Q: Preparation for upgrade on new harddrive This thread is locked from future replies

Hello and thank you for this forum.

I have a dell laptop with OEM Vista pre-installed with no discs supplied by Dell.

I do have a legible lable with product key on the machine.

I am installing a new harddrive and would like to upgrade to Windows 7 at the same time.

I do not intend to save any existing programs or files.

I have purchased the retail Home Premium Upgrade edition.

Will I be able to install Windows 7 with just my OEM Vista product key available?

Must I download and install a Vista OS first?

Will I be allowed to install the 64 bit version if my machine is capable?

Thanks for tips before I tear this thing apart!





The Windows 7 Upgrade software requires XP or Vista to be installed first, if you have a qualifying version of Windows (XP or Vista) with a genuine license you can use an Upgrade version. If you have a new hard drive you can install XP/Vista on it first, then install Windows 7.

Since you dont' have install disks:

You can image XP/Vista from your old drive to the new hard drive if you want, then install Windows 7.

You can use a free hard drive imaging program - the two below work very well and both enable you to make a boot disk to start the recovery.

Reflect Disk Imaging:

Paragon Backup & Recovery Free Edition:



Custom Clean Install Steps

Times to use:
Moving from XP to 7, or unsupported in place upgrade paths (ex: Vista Home to 7 Pro)
Moving from a 32 bit Windows system to a 64 bit system, or changing languages
Don't want to do an in place upgrade, or you want a fresh/clean install

You can use an Upgrade or Full Windows 7 disk to do a custom clean install. This will remove all your programs, but you can save your files and settings to an external storage before doing so. You will have to reinstall all your programs after installing Windows 7. Here are the steps:

1. Run Windows Upgrade Advisor to see if there are any known issues that might affect the installation and whether you can install the 32 or 64 bit version of Windows 7.

2. Backup all your files and settings to avoid losing docs, photos, and other information. Windows Easy Transfer is a free tool to copy files (not programs) from your PC, and then transfer them back after you install Windows 7. If you don't want to use Windows Easy Transfer, you can copy your files to a USB drive, or CD/DVD. Note: Easy Transfer will not work when changing languages, or when going from 64 bit to 32 bit (it will work going from 32 bit to 64 bit).

3. Locate the installation disks and any associated product/license keys for all your programs because you'll need to manually reinstall all programs. If you downloaded some programs from the Internet you can redownload them.

4. Install the new drive then image Vista. Then insert the Windows 7 DVD into your PC. When asked "Which type of installation do you want?" click "Custom (advanced)." Note: 32 to 64 bit requires you to restart and boot from the DVD.
5. After Windows 7 is installed you can use Windows Easy Transfer (or another backup method you used) to restore your files & settings, and use your installation disks to reinstall all your programs. Then you're done - enjoy Windows 7.



Image Windows 7 And Move To New Hard Drive

Connect the new hard drive to the computer (as a slave if IDE, or connect it externally if you can through USB), then partition the new hard drive so it has two partitions (or more if you want) - the last partition being a little bigger then the amount of data on your current hard drive. If you have a large amount of data (music/video etc) moving it to an external storage separately will greatly reduce the image size. Also make sure that the partition you are moving Windows 7 to is the same size or bigger then the current partition it's on.

Now make an image of your current hard drive with either of the programs below and save it to the last partition on your new drive. If you have the 100MB recovery partition make sure to include that. After the image is created restore the image to the new hard drive - you should restore Windows to the first partition (or second if you have the 100MB recovery partition). But if you have a unique setup then set it up the same as your current drive. You may have to delete/change the partitions you made to the new hard drive when restoring the Windows image. Please be aware that in the computer world imaging is not always going to work, but your original data should not be harmed. You may need to reactivate after moving to the new hard drive.

If you are unable to have both hard drives connected at the same time you can chose to save the image to DVDs. Then replace the old drive and use the DVDs to restore Windows to the new hard drive.

Have Questions About Installing Windows 7?
FAQ - Common Windows 7 Installation Questions & Answers
MCC 2011


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Views: 1,057 Last updated: December 2, 2017 Applies to: