Windows 7 Beta to RC transition - What you need to know

Every one of us is waiting for the upcoming Windows 7 RC release. In the meantime, Windows 7 Team has blogged on the upgrade experience from pre-RC builds to RC build, even when the RC dates are not officially out. This blog post indeed shows the openness of the Windows 7 Team to discuss various issues regarding Windows 7 RC. If you are expecting any major announcement, then this post does not have any!

The blog post talks a little about upgrading Windows Vista to Windows 7, but as we discussed earlier there is no upgrade path available from Windows XP to Windows 7

"There's no change here to the plan as has been discussed on many forums. We realized at the start of this project that the "upgrade" from XP would not be an experience we think would yield the best results. There are simply too many changes in how PCs have been configured (applets, hardware support, driver model, etc.) that having all of that support carry forth to Windows 7 would not be nearly as high quality as a clean install"

Microsoft recommends users to do a clean install rather than upgrading from Windows 7 Beta (or any other builds) to Windows 7 RC build. It is not possible to upgrade your Windows 7 Beta to RC unless you bypass the check for the pre-release upgrade. Even though this is not recommended by Microsoft, below are the steps to bypass this check (from the E7 blog):

  • Download the ISO as you did previously and burn the ISO to a DVD
  • Copy the whole image to a storage location you wish to run the upgrade from (a bootable flash drive or a directory on any partition on the machine running the pre-release build)
  • Browse to the sources directory
  • Open the file cversion.ini in a text editor like Notepad
  • Modify the MinClient build number to a value lower than the down-level build. For example, change 7100 to 7000
  • Save the file in place with the same name
  • Run setup like you would normally from this modified copy of the image and the version check will be bypassed

(atleast this confirms the new 7100 milestone)

So, make sure you backup your machine or use Windows Easy Transfer to move your accounts, settings, files etc., and then install Windows 7 RC.

Microsoft also discussed about the various leaked builds and the users' complaints in those builds, which was quite interesting

"From time to time we've noticed on a few blogs that people are using builds that we have not officially released and complained of "instabilities" after upgrade. Nearly all of these have been these build-to-build issues. We've seen people talk about how a messenger client stopped working, a printer or device "disappears", or start menu shortcuts are duplicated. These are often harmless and worst case often involves reinstalling the software or device."

And cautioned users only to use the builds which are officially released from Microsoft even though everybody are tempted to try out the new & latest build(s)

"One other related caution is INSTALL ONLY OFFICIALLY RELEASED BUILDS FROM MICROSOFT. It will always be tempting to get the build with the "mod" already done but you really never know what else has been done to the build. There's a thrill in getting the latest, we know, but that also comes with risks that can't even be quantified. For the RC we will work to release a hash or some other way to validate the build, but the best way is to always download directly from Microsoft."

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"there is no upgrade path available from Windows XP to Windows 7" -- Then unfortunately Win7 is doomed for the average joe xp user. lol

rm20010 said,
I like how they acknowledge the presence of a build with the "mod." a.k.a. 7068. :P

i think they are talking about the upgrade mod. They foresee torrents of the RC build with the mod already done.

This is silly. Surely Microsoft could have told us earlier that we would essentially have to do a clean install if we want to upgrade the beta to the RC? I was going to do a clean install when upgrading to the RTM as that makes sense, but I don't have time to do a clean install and try and get hold of all my programs, environmental variables, etc again

Calum said,
This is silly. Surely Microsoft could have told us earlier that we would essentially have to do a clean install if we want to upgrade the beta to the RC? I was going to do a clean install when upgrading to the RTM as that makes sense, but I don't have time to do a clean install and try and get hold of all my programs, environmental variables, etc again :(

That is the way it has been in every single windows beta... all clean installs until the RC then upgrade is supported

Well that is strange. Don't usually pass a milestone or build jump during final testing specially when they're trying to freeze code rather then continue developing (isn't this what beta is for? :S)... I guess they left TAP testing and things till a bit late in the program and have made a bit of a mess of it. Nothing's perfect however. Will clean install this build.

maybe this will finally shut up the people who were screaming 71xx builds are fake because there is too many builds *rolls eyes* MS has always artificailly jumped builds on major milestones

Windows 7 is by far the best version of Windows to actually use the UPGRADE feature. It's been absolutely flawless if you follow any recommendations that the compatibility checker finds. There is absolutly no reason that I can see to do a CLEAN install unless you are having ISSUES with your current install. Just make SURE everything is removed that could possibly be a conflict Windows 7 before the UPGRADE.

The ONLY thing I found was a problem in transferring a single 30GB file to a portable USB drive; it failed at about 26GB with a white screen and locked causing a required reboot to recover. I finally did a CLEAN install of 7068 and the problem still existed from 7000 to 7068, so it's a driver issues with windows 7 that hopefully will be cleared up soon.

Before UPGRADING I removed my Endpoint, all my codec's (CCC), QuickTime, and WMDC. The only thing I left was VMware, which Windows 7 apparently has a problem with VMPlayer. This seems to have made for a great UPGRADE. I use AVast! Pro as my preferred Virus Checker for Windows 7 because Endpoint is NOT compatible at this time for Windows 7.

Windows 7 is what Vista should have been.

Yeah I've made the upgrade from 7000 to 7048, and 7048 to 7068. Almost every program worked flawlessly after the upgrade, except for Windows Live Mail(quite ironic..), which corrupted my inbox and contacts every time. >.

PS: At Step 1 above many of you are probably thinking, "hey why don't you just let me mount the ISO and skip the plastic disc". We've heard this feedback and we deserve the feedback. We don't have this feature in Windows 7 and we should have. So please don't fill the comments with this request. There are several third party tools for mounting and if you've got a Vista image there's a good chance your PC came with those tools on it.

Interesting that they openly admit that they should have ISO mounting built-in. Is this a possible additional feature of the RC?

eagerly awaiting Windows 7 RC ... and so are friends of mine, even those users who never test or check out this type of stuff, they usually see my install and instantly want it, a quality RC will hopefully be a great switch for them

and why would anybody upgrade from beta to beta to RC build really? thats just asking for problems, i've done clean install since 7000, its common sense really usual they never recommend upgrading to and from any builds...though I have not had any problems goin from 7057 to 7068...just so much quicker We will have to see how brave I am...RC here we come...

Neroscent said,
"These same steps will be required as we transition from the RC milestone to the RTM milestone."

If you UPGRADED to RC from VISTA then you should backup that VISTA install and UPGRADE to RTM from that restored VISTA install. This is what I have done in the past for the few Windows 7 installs. Usuall there is not that much which has chaned after the UPGRADE to Windows 7. Just blast your last Vista OS image back on and UPGRADE to the RTM.

I am noticing just how transparent the team as a whole are being. And not only that, they aren't condemning the people who use leaked builds, merely saying that if you experience problems it's probably because the build isn't official. I think common sense has finally won over and they are being much more understanding.