Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows Vista

This article discusses the installation choices available to you for upgrading from Windows XP to Windows Vista. How you upgrade depends on your answers to these three questions:

  • Do you have an upgrade copy or a full product copy of Windows Vista? This is described on the front of the Windows Vista retail box or on an online sales receipt.

    With an upgrade copy, you can install Windows Vista if you already own a compliant, licensed version of Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Vista. With a full copy, you can upgrade, where possible, or perform a clean installation of Windows Vista, even if no operating system is installed on your computer.

  • Does the version of Windows currently installed on your computer allow you to perform an upgrade to the edition of Windows Vista that you purchased? For help deciding whether to perform an upgrade or a clean installation, see the table later in this topic.

  • Do you want to preserve your personal files, settings, and programs?

    Performing an upgrade preserves your personal files, settings, and programs. Performing a clean installation of Windows Vista does not preserve your personal files, settings, and programs. For information about how to restore your files after a clean installation, go to How to restore your personal files after you perform a custom installation online.

You might also need to decide whether to install a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows Vista. For more information, see 32-bit and 64-bit Windows: frequently asked questions.

Warnings

  • If you have an upgrade copy of a 32-bit version of Windows Vista, you must start the upgrade while running your existing version of Windows.

  • If you are using an upgrade copy of a 64-bit version of Windows Vista to upgrade a 64-bit version of Windows XP Professional, you must perform a clean installation of Windows Vista.

For instructions on performing an upgrade or a clean installation, see Installing and reinstalling Windows.

For more information about installing and upgrading 32-bit versions of Windows, go to Installation choices for Windows Vista (32-bit) online.

What installation choices are available to you?

The following tables show the available installation choices when you upgrade from Windows XP to Windows Vista.

Windows XP Home Edition to Do this
Windows XP Home Edition to

Windows Vista Home Basic

Do this

Upgrade

Windows XP Home Edition to

Windows Vista Home Premium

Do this

Upgrade

Windows XP Home Edition to

Windows Vista Business

Do this

Upgrade

Windows XP Home Edition to

Windows Vista Ultimate

Do this

Upgrade

Windows XP Home Edition to

Windows Vista (64-bit versions)

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Professional (32-bit) to Do this
Windows XP Professional (32-bit) to

Windows Vista Home Basic

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Professional (32-bit) to

Windows Vista Home Premium

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Professional (32-bit) to

Windows Vista Business

Do this

Upgrade

Windows XP Professional (32-bit) to

Windows Vista Ultimate

Do this

Upgrade

Windows XP Professional (32-bit) to

Windows Vista (64-bit versions)

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition to Do this
Windows XP Professional x64 Edition to

Windows Vista Home Basic

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition to

Windows Vista Home Premium

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition to

Windows Vista Business

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition to

Windows Vista Ultimate

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition to

Windows Vista (64-bit versions)

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Tablet PC Edition to Do this
Windows XP Tablet PC Edition to

Windows Vista Home Basic

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Tablet PC Edition to

Windows Vista Home Premium

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Tablet PC Edition to

Windows Vista Business

Do this

Upgrade

Windows XP Tablet PC Edition to

Windows Vista Ultimate

Do this

Upgrade

Windows XP Tablet PC Edition to

Windows Vista (64-bit versions)

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Media Center 2002 Edition to Do this
Windows XP Media Center 2002 Edition to

Windows Vista Home Basic

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Media Center 2002 Edition to

Windows Vista Home Premium

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Media Center 2002 Edition to

Windows Vista Business

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Media Center 2002 Edition to

Windows Vista Ultimate

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Media Center 2002 Edition to

Windows Vista (64-bit versions)

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Media Center 2004 Edition to Do this
Windows XP Media Center 2004 Edition to

Windows Vista Home Basic

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Media Center 2004 Edition to

Windows Vista Home Premium

Do this

Upgrade

Windows XP Media Center 2004 Edition to

Windows Vista Business

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Media Center 2004 Edition to

Windows Vista Ultimate

Do this

Upgrade

Windows XP Media Center 2004 Edition to

Windows Vista (64-bit versions)

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Media Center 2005 Edition to Do this
Windows XP Media Center 2005 Edition to

Windows Vista Home Basic

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Media Center 2005 Edition to

Windows Vista Home Premium

Do this

Upgrade

Windows XP Media Center 2005 Edition to

Windows Vista Business

Do this

Clean installation

Windows XP Media Center 2005 Edition to

Windows Vista Ultimate

Do this

Upgrade

Windows XP Media Center 2005 Edition to

Windows Vista (64-bit versions)

Do this

Clean installation

Before upgrading, check your hardware compatibility

Before you upgrade, you should check your hardware compatibility. Go to the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor on the Microsoft website. Alternatively, you can run the Upgrade Advisor during the upgrade by clicking Check compatibility online on the Install Windows page.

Upgrading from Windows XP Home Edition to Windows Vista (32-bit)

If you have Windows XP Home Edition installed, you can perform an upgrade or a clean installation to install the following editions of Windows Vista: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate.

Upgrading from Windows XP Professional to Windows Vista (32-bit)

If you have Windows XP Professional installed, you can perform an upgrade to Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate. You can perform a clean installation to the following editions of Windows Vista: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate.

Upgrading from Windows XP Tablet PC Edition to Windows Vista (32-bit)

If you have Windows XP Tablet PC Edition installed, you can perform an upgrade to Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate. You can perform a clean installation to the following editions of Windows Vista: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate.

Upgrading from Windows XP Media Center Edition to Windows Vista (32-bit)

If you have Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 or Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 installed, you can perform an upgrade to Windows Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Ultimate.

If you have Windows XP Media Center Edition 2002, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004, or Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 installed, you can perform a clean installation to the following editions of Windows Vista: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate.

Upgrading from a 64-bit version of Windows XP Professional to a 64-bit version of Windows Vista

You can use an upgrade copy of a 64-bit version of Windows Vista. To do this, however, you must perform a clean installation.

For instructions about performing a clean installation, see Installing and reinstalling Windows.

For more information about installing and upgrading 64-bit versions of Windows, go to Installation choices for Windows Vista (64-bit) online.

Upgrading from a 32-bit version of Windows XP to a 64-bit version of Windows Vista

You cannot perform an upgrade from a 32-bit version of Windows XP to a 64-bit version of Windows Vista. However, you can use an upgrade copy of Windows Vista to perform a clean installation of a 64-bit version of Windows Vista.

For instructions about performing a clean installation, see Installing and reinstalling Windows.

For more information about installing and upgrading 64-bit versions of Windows, go to Installation choices for Windows Vista (64-bit) online.

Warning

  • Begin the installation by inserting the 64-bit Windows Vista DVD into your computer's disc drive, and then restart your computer. You must start the 64-bit Windows Vista installation from the Windows Vista 64-bit disc because Windows installation will not run on a 32-bit version of Windows.