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Microsoft Windows Technology

Windows 7 Upgrade Can Take Nearly a Day 706

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the just-sleep-on-it dept.
Eugen writes "A Microsoft Software Engineer has posted the results of tests the company performed on the upgrade time of Windows 7. The metric used was total upgrade time across different user profiles (with different data set sizes and number of programs installed) and different hardware profiles. A clean 32-bit install on what Microsoft calls 'high-end hardware' should take only 30 minutes. In the worst case scenario, the process will take about 1220 minutes. That second extreme is not a typo: Microsoft really did time an upgrade that took 20 hours and 20 minutes. That's with 650GB of data and 40 applications, on mid-end hardware, and during a 32-bit upgrade. We don't even want to know how long it would take if Microsoft had bothered doing the same test with low-end hardware. The other interesting point worth noting is that the 32-bit upgrade is faster on a clean install than a 64-bit upgrade, regardless of the hardware configuration, and is faster on low-end hardware, regardless of the Data Profile. In the other six cases, the 64-bit upgrade is faster than the 32-bit upgrade."
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Microsoft: Windows 7 Upgrade Can Take Nearly a Day

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  • by gparent (1242548) on Monday September 14, 2009 @09:59AM (#29413691)
    Good going MS! Add a few hours to that and they might beat the time it took for a few people I know to upgrade Ubuntu!
    • Re:Almost competing (Score:4, Interesting)

      by sbsheetz (878289) on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:07AM (#29413781)

      Agreed! Good job to MS for being honest in the results they witnessed. At this point I've done quite a few clean installs and upgrades to Win7 on what I would consider low-end systems (early Pentium 4's, 512MB RAM) with my slowest install thus far being around 3 hours.

      And I have seen Ubuntu (one of my FAVORITE desktop OS'es) take no less than 8 hours to complete.

      • Re:Almost competing (Score:5, Informative)

        by tomhudson (43916) < ... <nosduh.arabrab>> on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:30AM (#29414157) Journal

        Agreed! Good job to MS for being honest in the results they witnessed. At this point I've done quite a few clean installs and upgrades to Win7 on what I would consider low-end systems (early Pentium 4's, 512MB RAM) with my slowest install thus far being around 3 hours.

        And I have seen Ubuntu (one of my FAVORITE desktop OS'es) take no less than 8 hours to complete.

        Apples and oranges comparison.

        The various distros throw in an office suite, image tools, tons of other apps, servers, several browsers, compilers, interpreters, etc., and a system to keep ALL of them up to date. What does Microsoft throw in? wordpad and paint. No perl, no python, no php, no apache, ONE browser, no compiler, no package management outside of its' own applications ...

        And forget about trialing it off a bootable cd or usb key to see if it does what you want or breaks on your hardware ...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by fmobus (831767)
        I call your anecdote a fake. My last ubuntu install was by far the longest I ever had, it consisted:

        - less than 1 hour backing up stuff
        - 4 hours repartitioning (I had ordered all the copy/move/resize operations in the worst manner possible :)
        - 40 minutes tops with the installer itself
        - zero minutes restoring backups - I had separated a /home partition
    • by duguk (589689) <dugNO@SPAMfrag.co.uk> on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:20AM (#29413983) Homepage Journal
      I could probably install Gentoo in that amount of time! By hand. Without my fingers.
    • by scratchpaper (1175477) on Monday September 14, 2009 @11:18AM (#29414953)
      IMHO, if you're smart enough to be regularly using Linux, you should be smart enough to know that you should never "upgrade" a distro in-place. Keep /home on a separate partition, and do a clean install every time. It'll save you loads of trouble.
  • Only Vista (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stenchwarrior (1335051) on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:00AM (#29413695)
    That's assuming you were running Vista before. If you were running XP then you have to install clean.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by medv4380 (1604309)
      Maybe they are trying to convince people to clean install when you have Vista by making it unreasonable to upgrade.
    • It turns out that those guesses that Windows makes ("Five hours remaining" actually means "Five seconds remaining") are actually going to become useful! Way to go, Microsoft! The Vista users were probably used to it, so a long upgrade time will be okay.
    • Re:Only Vista (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bigmaddog (184845) on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:18AM (#29413941)

      After 14 years of living with Windows (holy pants, has it been that long?), I'm resigned to installing clean every few years whether there is a new OS or not - it's like a mini-upgrade I give myself, and best of all it's free (for very low values of own time and soul). Basically, in my experience, Windows is sort of like a giant ball of playdough rolling down a city street - it gets dirtier and heavier over time, less appealing and not so colourful, not to mention the used condoms and syringes it occasionally picks up, and so you need to break out a new batch of playdough once in a while. I'm not saying that this is right and that it's a reason to not get angry about these results, but can you imagine the tubs of crap that are being sloshed around in the bowels of your computer when your two-year-old Vista install is being digested for 20h? Are you going to get a pretty result, all clean and good with everything working? Will you be able to uninstall something that didn't quite make it when all is said and done?

      Just start clean, it's easier on the conscience...

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Saint Stephen (19450)

        I built a 64-bit Vista box last year for gaming and it hasn't picked up lint. The reason? Everything other than gaming goes in an XP virtual machine. I've rolled back to the snapshot, applied patches, retaken the snapshot, and then reinstalled apps 3 times in the VM, but the main box has stayed minty fresh.

        • Re:Only Vista (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@NospAm.gmail.com> on Monday September 14, 2009 @12:05PM (#29415601)

          I built a 64-bit Vista box last year for gaming and it hasn't picked up lint. The reason? Everything other than gaming goes in an XP virtual machine. I've rolled back to the snapshot, applied patches, retaken the snapshot, and then reinstalled apps 3 times in the VM, but the main box has stayed minty fresh.

          Comments like this remind me of why windows will never hit the mainstream. "Regular" users will never be able to preform complex tasks such as installing two operating systems instead of one, or not using their operating system so that it doesn't break...

          oh wait, something's wrong here... ;)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Dan667 (564390)
        I have a copy of gentoo running mythtv that I have been running for 8 years and completely changed the hardware out twice (even an amd to intel cpu switch). I expect that it will last as long as I want it too without any re-installs.
      • by Moraelin (679338) on Monday September 14, 2009 @12:09PM (#29415681) Journal

        Actually, from my experience the "cruft" that supposedly gets Windows bloatier and slower, isn't as much a Microsoft issue, but the result of all those crap half-arsed 3'rd party installers and (more importantly) uninstallers, that placed crap all over the place and then forgot to uninstall it.

        On my home machine I must have thousands of copy protection DLL's and drivers from all those paranoid game publishers alone, because God forbid that they don't place yet another obfuscated and untested driver on the DVD chain. You know, what with all the pirates running a cracked version without that anyway, God forbid that they'd stop punishing us honest paying customers instead. I must have such an unholy mix of StarForce, SafeDisc, SecuROM, and a few other things shat by the bowels of Hell, that it's got to reach either critical mass or sentience one of these days and start WW3.

        And of course half the uninstallers forget to take _that_ crap out.

        Then there are all the non-game things that just have to try to keep themselves resident, load their DLL's or custom libraries deep in Windows, and whatever. Last time I installed even Mozilla or Open Office from scratch (admittedly, that was way back in 2.0 days), they just had to try to keep themselves resident in memory, to appear that they launch faster than the MS alternative. Using the user's few RAM as your own private RAM-Disk has got to be an acceptable substitute to optimizing your own freaking code to actually load faster. But nah, the user surely has nothing better to do with his RAM than to help with out willy-waving, and will gladly buy another gigabyte just to help one more incompetent company brag about loading faster than MS.

        Or here's an idea: how about using the standard widgets of whatever OS and window manager you run on? Now that ought to shave off the time of loading yet another cutesy skinned UI.

        And then there's stuff loaded apparently for my convenience, that is "mine" only if I happened to be a marketroid for one of those vendors. Like EA's auto-downloader trying to stay resident in the tray, for no other reason than that apparently they don't want to let me download patches with a browser. Sun's Java trying to stay resident in the tray, just so it can pester me with reminders to get the latest Java 1.6... when I'm deliberately trying to test code that _must_ run with Java 1.4. Etc.

        And then there's the occasional screw-up like an older version of McAffee antivirus which, I swear to the elder gods, actually couldn't cope with being installed in another directory than the default. So the first update actually installed a second copy, at the default location, but let the old one active too. So suddenly I had two antiviruses stacked in memory, and of course uninstalling only removed one. Took some grumbling and digging through Windows innards, just to get rid of it.

        Then there's the stuff which plants its bits so deep in Windows, that you almost have to kill the host to get the parasite out. Goa'uld style. And I'm not even talking actual viruses and trojans, but antiviruses, and the occasional program which just has to bombard you with ads at all times. (And I'm still not even talking proper malware. An older RealPlayer version did just that... and that's why it was the last version I ever tried.)

        Then there's stuff which just has to add some unneeded functionality, apparently just because they can't trust the default Windows implementation to do its job. I'm talking stuff like Creative adding its own disk change detector, never mind that Windows's auto-play works perfectly well as it is. Or that if I disabled that, I don't want Creative automatically starting to play anything either.

        Then there are all the tons of custom skinned widgets, libraries that I need just for one single program (yeah, I sooo always wanted a display driver that needs .Net, thank you ATI), etc.

        It's just sad. It used to be that you needed a virus to get your computer to crawl, while your hard drive icon and modem LEDs blink like crazy. For the last decade increasingly you only need to install legit paid-for software.

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      clean install is going to scare a lot of the old softies. Just wait for the uproar when "xp compatibility mode" doesn't run half of their crap, too.

      Oh well, at least MS is doing to vista what they should have done what, 5 years ago?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:01AM (#29413707)

    when you consider the lifetime of misery that follows?

    • by wild_quinine (998562) on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:13AM (#29413849) Homepage

      What's a day when you consider the lifetime of misery that follows?

      It's like the complete opposite of Linux: you spend a lifetime of misery trying to figure out what the fuck is going on, and then get to use it for 20 hours before you realise you need to use something that only runs in Windows.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AP31R0N (723649)

      Yes, the misery of having a machine that runs video games, can use modern peripherals without extra work, can inter-operate with the most possible other machines and users and actually get stuff done!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Lumpy (12016)

        I know VISTA sucks hard in that regard.

        That is my experience with Vista64 exactly. Nothing but pain and misery.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:01AM (#29413709) Homepage

    This reminds me of a funny bit from "The Three Stooges" that goes something like this:

    Moe: I'll take this end
    Larry: I'll take that end
    Curly: ...and I'll take the end in the middle!

    Just so you know, there isn't an "end" in the middle. There is "low-end" and "high-end" but there is no "mid-end." That would be medium level, mid-grade or average or something else.

    Mid-end is almost as jarring to the grammar nodes of my brain as "incentivize."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:03AM (#29413735)

    *never* upgrade Windows! Always start from a clean disk!

    • by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:23AM (#29414033)
      It's not funny, it's true. I've worked at MS, and while I personally tested a whole bunch of install scenarios (for a specific bundled app), upgrade always got short shrift and had the most problems. Yes, the most egregious errors were addressed, but most of the intensive testing happens on clean installs. Back up your files and install clean, unless you're really interested in finding all the corner cases.
    • by neokushan (932374) on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:24AM (#29414057)

      Funny? Sorry, but I am an AVID windows user and I would never ever recommend "upgrading" to a newer version. To be honest, the upgrade procedure DOES work and it works quite well, but if you're going to change your OS, you may as well start fresh and avoid the potential errors that sometimes (although rarely) do crop up.
      This also applies to service packs, I learned that lesson the hard way when XP SP2 was released. I don't know if anyone remembers but a fresh, clean install of XP with SP2 slipstreamed onto the installation disk worked perfectly well, but those who installed SP2 on top of Vanilla XP or XP SP1 ran into some very strange problems with program compatibility and such.

    • by Karellen (104380) on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:31AM (#29414185) Homepage

      Until Microsoft can get Windows to upgrade cleanly from one release to another, it'll never be ready for the desktop.

  • FUD (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Idiomatick (976696) on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:04AM (#29413747)
    Installing win7 from a usb stick on a medium computer took me 20mins or so maybe a little less. What is the point of bringing this up. Its like.
    'Well the ferrari enzo is pretty shitty. It's 0~60 really drops when it has bare tires and is driving up a 70 degree slope in the rain.' (Car analogy just for you guys.)

    If it will likely never happen that way, who gives a flying fuck?
    • Re:FUD (Score:4, Insightful)

      by aristotle-dude (626586) on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:13AM (#29413847)

      Installing win7 from a usb stick on a medium computer took me 20mins or so maybe a little less. What is the point of bringing this up. Its like. 'Well the ferrari enzo is pretty shitty. It's 0~60 really drops when it has bare tires and is driving up a 70 degree slope in the rain.' (Car analogy just for you guys.) If it will likely never happen that way, who gives a flying fuck?

      Since when do they distribute Windows 7 Retail on a USB stick? This article is not FUD, it is the recorded time from installing from a DVD-ROM drive.

      • Modern DVD drives read at ~32MB/s, which is pretty hard to get on your average USB flash drive. Theoretical top end would be ~50MB/s (due to usb overhead), and most flash drives do NOT hit that-- check newegg reviews for some of the faster drives to see what is considered fast.

        I dont think it will take much longer from DVD, and will possibly be faster.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          However, most people will have 8x speed on their DVD-ROM drive. That's a theoretical transfer rate of 10.57MB/s, but in real world more like 3-4MB/s. Seeks speed also makes DVD-ROM's slow.

          I prefer to use a USB powered 2.5inch drive caddie for portability. 500GB hard drive, maxes out the USB bus and seek time isn't really a problem.

    • So now Microsoft spread FUD about their own products? Colour me impressed.
  • of having the CEO's PC out of use for a day ... or any one else's for that matter ?
    • by RingDev (879105) on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:17AM (#29413927) Homepage Journal

      You don't "upgrade" your CEO's PC. You buy a new one, you build it, you rip an image of his/her old PC, load it on a VM and copy what you need. You stop by his/her office the next morning and show them the new PC, introduce them to any new OS functionality they'll need to become familiar with, and ensure that all of their applications and data exist and work.

      If anything goes wrong, you still have the VM of the old machine you can fire up on any box to keep them working till you fix the issue.

      If you are running off with the CEO's PC for 20 hours (especially over business hours), you should fear for your job's security.

      -Rick

    • Why on earth would you consider doing an upgrade install for a CEO, especially during business hours? Turn on roaming profiles, order new computer, done.
  • "Microsoft wanted to make sure that an upgrade from Vista SP1 to Windows 7 was within a five percent threshold faster than an upgrade from Vista SP1 to Vista SP1."

    What does that mean?

    • by tomknight (190939)
      Please ignore that. I've just read the bottom of the article:

      "There's been a lot of commotion about the mention of the upgrade from "Vista SP1 to Vista SP1." This is not a typo: while it is obviously not something that is typically done, but it can be used as a repair method: the upgrade process reinstalls the operating system by replacing any corrupt and modified system files. In this case, the method was used so as to have something to compare against in the benchmarking process. The reason "Vista SP2 to

  • by David Gerard (12369) <slashdotNO@SPAMdavidgerard.co.uk> on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:08AM (#29413793) Homepage

    .. the Windows 7 Drinking Game [today.com] exists. Let's add:

    * One shot every thirty minutes the install or upgrade process takes.
    * One shot if you have to start over.
    * Drain the bottle if it ATE YOUR GODDAMN DATA.

    Any others to add?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Just to remind you of Windows XP SP2:

      * A tiny sip for each time you have to confirm that yes, that file should also be upgraded, even if the upgrade routine itself just blocked it.

      It took me a full working day just to install a service pack.

      Note: Even though it states a "tiny sip", this one is guaranteed to ruin your liver if this "feature" is still there.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by NotBorg (829820)

      * Drink every time the "estimated time left" goes up instead of down or is otherwise shown to be inaccurate.

  • Why would documents, music, video...etc add anything to an upgrade process? Shouldn't be system files and drivers that are affected? What exactly is done with a document or a music file that would require touching during an OS upgrade?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tomknight (190939)
      A comment (on the orginal article):

      "The upgrade process (be it Vista or 7) copies the data out of the current \Users, \Program Files, and \Windows directory to a temporary directory. It then kills those directories and lays down the new OS. After that, it copies all of the data back (well, probably a move operation -- but it still takes a long time). You can watch it if you do a Ctrl-F10 to bring up a command prompt during the upgrade process."

      (Seems it's actaully shift-F10)

      Kind of makes sense really,

  • the process will take a bit 1220 minutes. That second extreme is not a typo:

    Actually, I think that is a typo. Either the phrase a bit shouldn't be there, or it should read something like a bit longer --.

  • Hmm, I've never lost more than an evening upgrading Archlinux (if there was some hard problem after the update), and that happened only a few times, usually you lose ZERO time upgrading because it happens in the background and requires no reboot.
  • You could never get laid ever again in your entire lifetime!

    Actually this one was quite a realistic scenario ... let's try another one:
    You could be eaten by a grue within the next minute!

  • Upgrade FTL (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zantac69 (1331461) on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:12AM (#29413843) Journal
    I have never been a fan of "upgrades" as they tend to be a bit buggy. I did a clean install of Windows 7 x64 the other day just to try it out over XP and I have to say that I am impressed (well over XP that is). It did not take too long, but then again, I would click something...go back downstairs to watch football with my tasty beverage...go upstairs at the break...rinse and repeat.

    I know "upgrades" are usually cheaper - but maybe they should just give you a rebate (or immediate discount) when you send in your previous licence number - and force you to do a clean install. To help those who are not so knowlegeable - maybe you include an idiots guide to backing up files using an external HD/DVD or something like that. That should be enough for even the moderately technical person. For the idiot - maybe you include a token voucher ($20 or so) that can be used at a big box partner to help cover the cost of the upgrade for you and recover your data.

    Just a thought...
  • Awww memories. Seems like an eternity ago it took me near 20 hours to do an NT4 install because the installer didn't like the motherboard's cache so I had to turn it off to do the install....on each and every PC in the department. Of course several failed numerous times and had to be reinstalled. No, I think I'll be doing only fresh installs of Win7...if any.

  • by PontifexPrimus (576159) on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:18AM (#29413943)
    "the process will take a bit 1220 minutes"
    OMG, if the clean install is something like 4.8GB [overclock.net] then that would be 4.13175854 * 10^10 bits, times 1220 minutes/bit equals 95 840 997.1 years!
  • by bemymonkey (1244086) on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:26AM (#29414085)

    What the hell is the upgrade doing to all that data... identifying all the non-DRM'd illegal media and sending a list of it to Microsoft?

    I don't get it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gparent (1242548)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:26AM (#29414091)

    It took me a day to go to Snow Leopard

    1. Back up system
    2. Install Snow Leopard
    3. Do a "migrate" of my old data to the new OS
    4. Discover that all my apps crashed!
    5. Restore the system to the backup I made in step 1
    6. Repeat process when the .1 release came out

  • by Karellen (104380) on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:30AM (#29414149) Homepage

    WTF? According to the referenced MS blog post, the 650Gb is user data. Why in the world would upgrading your OS and installed apps depend on the amount of per-user data you had? Why is the system updater even bothering to look in the per-user directories?

    • by abigsmurf (919188) on Monday September 14, 2009 @11:01AM (#29414697)
      Because it moves the data from the each user's downloads, documents, images etc. folders to a temporary location. It then creates the user's folder structure for Win 7 and re-indexes all the files. If you've thousands of images that's a time consuming task. If you've not much free disk space, it'll take even longer.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Um, 'move' commands don't actually move the files on your hard disk. 'Moving' a large directory of images shouldn't take any longer than it takes to rename it.

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