how risky is installing Win7 RC?
September 11, 2009 3:47 AM   Subscribe

I'm installing Win7 RC over Vista - just how scrupulous should I be about backing up stuff? What is the likelihood of losing programs, data etc?
posted by wilful to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
Haven't done it myself, but from what I hear from people who have: very, and high.
posted by flabdablet at 4:18 AM on September 11, 2009

You should always have backups of your data.

Slighly off-topic, but why are you installing a beta of Win7 when RTM is done (and even available in some channels) and should be on shelves soon?
posted by wongcorgi at 4:21 AM on September 11, 2009

I had almost no problems installing Win7 RC on an old HP Laptop. Every piece of software worked just like it was supposed to... None of the compatibility issues that happened with Vista. Works really fast, too (in fact, it runs faster that XP by far). BUT, I think you're going to have to reinstall later when the actual product comes out. So that pretty much sucks.
posted by lucidreamstate at 4:40 AM on September 11, 2009

Also, FWIW, you can't upgrade the RC to RTM (well you can with a bit of file editing, but its a pain).
posted by wongcorgi at 4:45 AM on September 11, 2009

Haven't done it myself, but from what I hear from people who have: very, and high.

Are you sure you're not thinking of Leopard -> Snow Leopard?

Just messin'. Seriously though, I haven't heard anything about people having issues with going from Vista to 7. My own experience has been stellar, and that's even when installing it on a dual-booted Macbook Pro. YMMV, but I wouldn't worry too heavily. Like corgi says, though, don't you have a backup in any case?
posted by InsanePenguin at 4:45 AM on September 11, 2009

Response by poster: turns out the selective upgrade doesn't work and the "custom" build where they guarantee loss of files was the only option. So here I am doing a tediously virtuous task of backing up fully.

Is it tru that you have to do a full install from the release candidate to the real thing?
posted by wilful at 4:56 AM on September 11, 2009

My Vista install got trashed to the point that it would only occasionally boot into Safe Mode. Did an upgrade to Win 7, everything worked great, no loss of data. This was to the RTM version though.
posted by IanMorr at 7:00 AM on September 11, 2009

FYI: "The RC will expire on June 1, 2010. Starting on March 1, 2010, your PC will begin shutting down every two hours. Windows will notify you two weeks before the bi-hourly shutdowns start. To avoid interruption, you'll need to rebuild your test machine using a valid version of Windows before the software expires. You'll need to rebuild your test PC to replace the OS and reinstall all your programs and data."

posted by Liver at 7:01 AM on September 11, 2009

Is it tru that you have to do a full install from the release candidate to the real thing?

There's no upgrade path. You're probably better off just waiting until you can get RTM and avoid backing up again.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:03 AM on September 11, 2009

I can't imagine anything happening to harm the integrity of the file system itself. Even if Windows self-destructs or you can't boot or you June 1, 2010 rolls around, you can still plug in the hard drive to another computer and see the files in place. I would keep my important files out of Windows folders like C:\Windows or C:\Documents and Settings, Win7 won't decide to format itself. I would advise going a step further, creating a separate partition on your drive and placing your data there, so you can do a clean format and install of the operating system on its own partition. I've done this with dozens of computers and never had a problem. You might make a mistake, like mistakingly deleting files in everyday use, but there's a slim chance something awful will happen.
posted by geoff. at 8:51 AM on September 11, 2009

You can upgrade from the release candidates and betas to the RTM, but I don't know how much I would trust that system.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:18 AM on September 11, 2009

blue_beetle, that is the workaround I was referring to. It does work- but copying the bits, editing the ini file and reburning a bootable ISO is a pain.
posted by wongcorgi at 12:16 PM on September 11, 2009

I upgraded to the RTM recently from Windows XP. (I had full backups. Full backups are lovely friends.) I chose the custom "please-delete-my-files" option since I had a lot of hard drive cruft. I chose the partition that Windows XP already resided on. Assuming the worst, that Windows 7 would do a quick-format of the hard drive, I didn't format it manually. When Windows 7 booted, all it had done was move Program Files, Documents and Settings, and Windows into a C:\Windows.old directory. Everything else was intact. The registry did seem wiped though.

I doubt the Program Files, and therefore any associated proprietary-format application data, would work since it had been moved without telling the registry. But the program files themselves were still there, along with documents and ... settings.

So, from a sample size of one: choosing custom install and not doing any formatting means some files get moved but not deleted when upgrading a two-year old Windows XP installation to 64-bit Windows 7 located on a USB flash drive pluggined into my trusty laptop.
posted by shadytrees at 9:11 PM on September 11, 2009

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