After Autodesk announced the end of support for Windows Vista (only for the upcoming 2013 family), I understood that it is time to say goodbye to my good old installation of Windows Vista 64 and upgrade it to a standard Windows 7 64-bit. The 2013 versions are close enough.
If you have - like me - your system bugged with dozens of applications, you definitely don't want to reinstall them individually. Therefore, it is out of the question to perform a clean installation of Windows 7. Fortunately there is an option to do an "in-place" upgrade to Win7 - it maintains all the installation and settings from the original Vista operating system.
Here is my fresh experience from such upgrade. The whole process is very simple. From the installation DVD "Windows 7 Enterprise 64 SP1" start SETUP.EXE (as a standard Win Vista program), choose the type of installation (in-place) and then just wait. Wait a lot. I have expected the upgrade will take about two hours, after all my workstation (HP xw4600 Quad-Core 2) is no longer the youngest horse. But waiting took longer, much longer than that - the whole upgrade process eventually lasted 7 hours! Yikes! I recommend to perform the upgrade overnight -- after the initial prompts, the process is fully automatic, it does not ask for anything, reboots itself as necessary -- and you won't get nervous from its multiple apparent "hangups". The messages like "20% completed" and "40% completed" and "72% completed" can hang on screen for tens of minutes. Do not give up. And when you reach for the reset button (even this is quite safe, the upgrade will reportedly roll back to "Vista"), hold on and really do not give up. This upgrade can be simply slow.
The result of these 7 hours of hard work is exactly the same looking and same working Windows 7 operating system (see the picture), all applications running, network networking, printers printing, user settings are retained, desktop icons are in place, you will have even more free disk space (probably the old restore points were deleted). Just beware, Autodesk local licenses may be deactivated (Error 5.2.2) - it can be easily remedied by online activation, or by e-mail to the factory.
I must admit that the new system seems to behave much faster and responsive, but I do not overrate this - every OS is faster just after the installation and then gradually deteriorates ...