Migrating to Windows 7: Snags

I’ve been making plans to migrate to Windows 7 ever since final plans were announced.  I’m nearly ready.  Windows 7 was released to Action Pack subscribers late last week, a few days earlier than scheduled, and I wanted to try putting it on a memory stick so it would go fast when time comes to install.  I followed these excellent instructions from Intowindows.com.

The above message is what I got for my troubles.

I’m currently running Vista Business 32-bit.  I am late to the 64-bit party, even though my machine has a 64-bit processor, the driver situation was not a good one for nVidia chips (my chipset and video card both.)

I chose my one license of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, since virtually every peripheral I have has 64-bit drivers.  Therein lies the problem.

I had wanted to do two things:

  1. Run the BOOTSECT command from my emulated DVD to put the bootsector on the USB stick.  (I use the excellent VirtualCloneDrive to mount ISO images.)
  2. Run the Easy File Transfer tool (MigWiz) and store a copy on the USB disk to run on the “old” OS first before starting installation (which amounts to swapping disks as I will install 7 on a brand new HD.)

No go. 

You cannot run Migwiz or any of the support programs (including Bootsect) on a 32-bit system from a 64-bit disk.

There are a number of inventive ways around this, including finding a 64-bit Vista machine to run on (it just so happened I put several new Vista boxes in service at SATV and I chose 64-bit.), or running a 64-bit instance in Virtualbox.

But most people that go from 32-bit Vista (or XP) to 64-bit Seven will need to use the 32-bit media to run the Easy Transfer tools and put a bootsector on a USB stick (if they choose to go that far.)

It’s still worth doing for me as it will dramatically speed up installation and give me more time with the stack of disks I need to reinstall all the other apps I depend on.

UPDATE:  Microsoft has sidestepped this problem by offering the Easy Transfer Wizard for XP (Vista includes the transfer wizard already.)  There was also a USB/DVD installation tool, but it’s no longer on the Microsoft site.  Ed Bott points out that the license for Seven includes both 32 and 64-bit install disks, so that will work.   In the end, I had no problems installing Seven.

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One Comment on “Migrating to Windows 7: Snags”

  1. Ed says:

    Your license isn\’t restricted to 32-bit or 64-bit. You buy an edition and can then choose which version you want. Retail boxes will come with both media types. Downloads from TechNet and MSDN are available in both 32 and 64 bit. So you use the 32-bit disk to run Easy Transfer, then boot from the 64-bit media to install.


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