I got my copy of Windows 7 Home Premium (full install license) from Amazon on release day, via pre-order. I wasn’t in a big hurry to upgrade since I’m already running the release candidate, which worked well since the last week has been pretty busy with family stuff (vacation, son’s first birthday). Even though I wasn’t in a huge hurry, I didn’t want to wait too long, so when my evening freed up last night I decided it was time. I didn’t technically upgrade, since I was already using the release candidate.
To start the process, I made a backup of my AppData and other user folders, then repartitioned and reformatted the drive. The complete installation time from booting the PC with the DVD in the drive until the desktop came up was 25 minutes. That of course was the easy part. The next step was about 160 MB of downloads from Windows Update for security patches and driver updates for my keyboard, mouse, monitor, and graphics card. This took about 20 minutes and required a reboot.
The only problem I had with Windows Update was the Nvidia drivers it installed. It used the 191.07 Nvidia drivers which I found caused a stutter problem in Champions Online, but I was able to install the 190.62 drivers over the top of the existing 191.07 without any problems.
Installing software and games took another 5 hours, but I’m now back up and running on the Home Premium retail version. I did backup my MMO program folders. Instead of restoring them, I did re-run the installers but then I brought over the patched files before running the patcher. This way I get the icons in the Games folder setup correctly but didn’t have to sit through hours of patch downloads.
The only major pain I had was fixing the 30 odd podcasts subscriptions I had in my Zune software. There really should be a way to export those subscriptions as an XML to make it easier to move machines.
Since I was already on the release candidate, the upgrade really didn’t change much for me, but I’m still really enjoying the UI changes from XP to 7. It may not be worth upgrading an existing machine, but if you’re building or buying a new box 7′s definitely the way to go.
On the 32- or 64-bit question, I recommend 64-bit. You may have some compatibility issues on old peripherals, but most components should be fine and I’ve not had any software issues except for UAC.