WAU vs. In-place Upgrade vs. Custom Install

I have three ways to upgrade my copy of Home Premium to Professional: Windows Anytime Upgrade, in-place upgrade (install Windows over Windows) and Custom install.

I have two goals:
  1. a resulting Win 7 Professional installation with maximum stability and reliability; and
  2. no 'left-over' folders and files.
By 'left-overs' I mean any folders and files from Home Premium now rendered unnecessary by upgrading to Professional as well as uninstall folders (to revert to Home Premium).

A custom install achieves both goals, but it means I have to reinstall, update and setup all my software all over again.

An upgrade installation leaves left-overs behind. (And the conventional wisdom is that a clean install offers the possibility of improved stability and reliability vs. an upgrade.)

How about Windows Anytime Upgrade -- does it achieve both my goals?

Thanks for your advice.

Question Info

Last updated March 20, 2018 Views 1,049 Applies to:
Thanks to an article by Ed Bott, I have my answer. Here's an excerpt from that article:

"What was remarkable about this process is that it didn’t require me to insert the original installation media or download any code. It simply unlocked the features in the upgraded edition..."

The jist of it is that Windows Anytime Upgrade is not an installation procedure in the conventional sense. Many of us are familiar with trial versions of applications, where certain features are unavailable in the trial version but magically appear once you enter your registration code. If I understand Ed Bott correctly, that's exactly how it is with Windows Anytime Upgrade.

To address my original concerns:

1- The upgraded version of Windows 7 should be as stable and reliable as your existing version of Windows 7. If your existing version of Windows is unreliable or exhibits weird behavior, you're better off with a clean ('custom') install.
2- There is nothing 'left over'. Your existing version of Win 7 is transformed into a new version of Win 7.

In any case, the usual preparation for an upgrade is still important. Most important: backup.

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