Hi I have decided to update my PC to Windows 7 64 bit. My existing PC has a lot of programs and data that needs to be preserved. I have read that with Vista Business an inplace install can be made but wonder if that is correct. If not I'll need to move programs or reinstall them.

I have two hard drives so I am thiniking about copying all the files on the C drive to another drive - drive F. or just copying My Documents and the program files to drive F. If I copy all the files I can reinstall or copy back the files to drive C after Windows 7 is up and running.

However, if the inplace install works I may not have to reinstall a lot of programs :)

Windows should normally allow such upgrade. That is from Windows Vista to Windows 7 as long as components (hardware) are compatbile and capable of handling Windows 7. There is a nice official tutorial on how to upgrade Windows Vista to Windows 7. Although I wouldn't set my expectations really high. The applications and data may move along with the system, but couple of them might not work directly.

The best that would be in this situation, at least how I would do it. Is just copy the files (Documents, Presentations, Files, Photos) onto external storage (you mentioned another parititon), make lists of installed programs. Then install Windows 7 onto the current partition of Windows Vista. Install programs from the list, and then all the files, documents and photos back onto drive.

In my experience when you do an upgrade install you end up with pieces of both systems scattered about higgledy-piggledy. You'll effectively get a mish mash of both with a lot of wasted disk space. My advice is to take a disk image of your current system then wipe it and do a fresh install of Windows 7. I don't know how your system is partitioned but my suggestion is roughly

70 meg C partition
remainder to D partition

Once you have a base Windows 7 system installed and configured with all Windows 7 updates applied, relocate the following folders from C to D

My Documents
My Music
My Pictures
My Videos

Reinstall the disk imaging software (Macrium Reflect has an excellent free edition) and take an image of the C partition. Now install your "must have" applications (I would include cCleaner). When you have your system configured and updated, run cCleaner and take another image (this one will be temporary). The last step will be to do a disk "freeze". One of the many updates you will have installed will be service pack 1. You'll never want to uninstall this so by doing a "freeze" you will clean your system of the uninstall files. To do this, open a CMD shell as Administrator and type

CD \
DISM /online /Cleanup-Image /SpSuperseded

This could take upwards of 30 minutes to run so don't panic. And if you DO panic, that's why you did the temporary disk image. The dir just before, then just after dism are so you can see how much space was freed up. Once this finishes you can make another disk image and delete the temporary one.

Note - I take only FULL rather than INCREMENTAL images and name them like

2015-05-17 Full.mrimg

I may have the extension name a tad incorrect but I'm doing this from memory. Save the base image (after drivers and base Windows 7 install) if you need to go back to a super-clean system. Save the other image for when you pooch your system with malware or a virus of if your system just starts to get slow. In that case

Save any files you might need off of C
Restore the image
Apply Windows/program updates
run cCleaner
Take a new image

I keep a change.log file on my D drive and add an entry whenever I make any major changes like installing/removing software, updating drivers, taking images, etc. It not only helps me to rebuild after I reinstall an image but it's useful in troubleshooting.

By the way, by relocating those folders before you maintain your files even if you restore a C image.

Thanks Aeonix and Reverend Jim.
I used Ccleaner to create a list of installed programs -119. The PC is one of a network of five. I keep copies of documents on more than on PC using SyncToy 2.1 so my data is protected from loss. I think I'll download the Macrium free edition in case something goes wrong.

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