FAQ: Some things to know before and after installing Windows 7

Its been over a month since the general availability of Windows 7 world wide. Since then there have been numerous experiences shared about upgrading to the new OS. If you have not upgraded yet, but planning to or about to upgrade, here are some tips based on experiences installing the OS with some first hand knowledge about what you should do before or after installing Windows 7.

NB 7 article logo update

1.) Windows 7 Checklist:

* Back up your files to an external hard disk, DVD, CD or USB flash drive. For assistance in backing up your files, pleas visit windows.microsoft.com/upgrade-windows-xp.

Also check out Notebooks.com detailed article about using Windows Easy Transfer for backing up your personal files and settings here

* Make sure your PC is connected to the Internet, so you can get installation updates. (If you don’t have an Internet connection, you can still install Windows 7).

* Check the Windows 7 Package to make sure your PC meets the system requirements.

* If you have Windows XP on your computer, you will have to completely replace Windows XP with Windows 7. Before you begin, make sure you have the original installation disks for your programs. After you install Windows 7, you will need to manually reinstall your programs and restore your files and settings.

2.) If your PC is currently running a 64-bit version of Windows, use the 64 bit disc. To find out which version your PC is running:

1. Click the Start button

2. Right-click Computer or My Computer

3. Click Properties. You’ll see the version listed next to System type.

– Find your 25-character Windows product key. It’s inside your Windows package.

– If needed, first update your antivirus program, then follow these steps:

1. Run your Antivirus program

2. Turn it off by choosing to disable it.

3. After you install Windows 7, remember to turn it on again by choosing to enable it. Or, install new antvirus software that works with Windows 7.


Windows XP and Windows 7 Activation procedures:

Windows XP users who are performing a clean upgrade to Windows 7 are advised not to enter their product key when prompted during installation. Rather, they should move on to the next step and only enter the key once full installation is complete.

Start the Installation:

1. Turn on your PC.

2. When you get to the Windows desktop, inset the Windows 7 installation disc. Setup should launch automatically. If it does’t, just:

– Click the Start button

– Click Computer or My Computer

– Open the Windows 7 installation disc on your DVD drive.

– Double-click setup.exe

3. On the Windows “Install Windows” page, click Install Now and follow the instructions.

4. When you’re asked “Which type of installation do you want?. choose of the following:

* Click Upgrade if you are running Windows Vista to keep your files, programs, and settings and install Windows 7.

* Click Custom if you are running Windows XP or want to completely replace your current version of Windows with Windows 7. You will need to manually reinstall your programs and restore your backed up files after installation. Visit Windows.microsoft.com/upgrade-windows-xp for details.

5. Continue to foll0w the instructions to complete the setup.

6. When you’re finished, you’ll see the Windows desktop.

Resources: How to Upgrade to Windows 7

If you are experiencing problems or seeing error messages, try the following in your existing version of Windows (XP or Vista) before continuing with the Upgrade:

1. Disable any security software before attempting to upgrade or do a clean install.

2. Make sure your computer is updated (devices and applications)

3. Disconnect any non-essential devices before installing.

4. Check your hard disk for any errors:

Click Start

Type: CMD, from the results, right click CMD

Click ‘Run as Administrator’

At the Command Prompt, type: chkdsk /r

When you restart your system, your computer will be scanned for errors and attempts will be made to correct them.

Click Start

Type: CMD, from the results, right click CMD

Click ‘Run as Administrator’

At the Command Prompt, type: sfc/scannow

This will check for any integrity violations

Restart your system

Run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor which you can use to help determine which features and editions of Windows 7 will run on your computer; visit https://windows.microsoft.com/upgradeadvisor.

3.) How do I receive Technical support for Windows 7?

Call: United States: (866) 234-6020, Canada: (800) 668-7975

Digital River Support: 1-877-244-8653

Microsoft Store: 1-877-my-ms-store

Digital River support.url

4.) How do I enable Windows Virtual PC with XP Mode?

There is no product key necessary to enable Windows XP Mode. You simply need to have a CPU (processor) that supports hardware based virtualization: Intel-VT or AMD-V, you need to install two files:

1. Windows6.1-KB958559-x64 or x86 depending on the architecture you are running

Restart the system, then install:

2. WindowsXPMode_en-us

Please follow these steps to enable hardware virtualization:

– Restart the computer and enter BIOS setup.

– Search virtualization setting in BIOS and enable the setting.

– Save BIOS settings.

– Power off the computer, wait for few seconds and start the computer.

Both Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC can be downloaded from https://www.windows.com/business/downloads.

For more information on system requirements, go to https://www.microsoft.com/virtual-pc

Notebooks.com Using Windows Virtual PC with Windows XP Mode

5.) If you are experiencing difficulty Activating Windows or entering your product key:

Try Activate Windows 7 manually:

1. Click Start, and in the Search box type :  slui.exe 4

2. Press ENTER on your Keyboard

3. Select your Country.

4. Select the Phone Activation option, and hold on for a real person.

At the enter your product key page, do a keyless installation (do not enter a key).

Once you have reached the desktop, click Start, type: CMD

Right click CMD, click ‘Run as administrator’

At the command prompt, type, regedit

Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersionsetup/OOBE


changed its value to 0

Go back to the Command Prompt, type the following:

slmgr /rearm

Restart the pc and use the activate windows to re-enter my product key

For more information on Windows Product Activation, please see https://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Activating-Windows-frequently-asked-questions.

6.) What is the Windows 7 Family Pack?

For information on the Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade family pack, please see: https://store.microsoft.com/microsoft/Windows-7-Home-Premium-Upgrade-Family-Pack/product/87DFFF11.

Notebooks.com A Look at the Windows 7 editions

7.) What is the difference between Windows 7 OEM and Windows 7 retail licenses?

OEM versions of Windows 7 are identical to Full License Retail versions except for the following:

– OEM versions do not offer any free Microsoft direct support from Microsoft support personnel

– OEM licenses are tied to the very first computer you install and activate it on

– OEM versions allow all hardware upgrades except for an upgrade to a different model motherboard

– OEM versions cannot be used to directly upgrade from an older Windows operating system

8.) I installed Windows 7 successfully, but its starting up with a blank screen?

Run Windows Low-resolution

1) Detach all non-essential peripheral devices from your computer, such as printers, scanners and removable storage devices.

2) Restart the computer.

3) Keep pressing the F8 key until the Windows Startup menu appears.

4) Choose Enable Low-resolution video (640*480) option, and press Enter.

5) Then install the right display card driver compatible with Windows 7 in Windows Low-resolution mode.

Note: In Low-resolution Mode, your system display and Desktop will look and perform differently than in Normal Mode. This is only temporary.

You might go to Device Manager, right click your hardware device in the list and select Update Driver Software; then click Search automatically for updated driver software.

Note: Drivers on the Windows Update site are directly provided by hardware manufacturers. Microsoft tests drivers in various environments before they are published; however, we cannot guarantee all drivers will work on all hardware platforms as there are too many different models, although their hardware ID are the same as the standard version. In some cases, due to hardware modifications by different manufacturers, the driver updates may cause some error.

If it does not work on your issue, I’d suggest you installing the Vista driver in Compatibility mode. Remove and rescan that hardware device in Device Manager, right-click on the driver executable/installer file -> Properties and select the Compatibility tab; click the checkbox before Run this program in Compatibility mode for option and select Windows Vista in the list-down box; then try installing the device driver via Run as administrator. In addition, you can use the Windows XP driver for testing.

9.) How can I purchase Windows 7 for an alternate location?

Set your ‘change’ feature at the top of the Microsoft store page to the country in which you live. If the country is not available, try purchasing from a reputable third party dealer that does International shipping such as https://amazon.com/software

10.) What are the upgrade paths and what should I do before deciding whether to upgrade my version of Windows?

When making significant changes to your computer such as an upgrade, it is always recommended you backup your system prior to installing a new version of Windows. In your case, you can upgrade to Windows 7 depending on edition and architecture of Windows Vista you have installed. If you are running a 32 bit version of Vista and want to upgrade to a 64 bit version (edition of Windows 7), you will have to a do clean install, this applies vice-versa.

If you are running consumer editions of Windows Vista such as Home Basic or Premium, you can only upgrade to either Windows 7 Home Premium or Ultimate. Also, you can do downgrades, which means, if you are running Windows Vista Ultimate now, you cannot downgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium. You must do logical upgrades:

Windows Vista Home Basic > Windows 7 Home Basic, Premium or Ultimate

Windows Vista Home Premium > Windows 7 Home Premium or Ultimate

Windows Vista Business > Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate

Windows Vista Enterprise > Windows 7 Enterprise

Windows Vista Ultimate > Windows 7 Ultimate.

11.) When attempting boot from the Windows 7 installation media, I receive an error that my DVD drive is missing:

When you boot your computer, press [F8] on boot and disable driver signing checking. The drive should show up.

If you are attempting to start your Windows 7 installation from within a running version of Windows and the disk does not start or auto-run:

Click Start, type: Device Manager

Expand your DVD/CD listing in the device manager tree

Right click the optical drive

Click Uninstall

Restart the system

Insert the Windows 7 disk and attempt the installation again.

1. Press Windows R keys on the keyboard simultaneously, type regedit and press enter.

2. Open the Registry key


3. In the right pane, right-click UpperFilters, and then click Delete.

4. Click Yes to confirm the removal of the UpperFilters registry entry.

5. In the right pane, right-click LowerFilters, and then click Delete.

6. Click Yes to confirm the removal of the LowerFilters registry entry.

7. Exit Registry Editor, and then restart the computer.

If you find any difficulty in performing the above provided steps then you can follow the below provided link for further reference.

The CD drive or the DVD drive does not work as expected on a computer that you upgraded to Windows Vista


12.) I keep getting the Windows 7 hanging at certain points in the installation:

Fix it Fix for Upgrade hangs at 62% when you upgrade to Windows 7 from Windows Vista – https://bit.ly/3iDqs3

Hanging at 62% when you upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7


What about the Reboot Loop when upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7:


13.) I am running Windows Vista Home Premium, but I found out I cannot do an in place upgrade to , what should I do?

You will have to do a clean installation, there is no in place upgrade path from Windows 7 Home Premium to Professional.

when you receive the Windows 7 Professional DVD, install the Windows 7 Windows Easy Transfer Utility from the DVD (To find it, just navigate to x:supportmigwiz, ‘x:’ represents the name of your disk drive. In this folder, you will see a collection of files, the important one you need to look for and double click is ‘migsetup’.) , run it and create a WET file (Windows Easy Transfer file), if you have an external hard disk, you can have it stored there so you can access it later when you do a clean install of Windows 7 Professional DVD.

Once you have done that, simply do a clean install of Windows 7 Professional DVD. In Windows 7 Professional DVD, launch Windows Easy Transfer, follow the on screen wizard, point to where you stored the the WET file (external hard disk), and it will restore your personal files and settings. Reinstall any necessary applications.



14.) I received a complimentary copy of Windows 7 from the Windows 7 Launch event, but I only got the 32 bit version, why?

I assume the reason why 32 bit was provided was to avoid complications considering that device driver, application compatibility and system requirements must be taken into account when choosing 64 bit. Considering that not everybody has 4 GBs or more RAM installed, Microsoft made a safe bet choosing 32 bit.

Resources: Alternate media:

You can contact:

Microsoft Supplemental Parts Department at 1-800-360-7561, Monday through Friday, 5:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. Pacific Time.

15.) I bought a computer and was eligible for the free upgrade, but I didn’t get the version I wanted.

If you are receiving this free upgrade as part of a purchase of a new PC, you will receive a corresponding edition of Windows 7 to the currently installed version of Windows Vista. Example: Windows Vista Home Premium 32 > Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit. If you need alternate media, you need to contact the manufacturer of the computer.

16.) I upgraded from Windows Vista, but there is no email program included:

Windows Mail has been replaced by the free Windows Live Mail included as a part of the free Windows Live Essentials. To get it, go to: https://download.live.com

17.) Some of my devices and applications are not working, what should I do?

A: If your Internet connection is working in Windows 7, I suggest you try obtaining the drivers through Windows Update. Click Start > All Programs > Windows Update > Turn on Windows Update. A list of available updates will then be downloaded, you will have the option to view them, do so and check off the appropriate drivers or software patches you need and click Install. You can also check the manufacturer’s website for patches, updated drivers or to simply find out about Windows 7 support for the particular product.

18.) How do I uninstall Windows 7?


How to uninstall Windows 7 using the Windows.old folder:


19.) When attempting to install Windows 7, setup reports it cannot save temporary files?

This can be caused by a number of factors, please see the following thread here for possible solutions.

20.) I just did an upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7, but I am seeing a dual boot entry for Windows Vista although that installation has been deleted?

To remove the entry from the boot manager, please install EasyBCD 2.0 beta in Windows 7: https://j.mp/EBCD2

21.) Can I downgrade my OEM version of Windows 7 Professional to Windows XP Professional?

For a limited time of 18 months after the general availability of Windows 7 or the release of a Windows 7 Service Pack, whichever is earlier, the OEM license of Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate will include downgrade rights to Windows XP Professional. After that period the OEM license will enable downgrade rights to Windows Vista Business.


22.) How do I resume a digital download of Windows 7?

If it was downloaded from Digital River, please click on the link below which corresponds to which country you reside in:

United States https://windows7.digitalriver.com/servlet/PromoServlet/promoID.46354000

Canada https://windows7.digitalriver.com/servlet/PromoServlet/promoID.46354400

Europe https://windows7.digitalriver.com/servlet/PromoServlet/promoID.46354500

Australia https://windows7.digitalriver.com/servlet/PromoServlet/promoID.46354600

Microsoft Store: Download Manager Help

23.) I keep receiving a Windows Installer cannot be accessed error when I attempt upgrade to Windows 7?

Try editing the ‘image path’ entry in your registry. See Method 2 in this article


If no help, try the rest of these fixes:

319624: https://support.microsoft.com/kb/319624/

24.) I keep receiving a .NET Framework 2.0 error message everytime I start Windows 7

How to repair the .NET Framework 2.0 and 3.0 on Windows Vista.url

25.) Can you use Windows 7 retail product keys for Windows Anytime Upgrades?

Yes you can, both upgrade and full versions of Windows 7 retail product keys can be used with Windows Anytime Upgrade in editions of Windows 7 that include it (Starter, Home Premium and Professional).

26.) When Windows 7 is booting up for the first time to be used, I encounter a delayed black screen that indicates the machine has hung:

A black screen may occur if there is a problem with the video card drivers and Windows 7. To resolve this problem please follow these steps:

1. Restart the computer.

2. Press the F8 key before it enters Windows.

3. Select the Safe Mode option in the Advanced Boot Options menu and press Enter.

NOTE: If Safe Mode does not work please retry the first two steps and select the Enable low-resolution video (640×480) option instead. If this option is selected your desktop will be bigger than usual this is by design.

4. Once in your desktop, click on Start and select the Control Panel.

5. Select the Hardware and Sound option and then click on Device Manager under Devices and Printers.

6. Expand the Display adapters list this should display the video card that is currently installed on your computer. Please note the make and model before proceeding.

7. Right click the video card under Display Adapters and select Disable.

8. Repeat this step if more than one video card is showing under Display Adapters.

9. Once all display adapters have been disabled restart the computer in normal mode.

At this point you should be able to get into your computer without a problem; however, your video card is disabled so you will need to download and install the latest drivers for it. If you had noted the make and model of card when you were in the device manager you can search for this on the Internet and/or contact the hardware manufacturer for help. Once the drivers are installed correctly on the system you should be able to boot normally without any resolution problems.

I will continue to update this regularly with new answers to common questions associated with deploying Windows 7. If you have any questions of your own, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

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