In-place upgrades can be painful for a variety of reasons including driver problems, application compatibility issues, and so on. So instead of trying to upgrade your Windows Vista computer to Windows 7, you could do the following instead (provided your computer supports hardware virtualization):
1. Patch your Vista computer using the latest service pack if needed and apply all pending updates.
2. Download the Windows Sysinternals tool named Disk2VHD from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/ee656415.aspx and create a virtual machine of your Vista computer.
3. Purchase an additional hard drive for your computer and perform a clean install of Windows on the new hard drive.
4. Download and install Windows Virtual PC environment for Windows 7.
5. Copy the Windows Vista virtual machine to your computer boot the virtual machine in Windows Virtual PC.
This approach has two benefits:
- You get a brand-new clean install of Windows 7 on your computer
- You still have access to your old Windows Vista system running as a virtual machine in Windows Virtual PC
Note however that this approach won't work if your computer is currently running a 64-bit version of Windows Vista.