It is possible to to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8 without having a bunch of issues in close pursuit because I have done it. Mind you, it only came good on the second upgrade attempt.

While the first attempt did seem to go through ok, I did have issues and not everything worked as expected. This is what is happening to a lot of people presently.

My next move was to re-install Windows 7 which I knew worked well, ran all of the updates, and then added only the absolute essentials for what I do on the computer day to day. So far so good. The computer was back to it’s former self and working like a dream, and I was considering giving up on Windows 8..

Problem.. If I am going to continue to support Microsoft operating systems in the Microsoft Community, I have to get to grips with Windows 8, so I did a parallel install on a second hard drive. Everything worked in 8 but the installation was playing havoc with Windows 7. Note that I have written about this before and will not repeat myself. Suffice to say, I formatted the Windows 8 drive and again considered dropping 8 altogether.

With four, maybe five days to go before Windows 8 hit the streets, I bit the bullet, made a backup and recovery disk for Windows 7, and then started the Windows 8 upgrade process again. SUCCESS..

Why did it work so well?

I think that the answer is in the general state of Windows 7 before I started. There was NOTHING running which Windows 8 didn’t or wouldn’t like.

  1. I made sure that the Windows 7 gadgets were uninstalled.
  2. ESET NOD32, unlike some of it’s major competitors, is not known to give problems
  3. There were NO 3rd party utilities running.
  4. There was nothing other than Windows stuff which started automatically
  5. Other than MS Office 2010, Windows Live Essentials 2012 and supporting software, Programs and Features was quite empty.
  6. I didn’t disconnect my printer because it is an HP Deskjet 5150 which runs on basic OS support drivers anyway. Had it been a multi-function device, I would have uninstalled it.

I have three advantages over Mr/Mrs/Ms Average home user..

  1. I have been playing with and/or been working with PCs since DOS 2, and have experience with other platforms, so I have a good idea how computers work and why sometimes they don’t. I know enough to not expect the impossible.
  2. I visit the Microsoft Community multiple times per day and get to see what works and what doesn’t for many people and many computer configurations.
  3. I always prepare myself for errors, those generated by the system and those that I make myself. Yes, we all make silly mistakes..

From the other side..

Home users read an article which states that Windows 8 will upgrade over Windows 7. The article also states that anything which runs in Windows 7 will also run in Windows 8. There, a done deal. They can upgrade their computer.The Microsoft mans says so.

Did you know that many home computers users don’t know what operating system is installed, don’t even know the make of the computer without looking around the case when asked what it is?

  1. Hey, its a computer, isn’t it?
  2. It worked on my old computer and the man in the store told me that this one is better than my old one.

You can’t blame them really. They don’t have to be a mechanic to own a car so why should they have to be a computer tech to own a computer. When these people run a Windows 8 upgrade, the chance of it working properly is pretty much slim to none.

  1. They have no backups and don’t know how to make a backup anyway, or tried, failed and gave up on it.
  2. They don’t understand the concept of keeping installation disks safe such that their programs can be re-installed.
  3. They may well be running old programs which are barely compatible with the incumbent operating system.

The best way to avoid upgrade failure is to ensure that the computer is clean. A fellow MVP is putting up a checklist of things to do before attempting an upgrade. It is a list that has held good for years, but the guy is being derided for posting it.  I am avoiding the Windows 8 forum to some degree because I foresaw  the problems, and as yet I am unsure on the best approach to take.

Of course Windows 8 will upgrade over Windows 7. There is no untruth in the statement, but telling people that they have to go back to basics, maybe even run a clean install of Windows 7 before undertaking the upgrade to 8, doesn’t go down well at all, and is a direct contradiction of the enthusiastic approach of those claiming that, regardless, everything will work fine.

The thing is that NOT all programs are compatible, and not all hardware and the utilities which enable them are compatible either. I can understand that Microsoft has to be enthusiastic, and I can understand that some bloggers and IT writers have to be or are told to be enthusiastic and not show a negative side, but it gives a false hope.

Adding insult to injury..

I have seen posts where people have bought computers pre-installed with Windows 8 who are having issues too. There was one where the OP reported that Wi-Fi wouldn’t connect and that the ISP had told the user that Microsoft had to release patches for Vista and Windows 7 before they would connect, and that the same is true for Windows 8.

A good suggestion..

Microsoft will not like it but I think that ALL Windows 8 users should install one of the alternative start menus, if only to get easy access to the tools which will help them fix the issues..