drive — here are some guidelines for upgrading Windows XP to Windows Vista.  WARNING: "You cannot use an upgrade key to perform a clean installation of Windows Vista"
 
UPDATE: ExtremeTech evaluated Vista’s performance between an Upgrade Vs. Clean Installation and found no differences! 
 
WHICH WINDOWS VISTA UPGRADES CAN YOU PURCHASE? Only certain Windows XP versions can be upgraded to specific Windows Vista versions:
  • Windows XP Home can upgrade to:

Windows Vista Home Basic
Windows Vista Home Premium
Windows Vista Business
Windows Vista Ultimate

  • Windows XP Media Center Edition can upgrade to:
Windows Vista Home Premium
Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows XP Professional & Windows Tablet PC Edition can upgrade to:
Windows Vista Business
Windows Vista Ultimate
More secure than Windows XP (integrated Windows Defender, Firewall)
Integrated (protected) Internet Explorer 7
Built-in Instant Search.
  • Windows Vista Home Premium – same as Windows Vista Home Basic plus:
Windows Media Center
Tablet PC Support
Aero Desktop Theme and Windows Meeting Space,
  • Windows Vista Business – same as Windows Vista Home Basic plus:
Tablet PC support
Aero Desktop Theme
Windows Meeting Space
Business Backup & Networking
  • Windows Vista Ultimate – same as Windows Vista Home Basic plus:
Windows Media Center
Tablet PC Support
Aero Desktop Theme
Windows Meeting Space
Business Backup & Networking
BitLocker Drive Encryption
Future Goodies
 
REMOVE SPYWARE & VIRUS INFECTIONS: I’ve spent the last few years removing spyware from most Windows XP computers — so there’s a great probability there is "some" spyware on your computer. You don’t want to upgrade an infected computer! 
HOW TO REMOVE SPYWARE: To ensure there’s NO spyware, use one (or all three) of these spyware removal programs.
  1. Launch program and check for (& install) updates
  2. Select “Advanced Mode” from the “Mode” pull-down menu
  3. Click on the “Tools” button on the side toolbar
  4. Select ALL Tools except for the “Bug Report” (only needed when troubleshooting the SpyBot program)
  5. Click on the “Settings” button on the side toolbar
  6. Click on “Ignore Products”
  7. Select “All Products” – then right-mouse click on the list and “Deselect All” items
  8. (Re)immunize to include the newly included “All Products”
  9. Click on “Check for problems”
  1. Launch program and check for (& install) updates [click on "Check for updates now" — click "Connect" to continue, then "Finish"]
  2. Click "Start" to begin scanning.
  3. The first time requires that we configure the settings — click on “Customize" (Change all items that are RED "X" (not grey) to GREEN "Check") — Select ALL local hard drives.
  4. Click "Customize" to select this type of scanning
  5. Click "Next" to begin scanning.
  1. Launch program and check for (& install) updates [from the "Help?" pull-down menu select "Check for Updates"
  2. Click "Scan Now" to begin scanning.
  3. Uninstall Windows Defender from the Control Panel’s Add Remove Programs. (Real-time antispyware software needs to be removed prior to the upgrade.)
 
REMOVE VIRUSES — To ensure there’s NO viruses, update and scan your computer – then uninstall your AntiVirus software. (Real-time antivirus software needs to be removed prior to the upgrade.)
 
BACKUP YOUR DATA: While the Windows Vista upgrade "should" go fine — let’s be cautious and protect your data.
  • RESTORE: You’ll need to download Windows Vista Restore program. (Let’s hope you don’t need this program).
 
REMOVE ANY PROGRAMS YOU CAN: Uninstall all programs identified as not compatible with Windows Vista, programs never used, and utilities specific to Windows XP (i.e drive defrag, XP tweaks, CD/DVD Burning).
 
REMOVE ANY INCOMPATIBLE DRIVERS: Uninstall all drivers identified as not compatible with Windows Vista. Once removed you WILL receive "driver not found" errors while Windows XP is still running (ignore).
 
Uninstall (if installed) Windows Media Connect 1.0: from the Control Panel’s "Add Remove Programs" (it’s built into Vista’s Windows Media Player 11)
 
Uninstall (if installed) Sonic DLA from the from the Control Panel’s "Add Remove Programs"
 
REMOVE 3RD-PARTY FIREWALL SOFTWARE: Uninstall any 3rd-party firewall software (i.e. Zone Alarm, Black Ice) NOTE: Windows Vista has a built-in firewall.
 
CLEAN-UP YOUR HARD DRIVE: Run Windows XP’s Disk Cleanup to remove unnecessary temp files.
 
REPAIR YOUR HARD DRIVE: Run Windows XP CheckDsk to repair and fix and errors that could give us problems. (Select both checkboxes and reboot computer)
 
CONVERT HARD DRIVE TO NTFS: Ensure that your hard drive is formatted using NTFS and not the older FAT32.
 
 
 
 
COMPLETE ALL CRITICAL UPDATES: You must have all current Windows & Office Updates.
 

 
NOW YOU CAN FINALLY UPGRADE TO WINDOWS VISTA . . . When Windows XP reboots, insert your Windows Vista Upgrade DVD and click "Install Now"
Follow the onscreen instructions, allowing the setup program to update any new components — continue following the remaining onscreen directions.
NOTE: If you receive compatibility warnings notifying you of incompatible software or hardware device drivers — you didn’t follow this articles opening advice. Either resolve these problems now, or go ahead with the installation and try to get the updates when you’re finished.
After entering your Windows Vista serial number, answering many questions, and a few reboots you’ll eventually get to the Windows Vista Welcome Screen! — Congratulations!
 
NEW DRIVERS & UPDATES: Remember the drivers & software you prevoiusly uninstalled? Now, visit all those manufacturers’ websites to download & install their updated Windows Vista software.
 
 
IMPORTANT ANTIVIRUS NOTE: Upon completing the Windows Vista update, remember to update all Windows Vista components (if any) and install an updated (Windows Vista compatible) AntiVirus software! (Free Windows Vista trials versions available – or free versions from Avast! or AVG)

About blakehandler

BLAKE was a Microsoft MVP and award winning programmer with over 20+ years experience providing complete Windows and networking support for small to medium sized businesses. BLAKE is also Jazz Musician and Instructor for residential clients on the Los Angeles West Side.
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3 Responses to How to Upgrade Windows XP to Windows Vista

  1. Scott says:

    I can seem to find the answer to this…Can I purchase a Vista Upgrade DVD, boot from it and use it to create a fresh install of the OS?In
    the past this was possible with previous versions of Windows as the
    install would just ask you to put in your valid cd from the previous
    version. It does not appear to be clear to me that this will work with
    Vista.

  2. Scott says:

    Thanks Blake. I’ve been asking around and received the answer earlier today as well. I’ve posted it to my vista blog.It appears arsechnica ran an article just yesterday covering this.

  3. LESADMICK says:

    This article is great, tells you everything you need 2 know with some brilliant recomendations, I would also like to point out that if you are a student – primary, secondary or higher – you can get vista ultimate for under £60 at RM Basement (www.rm.com/thebasement). This includes if your kids are in education as well as the sofware is for students and their parents! Highly reccomend the AVG 8 edition.

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