Some sensationalist headlines about Windows 7 upgrades recently made the front page of tech news aggregators like Techmeme.com with claims that the Windows 7 upgrade process takes 20 hours to complete. Many bloggers posted about the news, but few took a long, hard look at the actual data. The truth is the 20 hour scenario was a fringe case and not much of a real-world example.
The information was extracted from a Microsoft blog post by Chris Hernandez which analyzed a wide variety of the different upgrade experiences possible. The main conclusion of the article? Windows 7 upgrade time is faster or equal within a 5% threshold to the Vista SP1 upgrade time.
So what gives with the headlines spouting “20 hours?” Well, one of the two dozen some scenarios listed was an upgrade process where the souped-up test system housed 650 GB of data, 40 applications, and 15 optional components. The time it took for this upgrade came out at 1220 minutes. Or 20.33 hours.
Of course, many of the blog posts about this topic ignored the fact that other scenarios listed included relatively short upgrade times – some as short as 30 minutes, in fact. It all depends on what kind of user you are, how many apps you have installed, and how much data is on your system. And if you’re storing over half a terabyte of data in your Windows partition, it’s not really that much of a surprise that your upgrade may take forever. (Seriously, folks. If you’re at the half a terabyte point, you may want to consider an external drive.)
If you want to know what a real upgrade time looks like, you’re probably better off checking the middle of the chart where “medium” users are listed and the upgrade times are closer to an hour or just a bit over.