I need to upgrade my machine from Vista business to Windows 7 professional.
I was wondering a few things. First, if I just select the upgrade option, will al my files be intact and available when the upgrade is done? Second, if anyone has done this before, how long should I expect it to take?
You might struggle to actually find an upgrade version of Windows 7 now, as Microsoft has issued instructions to vendors to return any unsold copies so that more people will (have to) upgrade to Windows 8 instead. This leaves only full (non-upgrade) versions of Windows 7 in stock which cost considerably more (and even they are getting scarce).
To answer your question, Yes (as long as same Bits - ie 32 Bit -> 32 Bit & 64 Bit -> 64 Bit, but NOT if going 32 Bit->64 Bit) should be able to have all data/programs available using the Vista->Win 7 (Not true for XP->Win7).
Yes your files will be intact - you can directly upgrade from vista to any version of windows 7 (provide it is not a downgrade in terms of architecture- 32 bit to 64 bit is allowed; not the other way around ).
^ From the Horses Mouth, uSoft
Can I upgrade from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version of Windows?
No. If you are currently running a 32-bit version of Windows, you can only perform an upgrade to another 32-bit version of Windows. Similarly, if you are running a 64-bit version of Windows, you can only perform an upgrade to another 64-bit version of Windows.
If you want to move from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version of Windows Vista or vice versa, you'll need to back up your files and then choose the Custom option during Windows Vista installation. Then, you'll need to restore your files and reinstall your programs