What is a Windows 7 Upgrade Compatibility Report, and what do the results mean?

This report might appear during the Windows 7 upgrade process if Windows detects issues that might affect the upgrade. The report includes recommended steps to take, and a copy of it is saved to your desktop so you can refer to it later.

Picture of a Windows 7 upgrade compatibility report
View issues that might affect an upgrade to Windows 7.


  • You can get a similar report with more compatibility information before you begin upgrading Windows 7 by using the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. It helps find potential compatibility issues with your computer's hardware, devices, or programs that might affect installing Windows 7, and gives recommendations on what to do before you begin the upgrade process. To download the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, go to the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor webpage.

  • Some programs such as Windows Mail and Outlook Express are no longer included in Windows 7. If you used Windows Mail or Outlook Express as your e‑mail program, you'll need to install a new e‑mail program after you finish installing Windows 7 to read your messages or to send and receive e‑mail. For more information about programs you can use, go to Looking for Windows Mail? on the Windows website.

If you see an upgrade compatibility report during Windows 7 installation, the steps you might need to take vary depending on how significant each issue is:

  • Action is recommended before continuing the upgrade. Some incompatibilities won’t stop the upgrade process, but a program or driver might not work correctly afterward. In these cases, the report recommends you uninstall a program or update a driver. If you don't take any action, the program or driver might not work correctly or might be uninstalled during the upgrade process.

    Because the upgrade process might also affect whether the program will uninstall properly in Windows 7, it's best to follow the recommendations and uninstall the program before you finish upgrading Windows 7 rather than after.

    Some programs in the list might be marked with an asterisk (*). These programs should work correctly if you reinstall them after Windows 7 installation is complete. If the program doesn't have an asterisk, then a known compatibility problem might prevent the program from installing or working correctly in Windows 7.

  • You need to take action in order to upgrade. If Windows finds hardware or software that's incompatible with the upgrade process itself, you'll see a list of the items and steps to take before you can upgrade. Sometimes, you'll need to uninstall a program, update a driver, or disconnect a device, and then restart the upgrade process.

  • You can't upgrade Windows 7. Some versions of Windows can't be upgraded with the installation disc you're trying to use. For example, you can't upgrade a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version, or upgrade from a higher edition of Windows, such as Windows Vista Ultimate, to a lower edition, such as Windows 7 Home Premium.

    In this case, the only way to install the edition of Windows 7 you’re trying to install is by selecting the Custom option during installation. However, unlike Upgrade, the Custom option does not preserve your files, settings, or programs. You'll need to back up your files and settings before installing Windows 7, restore them after installation is complete, and you'll also need to reinstall your programs using the original installation discs or files. For more information about using the Custom option to install Windows 7, go to the Microsoft website.

Article ID: MSW700005