April 8, 2014 Windows XP will lose support
and be open to attacks. Now is the time to consider upgrading Windows XP to Windows 7 (Win 7). Windows 8 is not an upgrade path that most folks would want to consider.
The upgrade is relatively easy with Windows Easy Transfer
. You will need an external drive but this is an essential peripheral these days. You need to find out if your PC is 32 or 64 bit (Start, right-click My Computer, and then click Properties) and download the appropriate version of Easy Transfer for Windows XP. Easy Transfer is included in Windows 7 so you won’t need to download anything else. This will transfer all your files on the XP PC to an external drive and then Windows 7. If you are replacing the XP PC with a different PC don’t bother with the tool since it only works on one PC.
Purchase DVD or Download
There are a number of ways to upgrade to Windows 7. While numerous OEM DVDs can be found on the Internet it is recommended that you purchase the retail version to fully comply with Microsoft licensing
unless you are building new PC to sell.
With an upgrade version of the software you will need to do a clean install so backup up your files with Windows Easy Transfer or copy the data files if you are switching machines. Clean install is the recommended upgrade path so no need to look for an upgradable version of Windows 7.
Some of the copies of Win 7 on the Internet come from dubious sources so scrutinize the reputation of the seller. Make sure that your seller will assist you if you run into problems with your install. A legitimate dealer will offer you a new key if you have issues with the original one.
If you download an .iso image file you will need software to burn this to DVD. I like Nero
for burning images.
The actual installation will be done from the DVD. This means you will have to boot the Windows DVD which may require you to press the proper key to get into your boot options. On Dell PCs the F12 key allows you to switch boot options or F2 to use the BIOS setup.
Once you are booted up on the DVD, you will follow the instructions. When you get to the upgrade or Custom (advanced) option you will choose Custom. OEM versions won’t upgrade and a clean install is the recommended upgrade path.
You will be given list of partitions to use for the new install. In most cases, the XP partition will be obvious. You may see small recovery partitions on PCs that have the recovery image for the machine. If the PC was delivered as XP or some other Operating System you may or may not need to keep the recovery partition. Once you have identified the install partition just delete the old partition and let Win 7 install in that space. If you want to get rid of unnecessary partitions delete those before installing Win7.
Once the installation space has been defined, it’s just a matter of following the defaults for the prompts.
Restore the data files
Once you have Win7 up & running you can restore the files you saved. Easy transfer makes this painless.
Once you have your data restored you should start installing your applications. Hopefully they run in Win 7.
XP Mode was an alternative for older applications but XP Mode will no longer be supported either. If you are forced to use XP Mode for a special application you can take a little comfort in the fact that it’s a virtual machine.
Back Up Your Windows 7 PC
Once everything is setup, it’s a good time to create an image of your PC. If everything should fail some day you can always restore your PC just as it is when you created the image.