Upgrading from Vista to the Windows 7 Release Candidate

So last night I decided to take the plunge and upgrade to the Windows 7 Release Candidate. The word on the street (well, web) seemed to say that it was very stable (as you’d expect from a release candidate), and it’d be good for a year (plenty of time for my plan to upgrade my computer & then buy the 64-bit version of Windows 7 when it comes out). Plus, as a developer, it’s nice to have the “latest & greatest” for a variety of reasons – not the least of which is being able to test your software on a new operating system to see if it works!

So, I double-checked my Mozy backups to make sure they were current & up-to-date, did some last minute downloads of software in case I needed it right after the upgrade, uninstalled a few programs that I’d been told by the upgrade advisor were potential problems, and then I put in the DVD and clicked “Install.”

After spending some time churning away “analyzing” something or other, I finished the initial questions and the installation proper began. Based on my experiences from upgrading from XP to Vista, I knew this would take a while – as in, a LONG while. So I turned off my monitor and let the computer churn for a few hours.

Surprisingly, it didn’t take as long as my XP to Vista upgrade did. After about 4 hours I came in to check on it, and caught it rebooting – and I was excited to see that shiny new Windows 7 boot screen (with the glowing Windows logo). Certainly, it seemed as though the installation (sorry, upgrade) was proceeding nicely. After the boot screen, setup appeared again, and I saw that I was on the last step (out of 5 steps), with the progress bar at the bottom of the screen about 3/4 of the way across. I figured it’d be done before I went to bed that night.

Well, turns out, it was done before I went to bed – but not in the way I’d imagined.

I came in about an hour later and I could immediately hear that the hard drive wasn’t churning away. “Excellent,” I thought, “it must be done!” So I turned on my monitor… only to be greeted by my usual Vista desktop, and a message box letting me know that the upgrade could not be completed, and suggesting I visit Microsoft’s website to find out why. Fortunately, the setup was kind enough to restore my system to exactly the way it was before the upgrade began, instead of leaving my computer in a half-upgraded state. (I was actually quite surprised it managed to pull this off, given how close it was to being “done.”)

Unfortunately, I have no idea if there’s a log or something to tell me why the upgrade couldn’t be completed – although I can guess. (The fact that my user profile is directory-junctioned to a 2nd hard drive probably has something to do with it.) I can only hope that some of the data about my upgrade experience was sent back to Microsoft, so they can learn from it and improve the upgrade process.

So it looks like I’m stuck where I am until later this year, when I upgrade my PC to a 64-bit processor – which will require a clean install of a 64-bit version of Windows anyway.


UPDATE: I tried to upgrade again – turns out the directory junction wasn’t the problem, though, because the upgrade failed – AGAIN. Anyone know how to find out why an upgrade failed – what log file to look in, for example? Because I’m stumped!

By Keith Survell

Geek, professional programmer, amateur photographer, crazy rabbit guy, only slightly obsessed with cute things.


  1. So, same story here! No info at all, just back to Vista after about 5 hours of chugging away… A sidenote is that Windows 7 runs fine on the same hardware from a secondary partition.

    I’d love to hear if you get upgraded.


  2. Upgrading at this point would probably mean moving all of my documents/movies/pictures/music/etc. into a separate folder (for safe keeping), deleting the directory junction that links my user profile to my 2nd hard drive, putting my user profile back in the “default” location, then letting windows try to upgrade again (waiting for 5 hours), then putting all my documents/movies/pictures/music back again.

    That’s a little bit too much work, even for me, at this point in time. But maybe I will give it a try in a few weeks or so, who knows… I just don’t have the patience for it right now.

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