Upgrading an operating system requires research and planning. In this video, you’ll learn about upgrade methods, boot drive preparation, OS requirements, and product life cycles.
As time goes on, our operating systems are improved and updated. And often you’ll want to take a configuration on an older system, and bring it up to date with the latest operating system. To be able to do that, we need to perform an upgrade. There’s different ways to go about performing this update to the latest version. One is through the use of an upgrade that keeps all of your files and all of your applications in place, and the other is through a clean install that completely deletes everything on your system and installs the latest version of the operating system.
If you’re performing an in-place upgrade, then you’re able to maintain consistency between these different versions of operating system, especially if there are multiple people using the same system. You can keep all of those accounts in place and maintain all of the same applications and data files that were there previously. This means you as the administrator can save a lot of time because you don’t have to reinstall any applications or recover any files from a backup. You simply perform the in-place upgrade, it starts the new version of the operating system, and you can turn the system back over to the user.
The in-place upgrade is ideal for this because you’re not changing anything with any data files or any applications. All you’re changing is the underlying operating system and bringing it all up to a newer version. This commonly starts inside of the operating system, so you would start the older operating system, and then launch the upgrade to the newer operating system. As we’ve already mentioned, a clean install deletes everything on the system. So it’s very common to backup all of your user files, install the new operating system, and then restore all of those user files to the computer. You would commonly start this clean install by booting the system from the installation media.
Before going through this upgrade, it’s useful to analyze what may be on these storage drives before you begin the installation. Is there data on the drive and applications that the user might need? Has someone already formatted this drive and prepared it for the installation? And what partitions may already be installed on this physical drive? Whether you’re performing an in-place upgrade or a clean install, you’ll still want to take a backup of all of the data that’s on this drive.
Performing an operating system upgrade is a relatively involved process, and there’s always a chance that you might lose data during this upgrade process. If possible, you might also want to save any user preferences so you can restore those after the upgrade is complete. Fortunately, the partitioning and formatting process is usually part of the installation of the operating system. So if you’re performing a clean install, you’ll probably be prompted on partitioning and formatting during the process of the install.
If you’re moving from one version of an operating system to another, you’ll need to check and make sure that this upgrade is something that will work properly. You’ll want to check the minimum operating system requirements for memory and storage space, and make sure that you have the appropriate resources on your system. If you’re upgrading Windows, Microsoft provides utilities that will look at your hardware and your software and determine if they’re all compatible to upgrade to a newer version. In Windows 10, this is called the Windows 10 upgrade checker. And a Windows 11, this is the PC health check for Windows 11.
During the installation, you may be prompted for the partition sizes, file systems that you’d like to use, and any licensing necessary for the operating system. So it’s useful to have all of that ready to go before you start the install. And if you have hardware or software that’s not found as part of the upgrade checker or PC health check, you’ll want to go directly to the manufacturer to see if it’s compatible with the operating system that you’d like to install.
Here’s the PC health check that you could run in Windows 11. This is the opening screen that tells you the system that you happen to be running on. It tells you about Windows, and there’s an option run in the front to check now. Once it finishes the check, it can give you information on whether your system does or does not meet any of the system requirements for the upgrade, and it will give you information on what you can change or update to become more compatible.
There’s many different reasons why you might want to update or upgrade an operating system. Microsoft creates quality updates every month in the form of security updates and bug fixes. So you may want to make sure that those updates occur on a regular basis. Microsoft also might release a new version of the operating system that adds features or capabilities, so upgrading your operating system provides you with new features that weren’t available in the older version.
Microsoft provides support for their operating systems between 18 to 36 months, depending on the Windows version you happen to be using. If you’d like to see what support is available for the Windows version that you’re using, you can look for the modern lifecycle policy on the Microsoft website.