Please note this piece is geared toward the accidental techie who is comfortable installing software and who has only a handful of computers (fewer than 10) to upgrade. Those looking for tips on virtualized environments, unattended installs, or network-wide mass deployment can find support on Microsoft TechNet's Windows 7 Technical Library Roadmap or through search engine queries, Technorati, or Delicious.
The basic healthy and secure computing steps provided here will help ensure a smooth upgrade.
There are various ways to obtain Windows 7 software:
Now that you are prepared for a smooth upgrade, it's time to proceed with the installation. As mentioned in part one of this series, you will perform an in-place install if you are upgrading from Vista of the same instruction set (that is to say, 32-bit to 32-bit, 64-bit to 64-bit), and a custom install for all other upgrade paths:
In either case, if you have multiple hard disks or partitions, be sure you select the correct drive and partition when installing.
When you are finished installing, you will be prompted to enter your activation key. Once you are done activating, you are almost ready to use Windows 7. After a custom install, you will still need to reinstall your data and your programs. You should reinstall your programs first. Then you can use the Easy Transfer Wizard to restore your data files and user settings. If you performed an in-place upgrade, just confirm your data is still intact; this is where that data inventory you did earlier comes in handy.
Congratulations — you are now ready to explore your new operating system!
Image: 7 Steps, Shutterstock
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