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Upgrade Windows XP to Windows 7

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Randy Downs
Randy Downs dba Downs Consulting Services is a verified Veteran-owned small business (VOSB)
Veteran business database www.vip.vetbiz.gov
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.

Copy Files

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.

Clean Install

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.

Restore Applications

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.
Author:Randy Downs
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Author Comment

by:Randy Downs
I added some links. One is to a pdf on my site.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
Randy, thanks for this.

I was concerned about your recommendation to upgrade to Windows 7 using an OEM/System Builder disk as the most economical route.  While appreciating that none of us have spare cash to throw at the upgrading process wouldn't an OEM install of Windows with the intention of also being the End User break all manner of licensing rules?

AFAIK the prerequisites for use of an OEM Win 7 DVD are that it is preinstalled on a NEW computer and then sold onto an unrelated third-party using the OPK.

(The rules for Windows 8 are different now that Microsoft have introduced a Personal Use licence )

OEM guidance for "hobbyists" (building your own PC) here

Might it be fairer to point out to readers that the OEM route has at least questionable legitimacy which could be avoided if the retail version was used instead?
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Author Comment

by:Randy Downs
That's a good point MASQ. I will incorporate your suggestions into the main article.
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by:Randy Downs
MASQ, the OEM guide for hobbyists clause no longer applies & link is dead. I included a link to MICROSOFT OEM SYSTEM BUILDER LICENSE in my article. From the articles I see on the Internet OEM licensing for Win 7 is murky at best unless you use their OPK and distribute.

you must use the OPK provided in the Pack or otherwise made available by us. You may use the
information, tools and materials contained in the OPK solely to preinstall the Software in accordance with the OPK. See www.
microsoft.com/oem/sblicense/OPK for additional information about the OPK. You may not distribute the OPK to the end user.
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Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
Strange the link is working here - maybe it's a regional thing?

Windows 7 was the last OS version the "hobbyist's clause" applied to, the Personal Use licence superceeds it but only from Win 8 forward.

Anyways here's the Win 7 version of the System Builder Guide which has a piece on hobbyist use tucked in right at the end.
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Author Comment

by:Randy Downs
Open in new tab via Chrome was the problem I ran into. It works fine if I just click it.

Open in new tab changes the link to a non working link


Thanks for the OEM links.

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