How to upgrade Windows XP to Windows Vista

How to upgrade Windows XP to Windows Vista

This post provides instructions on how to perform an in-place upgrade of Windows XP to Windows Vista, preserving your personal files, settings, and applications.

For most users, an in-place upgrade from Windows XP to Windows Vista will be just an intermediate step towards a later version of Windows, such as Windows 7 and ultimately Windows 10, for which there is no direct in-place upgrade path from Windows XP.

The following table summarizes which key items are preserved by the upgrade process.

Personal files Files that are saved in user folders, like the Documents and Desktop folders. Yes
Settings Settings like Ease of Access, desktop background, Internet favourites and history. Yes
Applications Compatible Windows applications that were installed prior to the upgrade. Yes
The instructions in this post refer to performing an in-place upgrade of a Windows XP 32-bit (x86) edition to a Windows Vista 32-bit (x86) edition.

It is not possible to perform an upgrade of a Windows XP 64-bit (x64) edition to a Windows Vista 64-bit (x64) edition. This requires a clean installation.

It is also not possible to perform a cross-architecture upgrade from a Windows XP 32-bit (x86) edition to a Windows Vista 64-bit (x64) edition, or vise versa. Again, this requires a clean installation.



  1. Vista gets stuck at Completing upgrade (55%) for over 16 hours on my laptop… finally gave up and reverted back to XP. My Desktop errors out after staying at Gathering files (0%) for 10 minutes, saying an error has occurred and update has been canceled without any other indication of what is going on… Kind of bummed I can’t upgrade in time… Going to last ditch try to fresh install Windows 7 to get the Windows 10 upgrade then hope I can re-upgrade from XP>Vista>7>10 with my upgraded 7>10 activation at some point in the future when I can figure out what the problem is.

    1. Hi Ujn,

      Sorry to hear about your XP > Vista upgrade problems – not good! The Windows 10 free upgrade is available until 29th July, so you still have another month. If you have a valid Windows 7 (or 8) key, you can actually just do a fresh install of Windows 10, skip when it asks for a key during the install, and then enter your Windows 7 key to activate Windows 10 once it is installed.

      Kind Regards,

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