When you upgrade to Windows 7, you keep your files, settings, and programs from Windows Vista.
Be sure your computer is running either Service Pack 1 or Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista. For more information, go to the Service Pack Center.
Connect your PC to the Internet so you can get installation updates during the installation process. (If you don't have an Internet connection, you can still install Windows 7.)
Update your antivirus program, run it, and then turn it off. After you install Windows 7, remember to turn the antivirus program back on, or install new antivirus software that works with Windows 7.
If you have a Windows 7 installation package, choose either the 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7 installation disc, depending on which version of Windows Vista you're currently running.
Find your 25-character Windows product key. You can find it on the installation disc holder inside the Windows package—or in a confirmation e‑mail if you purchased and downloaded Windows 7 online.
If you use a fingerprint reader or other biometric device to log on to your computer, make sure you write down your password before upgrading. You must log on by typing your user name and password the first time that you use Windows after upgrading.
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, after you've finished installing Windows 7, you'll need to install a new e‑mail program to read your messages or to send and receive e‑mail. For more information about Windows Live Mail and instructions for importing your e‑mail, contacts, and calendar, see Importing your e‑mail, messages, contacts, and calendar into Windows Live Mail.
Turn on your PC.
After Windows Vista has started, do one of the following:
If you've downloaded Windows 7, browse to the installation file you downloaded, and then double-click it (often identified as an Application file under the Type column).
If you have a Windows 7 installation disc, insert the disc into your computer. Setup should start automatically. If it doesn't, click the Start button, click Computer, double-click your DVD drive to open the Windows 7 installation disc, and then double-click setup.exe.
If you've downloaded Windows 7 installation files onto a USB flash drive, insert the drive into your computer. Setup should start automatically. If it doesn't, click the Start button, click Computer, double-click the drive, and then double-click setup.exe.
On the Install Windows page, click Install now.
On the Get important updates for installation page, we recommend getting the latest updates to help ensure a successful installation, and to help protect your computer against security threats. Your computer will need to be connected to the Internet during Windows 7 installation to get these updates.
On the Please read the license terms page, if you accept the license terms, click I accept the license terms, and then click Next.
On the Which type of installation do you want? page, click Upgrade.
You might see a compatibility report.
Continue to follow the instructions to finish installing Windows 7.
A driver is software that allows your computer to communicate with hardware or devices. Without drivers, the hardware you connect to your computer—for example, a video card or a printer—won't work properly.
In most cases, drivers come with Windows, or you can find them by using Windows Update and checking for updates. To do so, click the Start button, click All Programs, and then click Windows Update.
If Windows Update doesn't have the driver you need, check out the Windows 7 Compatibility Center, which has direct links to driver downloads and manufacturer support pages. For more information, see Update a driver for hardware that isn't working properly.
You'll need to re-share any Plug and Play printers that you'd shared in Windows Vista. To share a printer in Windows 7:
Click the Start button, and then, on the Start menu, click Devices and Printers.
Right-click the printer you want to share, and then click Printer properties.
On the Sharing tab, select the Share this printer check box, and then click OK.
If other computers on your network still can't access the printer, remove the printer from the other computers, and then add the printer again. For more information, see Share a printer.
Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor
Getting started with Windows 7
Know what works: Windows 7 Compatibility Center