For most users who have Windows XP Home, the most logical upgrade path to Windows Vista is via the Home Premium version. And, the simplest way to get upgraded is to install the upgraded version of Vista Home Premium over your existing version of Win-XP Home.
Upgrading your computer’s operating system requires some preparation, so take these simple steps, and your upgrade path should be smooth. We’ll assume your computer will run Vista Home Premium with no problems.
Before you install Vista, make sure all your drivers are up-to-date with the latest Vista-compatible versions, and remember to back up all of your important files. Most OS upgrades go without a hitch, but every now and then a botched installation results in data loss.
At the beginning of the installation, you have the option to have Windows check for compatibility.
In fact, if you are sweating the transfer of commonly used data—such as user accounts, email messages, Windows and Internet settings, etc.—from one computer to another, the Windows Easy Transfer wizard can help. This is a free wizard-based tool that lets you seamlessly transfer files and settings, but not programs, from one computer to another using an easy transfer cable, a home or business network, a removable hard drive, or removable media
Starting The Installation
To begin the upgrade process, insert your Vista installation DVD into your computer’s DVD drive. The Install Windows setup screen will appear automatically once your disc is read by your DVD drive.
The first step in the installation routine presents two choices: Check For Compatibility Online or Install Now. Click Install Now to begin the installation, unless you wish to check your system for Vista compatibility one more time.
Next, Windows takes a few minutes to prepare for the installation. The next screen offers you the opportunity to download the latest updates before beginning the installation by clicking the Go Online To Get The Latest Updates For Installation link.
Keep in mind, however, that once you start using Vista, if you have set it up to automatically download updates, all the latest updates will automatically install. So if you want to install Vista without further ado, click the Do Not Get The Latest Updates For Installation link to proceed.
At the next screen, enter the product key found inside your Windows package into the Product Key text-box. You also have the choice not to enter the product key at this time. But unless you have some compelling reason not to, it’s best to enter the product key when requested by the installation program.
Next, the installation routine presents you with the license agreement for Vista; click the I Accept The License Terms checkbox and then click Next to continue.
In the next screen, the Vista installation program asks you to choose between an Upgrade installation or a Custom (Advanced) installation. An Upgrade install keeps all your files, settings, and programs and simply upgrades Windows.
The Custom installation allows you to install a clean copy of Windows by giving you the option to erase the existing partition of data and install Windows to it. You can also select the partition where you want to install Windows or make changes to your disks and/or partitions. To upgrade from WinXP Home to Vista without the clean install, click the Upgrade link.
The next step generates a Compatibility Report, the final check for potential problems before installation begins. If issues are found, the installation program displays a warning advising you of the fact, along with a link for more information. If you want to find more information about the compatibility report, simply click the Click Here For More Information link, and Windows displays a list of hardware devices or applications that may not work properly once Vista starts.
If you see a lot of items on this list, you may want to consider aborting the installation, resolving the issues, and restarting the installation once updates to your system are complete. If you wish to proceed, click Next to continue with the installation.
Let The Upgrade Begin
Now the Vista installation begins in earnest. This is the slowest step of the process as the installation program performs five steps: Copying Windows Files, Gathering Files, Expanding Files, Installing Features And Updates, and Completing Upgrade.
Once the install routine finishes the Installing Updates step, the system will reboot. You see a screen that tells you to, “Please wait a moment while Windows prepares to start for the first time.” Once the system restarts, you are returned to the installation program where Vista tells you it is Completing Upgrade. This step may take a while to complete, so be patient and let it run its course. When this step is finished, Windows reboots.
The next step in the installation process requests that you create an administrator account for Vista, complete with your choice of available icons to identify your account. Click Next to continue; in the next screen, you’ll enter a name for your computer and choose a background for your Desktop. Provide a name and then click Next to move on to the Help Protect Windows Automatically screen where you are given three choices: Use Recommended Settings, Install Important Updates Only, and Ask Me Later. To fully automate your computer’s security and automatic updates protections, choose the Use Recommended Settings option.
In the next few screens, you'll choose your time and date settings and select your computer's location. (The choices are Home, Work, or Public Location.) Eventually, you will come to a Thank You screen, where you click the Start button to launch Vista for the first time. At this time, the install program performs one final system check and launches the login screen. Once you log in to your account, a welcome screen appears followed by another screen informing you that Windows is preparing your Desktop. After a few minutes, your Desktop appears. (Get ready to wait just a bit longer as Windows prepares some personalized settings.)Once your Desktop appears, Windows will briefly download updates and launch the Welcome Center, where you can view details about your computer, add new user accounts, learn more about Vista, and more. You’re now ready to go.