Installation Step Two: Upgrading Method 1
If you have obtained your upgrade DVD from your manufacturer, it is probably best to follow its instructions. However, if you have a generic installer DVD from a friend or elsewhere, there are two methods for upgrading your system.
The safest method is to run the setup from within your currently installed version of Windows. This will allow you to not only check to make sure your system is truly 64-bit compatible, using the Windows Upgrade Advisor, but it will also let you know if your key is correct before erasing any data (some OEM keys can be picky about their installer DVDs).
To use this method, simply insert your new installer DVD. This guide will walk you through the steps for installing Windows 7, but Vista is nearly identical. A dialogue box may pop up, asking what you want to do with the DVD. Select "Run Setup.exe." If nothing happens after inserting the DVD, open My Computer and double click your DVD drive with the disk in it. That will initiate the Windows Installer.
From here, click Install Now. Do not worry—it will not actually start installing anything yet. In the next screen, you will be given the option to go online to download updates. It is recommended that you do this option, as it will help make your new installation more secure and look for compatible drivers. Feel free to uncheck the "I want to make Windows Installation better" box if you like. The installer will then proceed to download the updates and then prompt you with a license agreement. You have to agree or it will not let you install it.
You will now be faced with a grayed out Upgrade option and a Custom (Advanced) option. Select the Custom option. This will start the installer, which will copy all of your current Windows files to a folder called Windows.old. Your computer will reboot several times during this process, so do not be alarmed. It can take up to an hour or so, depending on the speed of your computer.
Once the installation is complete, you can setup your account and login information as well as regional settings. Once logged into Windows, you will want to install your drivers. It is generally best to restart between each driver installation, starting with your chipset drivers, then video drivers, Ethernet/wireless drivers, and lastly audio drivers.