Upgrading a PC from Windows Vista to Windows 7 can take between half an hour and close to a day, tests conducted by Microsoft have shown.
The time benchmarks for the installation of Microsoft's upcoming operating system — due for release next month — were conducted by the software company's Windows Deployment team. In a blog post on 2 September, team member Chris Hernandez said the objective was to "determine whether an upgrade from Vista SP1 to Windows 7 was within a 5 percent threshold faster than an upgrade from Vista SP1 to Vista SP1".
Hernandez explained that an 'upgrade' from Vista's first service pack to the same release was chosen as the point of comparison because XP is a "vastly different operating system compared to Vista", XP does not support 64-bit upgrades (one of the main metrics in the tests, alongside 32-bit upgrades), and Vista-SP1-to-Vista-SP1 is "a valid upgrade path that exercises all upgrade code”.
In the tests, 32-bit upgrades were always faster than their 64-bit counterparts. The shortest times were recorded when performing a clean installation on mid- and high-end 32-bit systems. At the other end of the scale, the tests showed that 'power-users' — those throwing 650GB of data and 40 applications into the scenario — can expect an upgrade time of 1220 minutes (or 20 hours and 20 minutes) when upgrading a 32-bit system. The same users would take half the time to upgrade their operating system on a 64-bit system.
"The "super user profile" is not a normal user," Hernandez wrote, adding that such a user profile was "not representative of what most 'regular' users, who typically have a much smaller data set and would therefore experience a much, much shorter upgrade time".
A 'medium-user' with 70GB of data and 20 applications would, on a medium-specced, 32-bit system, take 115 minutes to upgrade from Vista SP1 to Windows 7.