This is the story of installing Windows 7 Professional (64bit) on a HP dv4t-1300 Notebook that had a factory installation of Vista Home Premium (64bit).
The Notebook with Vista Home Premium was setup last year using my guidelines at How to Setup a Vista Laptop.
The 320GB hard disk was partitioned and all the User folders were moved to D: drive. The C: drive had only the Vista Operating System. This is essential if you want to clean install a new OS without going through the elaborate process of data backup. Also this helps in restoring the system from a Ghost Disk Image with a minimum fuss.
The Vista Home Premium cannot be upgraded in place with a Windows 7 Professional. You have to do a custom install. There are two types of custom installs. One where you start the process within Windows Vista Home Premium and the other where you boot the Notebook with the new Windows 7 disk and run setup from there. The advantage of the second method is that there is absolutely no carryover from the previous OS on drive C:. During the initial screens you can choose the advance options and format drive C: before proceeding to install the new OS. Of course this was possible since I had nothing but the OS on the drive C:
The detailed steps I carried out are as below.
1. Ran Disk Cleanup on the Vista Home Premium installation and deleted all unnecessary files. Deleted all system restore points to free up additional space.
2. Created a Ghost Image of drive C:.
3. Then I ran the Easy Transfer Wizard and saved the settings on an external drive. You must review the material being saved and its locations. In my case only the settings needed to be saved as my data was already on different drives. I needed about 3GB space for saving the settings.
4. Restarted the system and booted the Notebook from the Windows 7 Professional disk. On the screen that asks you to select the partition to install the new OS, I chose the advanced options and formatted drive C: before proceeding to install Windows 7 Professional.
5. After Windows 7 was installed, I installed the Microsoft Security Essentials for Virus Protection.
6. Then I moved the User Document folders to their location of other drives.
7. Then I installed Zune software, Microsoft Office and Windows Live Essential Programs like Messenger, Movie Maker, Photo Gallery etc.
8. All the settings were then restored by running the Easy Transfer Wizard.
9. Then a disk cleanup was done before defragmenting the drive C: and imaging the finished installation with Ghost for backup. I also setup the defragmentation schedule to daily defrag in the morning.
The HP dv4t-1300 Notebook works extremely well with Windows 7 – Money well spent!
You can find detailed instructions on how to do such custom upgrade at Upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7 (custom installation)