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Don’t worry upgrading XP to Vista will be fine

by Tris Hussey on February 7th, 2007

One of those givens with Windows is that about once a year you should wipe your drive and do a clean install.  Windows gets cluttered and a tad sluggish after a while.  The other maxim is that when upgrading Windows you should do the same for best performance and stability.  Okay, cool.  What about Vista?  One of the new features that Microsoft touts is that when you upgrade from XP to Vista is that the old XP files are deleted and Vista is supposed to be starting with a clean slate.  Yeah, right.  Believe it when I see it.  Leave it to ExtremeTech to try it out.  In their exhaustive tests they found that yeah, upgrading to Vista with a clean install gives you slightly better performance, but only slightly and if you want to, go ahead and upgrade from XP, you probably won’t notice the difference.

If, however, you’re dying to tool around with Vista—and you’re brave—there’s no reason in terms of performance not to try an in-place upgrade over Windows XP. Note that if you’re still piloting a 9x version of Windows, an in-place upgrade isn’t an option: You’ll have to do a clean installation.

One last thing: If you decide to purchase an upgrade edition of Windows, you should know that it’s supposed to be installed as an in-place upgrade of an activated Windows XP. However, if you want to do a clean install, the workaround is to install Vista without entering the activation key. Then pick the version that matches the CD key of the upgrade. In other words, if you bought Vista Home Premium, then install the trial version of Vista Home Premium. Vista will install a 30 day trial version. Once that trial version is installed, you can activate with the upgrade key. (Note that this currently works, but Microsoft may patch around this unplanned capability in the future.)

Now that’s pretty cool, something from Microsoft that actually works as expected.

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POSTED IN: Vista, Software tips

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