How To Use Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor To Check PC Compatibility

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<firstimage=”http://www.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Windows7UpgradeAdvisor10.png”>windows 7 upgrade advisorMicrosoft seems to follow a rigid pattern when releasing a new operating system. First they throw a half finished product on the market. Now duck! Then, as the feedback rolls in, they rigorously defend the product, but secretly start fixing all its bugs. Next thing you know they release a shiny new operating system, which is barely novel, but at least all the bugs are fixed. Finally, everyone agrees on it.

So currently this is Windows 7. All joking aside, it is a solid operating system with lots of nice new features. And if you’ve been waiting to upgrade, now is the time, it’s safe! I recently explained Windows 7 editions in simple terms and how to choose the right one for you. In this article I show you how to test whether your hardware and software are ready to make the jump to Windows 7. This is very important, as you may have to invest in more than just the new operating system.


Microsoft made this process of checking your current system as simple as possible. They provide a tool called Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. This application examines your PC to determine which hardware and software products are compatible with Windows 7. The program then provides guidance on what you need to do before you can install Windows 7.

Windows 7 Minimum System Requirements

Before you start, let’s briefly review the minimum system requirements for both bit versions of Windows 7.

Windows 7 32-bit:

  • 1 GHz processor.
  • 1 GB RAM.
  • 16 GB free space on hard drive.
  • DirectX 9 capable graphics card with WDDM 1.0 driver or higher.

Windows 7 64-bit:

  • 1 GHz processor.
  • 2 GB RAM.
  • 20 GB free space on hard drive.
  • DirectX 9 capable graphics card with WDDM 1.0 driver or higher.

If you are unsure about your hardware, just proceed with the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor and any shortcomings will be revealed. If you are wondering what the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit is, have a look at this article from Mahendra: How To Choose Between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows 7 Operating Systems.

Set Up Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor

1. Prepare Computer For Installation

The program supports Windows XP and Windows Vista. If you are running Windows XP, you have to run Service Pack 2 and .NET Framework 2.0 or higher. The links contain setup instructions for these two items. Make sure they are installed before you proceed.

2. Download & Install Upgrade Advisor

Now that you have prepared your computer, you can download Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor from Microsoft.

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3. Prepare Computer For Running Test

Microsoft recommends to plug in any USB devices you use regularly, for example printers, scanners, or external hard drives. The upgrade advisor will also check these devices for compatibility. So go ahead and connect all your external hardware before you run Upgrade Advisor.

Run Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor

This is the easy part. Launch the program and click the > Start check button on the lower right.

windows 7 upgrade advisor

Shortly after, Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor will display the results. There are two reports, one in case you wish to install Windows 7 32-bit and a second for the 64-bit version. You can save either report as .mht or an .html file, both of which will open in Internet Explorer, or print the reports.

windows upgrade advisor

Each report is divided into three categories: system, devices, and programs. Now lets look at some of the points the report will address.

In the screenshot below you will see that I would need to perform a custom installation of Windows 7 as I’m running Windows XP. The link provides further details and helpful background information.

windows upgrade advisor

Here is one of the 11 issues with my system. However, it’s one I can solve, hence the yellow sign with exclamation mark. Issues that cannot be solved, for example incompatible software, are highlighted with a red X.

windows upgrade advisor

You will also find a list of items that meet the requirements or are compatible with Windows 7. Below is an example.

microsoft upgrade advisor

The devices category encompasses internal as well as external devices. Apparently, my graphics card is compatible with Windows 7. If an essential part of your system is not compatible, for example the graphics card or CPU, you must replace that piece of hardware with a compatible version before you can install Windows 7.

microsoft upgrade advisor

Finally, a selection of programs is checked for compatibility. The Upgrade Advisor will provide solutions and links where available and this is not restricted to Microsoft products! In my case for example, it advised me to ‘upgrade to a compatible version’ of Napter or ‘visit the publisher’s website for a solution’ for HP software. The recommendations also included a link to the respective pages.

microsoft upgrade advisor

Unfortunately, several key programs are not considered in this compatibility check, including Microsoft Office (I wonder why), browsers, email clients other than Outlook, security software, and lots more. However, Microsoft provides a link to its Windows 7 Compatibility Center where you can manually check the software and hardware important to you.

windows 7 upgrade advisor

If you think you are ready to upgrade, also check out the following articles:

Now you should be very well prepared.

Which issues did you encounter after your system was examined for compatibility with Windows 7? Are you able to solve them or do you require further advice?

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Comments (7)
  • Ronnie J

    Hi Tina,
    When I try to run Win7 Update Advisor it tells me it cannot connect to the Microsoft server. Have tried several times but no go.
    My internet connect works okay otherwise.
    Whats the go here?

  • jaikantmahawar

    good coverage. simple language making it understand.

  • TLW

    Okay Tina. It took me a few minutes to read this. I couldn’t stop snickering about the MicroSoft releases their OS’s. What you said is so very true. Now duck :)

    On a side note: I downloaded the iPhone PDF that MUO offers. You’ve got dead links in there. I romped around until I found this: http://www.i-funbox.com/
    Needless to say, it’s clunky. DiskAid is probably better. I just wanted to see the files that are on my iPhone. I’m the curious sort. Not sure I want to pay $10 for DiskAid. I’m trying to get a grip on my iPhone App addiction :)

  • TLW

    Okay Tina. It took me a few minutes to finish reading this. I couldn’t stop snickering about the way MicroSoft releases their OS’s. What you said is so very true. Now duck :)

    P.S. On a side note, I downloaded the iPhone PDF that MUO has. You have dead links in there. I romped around until I found this: http://www.i-funbox.com/
    It’s clunky. DiskAid is probably better. I just wanted to see the files on my iPhone. I’m not sure I want to buy DiskAid. I’m trying to get a grip on my iPhone App addiction :)

  • TLW

    Okay Tina. It took me a few minutes to finish reading this. I couldn’t stop snickering about the way MicroSoft releases their OS’s. What you said is so very true. Now duck :)

    P.S. On a side note, I downloaded the iPhone PDF that MUO has. You have dead links in there. I romped around until I found this: http://www.i-funbox.com/
    It’s clunky. DiskAid is probably better. I just wanted to see the files on my iPhone. I’m not sure I want to buy DiskAid. I’m trying to get a grip on my iPhone App addiction :)

    • jhpot

      Yeah, that iPhone manual has been around for a while and inevitably a few things are out of date. We’re hoping to update the iPhone manual, though, so stay tuned.

    • Tina

      Thanks for the feedback!

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.