Windows

Upgrading from Windows 7 RC to RTM

Blogger Brad Bird fully expects there to be a workaround to upgrade from Windows 7 RC directly to the RTM version. But would you want to do that?

Windows 7 has been around since early 2009 in either beta release or release candidate. The fact that this is a very stable client OS has been echoed time and time again throughout the IT community.

Microsoft released a statement that said to upgrade from Windows 7 beta to the RC version was not supported. As with most things in software, not supported and impossible are completely separate matters. Earlier I posted the workaround, which called for copying the installation source files to a rewritable location and then modifying a configuration file to, more or less, ignore an upgrade compatibility check, making such an upgrade possible for those who didn't mind the risk.

Now that Microsoft has announced its public, release-to-manufacturing date (RTM) -- when the product will be shipped and available on store shelves -- many IT enthusiasts are wondering whether they should upgrade their current RC version to the public release.

Whether a similar workaround becomes available or not, it is my humble opinion that we should not be upgrading "test" software to "gold" software, no matter how stable the RC seems. When I say "gold" I mean the known-good, publicly available version. This software is always supported as its given, unless there are updates for the original code that are bundled or made publicly available during the release process to fix critical issues.

In the case of RTM software, I feel it is best to bring the system "back to basics," meaning to wipe and install the operating system on a formatted hard disk. This will give the user the best chance to experience the software in its intended state.

IT enthusiasts will always attempt to push the limits and see what is possible. This is why I am certain that information will soon be released about upgrade possibilities. I simply don't suggest doing so in any environment you rely on. Enjoy Windows 7!

What do you think about directly upgrading software releases? Would you try upgrading from RC to RTM, even for your home system?

About

Brad Bird is a lead technical consultant and MCT certified trainer based in Ottawa, ON. He works with large organizations, helping them architect, implement, configure, and customize System Center technologies, integrating them into their business pr...

11 comments
CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I have nothing to lose. I wouldn't try it if I was putting 7 on a production box, but I won't put any Windows OS on a production box until the first service pack anyway. I won't upgrade an OS unless there's a great reason to do so, usually when someone has lost the media for an application, when there's a specific hardware configuration, etc. Normally I'll restore a Ghost image based on a clean installation.

s31064
s31064

The upgrade path from RC to RTM is identical to the beta to RC path. Simply edit the cversion.ini file and it's happy. I'm running on an upgrade to RTM right now, and I have no issues.

gmasters
gmasters

Why can't the big cash cow provide us a reliable supported path. They always give me something to complain about even when they finaly seem to produce a decent product. My main machine crashed and had no vista backup disk (bought it that way)- now choose- buy $20 vista disk from HP (hated vista), or try the new R.C.- I think RC was a good decision- I then add all my main sw, tweek endlessly, use it for 4 months, but can't migrate to RTM that I already purchased on pre-sale? Nope- gotta spend a full day in October formatting, re-installing, tweeking, etc- fun.fun.fun thanks billionaires- like to see one of you have to waste a day like that instead of drinking at Octoberfest!

kieronredmond
kieronredmond

I think it depends on the user. I personally believe you should always install "Gold" software freshly, you are then guaranteed that any issues that may arise are not related to older version.

ctaylor
ctaylor

I won't even do "supported" upgrades of an OS. I figure every few years, it is an opportunity to start fresh with the best possible experience. It is incredible just how much gunk accumulates over the year from installs / uninsalls / changing configs, etc. I wouldn't even dream of doing an upgrade installation if it is officially unsupported. For those who complain that Microsoft is not supplying a supported way of moving from RC to RTM all I can say is, "You knew the name of the game when you installed the beta/RC in the first place."

jimito123
jimito123

I believe that Brad is correct. One should p[erform a clean install of the RTM version. I am fairly new to teh it field, as a matter a fact I am a Network Admin student, and in the last 12 month sof school I have seen many a fellow students download Black version of Operating Systems, to only have them run correctly for a short while, then they have found themselves either making unneeded modifications to their personal PC's or uninstalling the Bl;ack versions and install legit versions. I say avoid the grief and do clean install and enjoy the full capabilities of the operating system.

oddes
oddes

It's probably a bad thing to do, but I have done upgrades several times without any major problems. From XP x64 to Vista x64 Enterprise. Then hacked around for upgrading to Vista x64 Ultimate. Then upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate RC. Now I want to upgrade to Windows 7 RTM and have prepared the Windows 7 RTM for this. The only program I had to repair was Pinacle Studio 12 and the Slysoft CloneDVD. Everything else worked as it should. I primarily use my stationary for video and picture convert/editing. No games installed at all. I have Acronis Home installed and full image of the C: disk. So if things goes really bad, i could go back to a previous version.

derek
derek

Yeah, I agree, I have never seen upgrades go well for long periods of time... Now with Virtual box, life is even sweeter...

shawn
shawn

I have also been using the beta and RC since early 09 and have only had one issue and I think that was with a different piece of software that may not be completely Win7 compatible. I have done a fresh install of RTM on my laptop and it completed wonderfully. I have also done an upgrade on my main PC the way it was explained in the original post. The upgrade failed due to software that was found to have known problems with Win7. I removed the software and the upgrade completed successfully. It did however take almost 2 hours which I found odd but I left it to crank away and finished in the end. I will see how it goes and probably do a fresh install once I have more time.

brad
brad

Thanks s31064, you have confirmed my suspicion. Otherwise, I would have needed to try it myself :).

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

You didn't use the 'Make Restore Disks' utility? How does this make it HP's fault? You installed a trial OS on a production system? How is the lack of an upgrade path Microsoft's fault? It's test software; no promises or guarantees should be expected. That's why they give it away.