How Useful is the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor?

Not very.

I swear, some days it is like they don’t want to sell me a new operating system.

But let me pull back and tell my minor tale.

I thought I had better do some research into another aspect of the upgrade equation.  I thought I had better look into how much software I am going to have to buy upgrades for in order to get going with Windows 7.

It is fun to talk about the hardware, and it cost there can add up, but you cannot ignore the software end of things either.

As in the past, Microsoft has a utility you can run on your system to help you with that information.

I remember past versions of that utility, used for operating systems long gone.  It was a utility of negativity.  There was the inevitable short list of items that were compatible, and then the huge, arm-length list of items of that were either known to be incompatible or were unknown.  And unknown was always assumed to be incompatible.

But even with all the negativity, the utility at least told you something.  You got a hint at what might work or might not.

So I grabbed the current utility, the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to see what it had to say.

I downloaded it, installed it, and ran it.  It churned for about 10 minutes on my computer and then Microsoft’s Grand Software Vizier came up with its report.

The Magic Advisor Says...

Seven items total were mentioned.

Six were listed as fully compatible.

Four of those were from Microsoft.

One of them was the damn Upgrade Advisor.  Glad to know that will still work after I upgrade!

And they weren’t really sure about Steam.

But none of the other applications on my machine was mentioned anywhere.  Not a one.

You would think that World of Warcraft might have been deemed significant enough for notice.  Or maybe Microsoft Office 2003.  Have you heard of that before?  Is it going to run on Windows 7?

Yes, it told me a few other things.  It said my PC was capable of running Windows 7.  I had figured that one out myself.  And it told me it had never heard of our printer before.  Who are these Epson people?  How long have they been making printers?

Nice work there Microsoft.  Really a bang up job.

I was invited to go to their compatibility web site and search for individual applications.  You know, something you would expect this particular application to handle for me.

I tried that for a bit.  It appears to serve as a showcase for companies to display the latest version of their software with no mention of software they might have been selling up to very recently.  I’m looking at you Corel.

Well, I guess it is going to take a dive into the pool to tell me how deep the water really is.

9 thoughts on “How Useful is the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor?

  1. Mojeaux

    Are you going with an upgrade or a fresh install of the OS? I would recommend a fresh install instead of the upgrade route. I do this for a living (well my techs do) and it’s always a better idea to go for a fresh install. You tend to inherit problems from your old install if you go the upgrade route.


  2. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    Well, there is no “upgrade” from XP to Win7. The only choice you have is whether you format your hard drive or not. Either way, the upgrade package installs a fresh copy of the OS.

    If I try to upgrade my current system, I will likely just do the format option just for the sake of thoroughness. I have enough external drive space to save off all my stuff.

    @Vlad – Vista is another WindowsME in my mind. Best just ignored and never spoken of again.


  3. Facepalm

    I went down this very same path this weekend. I’m running the glorified WinME (aka Vista) and have been wanting to upgrade to Win7 for awhile.

    So I poked around and downloaded the Win7 Upgrade Advisor and let it run for about 15 minutes. It came up with nearly the same list. 7 items total, 1 being the Advisor. Absolutely useless.

    I wasn’t that concerned however because I plan on simply starting from scratch and reformatting. As has been pointed out upgrading from Vista to Win7 would make a good punchline for a SitCom.


  4. Snafzg

    Been putting off this upgrade for a while myself… Using a version of TinyXP atm but I keep encountering network issues (none of our laptops can connect via wireless if my desktop is on).

    I would have to do a fresh install as well. I hate that I’m basically going to sacrifice an entire evening to set up my system with Win7, and that’s if everything goes according to plan. If not, I’m sure it’ll take longer and give me a few gray hairs.


  5. Hudson

    Oh my lord…how hard is this really?

    You buy windows 7 with or without all the fancy admin features. So you get like Windows 7 Home premium.

    Put CD in, boot off CD, delete partition, create partition, format drive, BAM you are up and running in 20 minutes.

    I thought you people all worked in the tech industry? IT IS NOT THIS DIFFICULT. No one uses that stupid windows advisor. You get the package, you blow your drive out, you do a clean install.



  6. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Hudson – It is precisely because I work in tech that I am this careful.

    A good portion of my time is spent dealing with customers who behave exactly as you describe and find that their current application or environment no longer functions. Then they realize that they should have perhaps taken a bit more care.

    Basically, what you describe if is fine for people who do not care about any of their current data or applications.

    Those of us who live in the real world and know that every action has consequences pay attention to these things.

    And just because of your last line, I promise FIVE MORE WINDOWS POSTS! Minimum.

    Who are you to deny me my God given right to bash Microsoft?

    I think the next one will go through exactly why I need Windows 7 Professional.


  7. Random Poster

    The only real compatibility issues I have run in to with Windows 7 are some older games and a lot of those can be fixed with the compatibility mode option (which works surprisingly well). I never actually used the compatibility tool. Just sort of said “screw it” since I just wanted to get Windows 7 and hoped for the best. Not the most careful of plans but it worked.

    and @ all the Vista hate, It was horrible upon release but was actually quite good by the time Windows 7 came out. I don’t think WindowsME ever got good :D Also going from Vista to Windows 7 you don’t really notice that much of a difference as far as user interface goes (I STILL hate the “new and improved” search)


  8. PeterD

    The short version is that almost everything that ran on Windows XP will run on Windows 7, though some software may need to be run in Win XP compatibility mode.

    The main things that will need replacing are device drivers (duh) and the oddball peripheral device that hasn’t gotten driver updates (some old video cards, webcams, sounds cards, etc.)

    When I first made the transition in summer 09 there were a few bumps in the road, but these days I just install whatever I want and it works, no problem.


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