What Should I Do About Windows Vista?
The "I Really Don't Want to Upgrade"
Computer User's Guide to Windows Vista Decisions

Clean Install or "In Place" Install?
What are My Installation Choices?
copyright 2006 by Tracy Marks

Windows Vista Decisionmaking: Introduction
Why Should I Upgrade to Windows Vista?
Why Should I NOT Upgrade?
What are Vista's Hardware Requirements?
What Version of Vista and at What Price?
What are my Installation Choices?

What are my Installation Choices?
continued from page five

The Big Time and Hassle Question: Must I do a clean install or can I do an "in place" install and not have to re-install everything?

Windows Vista is easy to install, and can be installed on most computers in less than 30 minutes. However, if you do a clean install – which you may have to do – you will need to back up and later reinstall all your files. You will also need to reinstall all your programs, which can take several hours or several days or several years depending upon your own computer setup and computer use.

Microsoft recommends a clean install, and indeed requires a clean install in many instances. IF you are upgrading from Windows 2000 or XP Professional 64, you MUST do a clean install.

If you are upgrading from Windows XP Home edition, you may do an “in-place” installation, and will not have to reinstall your programs.

If you are upgrading from Windows XP Media Center to the business edition, you MUST do a clean install. An upgrade from Windows XP Media Center to the Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate can be done “in place”.

An upgrade from Windows XP Professional to Vista Home Premium requires a clean install. However you can do an “in place” install from XP professional to Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate.

Other options are indicated on Microsoft's Windows Vista site.

If you don't know what version of Windows XP you have, check your Windows XP disk, or the Help Menu of My Computer.

 A final and recommended option is a dual-boot. For a dual boot, which enables you to boot into either Windows XP or Windows Vista,  you must have a second empty hard drive or an empty partition on your hard drive. 


Have you made your decision? Are you going to purchase a new computer, or install Windows Vista in the first few months of its release (upgrading your hardware first if necessary) or are you going to wait? And when you do purchase Windows Vista, what version will you buy?

Perhaps you want to wait and see, while using Microsoft’s Vista Advisor to check out the possibilities on your current computer system. Later, you can tempt your Vista friends with your chocolate chip cookies so that they’ll let you play with their new operating system to see if it's for you, while they are downing the entire two dozen cookies you brought with you, intending of course to eat half of them yourself.

I am not recommending one course of action or one version over another – much depends upon your individual situation. But I do recommend that you do your research, carefully and completely back up all your files before any installation, and wait a few months after Windows Vista comes out before you jump on the bandwagon. After all, you probably need the money you would spend on Windows Vista more than Bill Gates does, don’t you?

Am I upgrading to Windows Vista in the first few months of its release? No way. I’ve only had my Sony VAIO for 9 months and everything's working But given that I’m a Boston-area computer instructor, consultant and photographer, and continually adapting to the needs of clients and students, and have a 250 gig hard drive which I can easily partition, well, ask me late in 2007 how I like the dual boot option…………that will probably be MY choice.

Whatever decision YOU make, I hope you make the choice that’s right for you. Happy computing!

This article is copyright 2006 by Tracy Marks, Boston area Windows, Internet and Photoshop instructor and consultant, and also licensed counselor. It may not be reprinted or reposted without permission. Information about Tracy's courses, consulting and counseling is available at Windweaver.

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Last updated November 19, 2006