SOLUTION: Windows Vista In-Place Upgrade fails when PowerShell is installed

This one’s quick and easy.  On multiple occasions, I’ve encountered problems with Windows Vista performing an in-place upgrade (in situations where conventional repairs are not sufficient and such measures are necessary) if the client’s machine has Windows PowerShell installed.  PowerShell is listed as incompatible with the upgrade procedure by the Setup process.  Usually, it’s as easy as removing it via Control Panel > Programs and Features > Turn Windows features on or off, but on more than one occasion, when a workstation is really screwed up, this process fails.

In those cases there are two other options you can try.  The first is to head to Programs and Features, choose View installed updates, and remove Windows Management Framework Core, which is the update associated with PowerShell.  If this STILL doesn’t fix it, however, there’s one surefire way to do so:

  • Simply rename the directory %SYSTEMROOT%\System32\WindowsPowerShell (where %SYSTEMROOT% is the system environment variable for the Windows directory).

This easy workaround will allow the upgrade to proceed, which will usually fix most serious problems with a Vista installation and pave the way for updates and other corrections before wrapping up the work.  It’s just another way I’ve been able to avoid a reinstallation of Windows under circumstances which would normally seem to suggest it as the only option.

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