Upgrading XP Home Edition to XP Pro Edition - Issues to Consider

Posted on 2011-03-20
Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I have a client with a computer that has Windows XP Home loaded on it. It is being used in an office but is not part of a network. They have a custom application designed specifically for their business. They had the application originally running on a Windows XP Pro PC, but that died. Luckily, they had the app and data backed up to an external hard drive. When they loaded the application and data on the home edition pc they found out that some modules did not work. They called the application tech support and were told that the app needed to be run on a PC with XP Pro.

Can I run a Windows XP Pro upgrade on the home edition, or do I have to wipe it out and start from scratch?

If I can run the upgrade (is there actually an upgrade from home to pro?) will anything else be affected. I plan on backing up the data on the xp home pc prior to doing anything.

Is there anything else I need to know?

thanks in advance!

Question by:RSchierer
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Assisted Solution

Tekyguy earned 150 total points
ID: 35177355
You can do this.  What application is it?  Sounds like they just didn't want to support the app.  Unless the app requires to you log into a domain controller for pre authentication, then it should work on XP home.

The XP home upgrade is dirty but it works.  Just make sure you are using XP source that is newer then the XP home install.   For example XP Pro with XPSP3 integrated, and your XP Home install is runing XPSP2.

Maybe a better option is to install a 2nd hard drive in the computer, and then install XP pro to the 2nd hard drive, and dual boot XP home/XP Pro.
LVL 95

Accepted Solution

Lee W, MVP earned 350 total points
ID: 35177383
> Sounds like they just didn't want to support the app.
So what?  Do you WANT to run an important business app in an environment where the vendor won't support it, especially when the cost to make it supportable is under $200 (in a software license)?

> The XP home upgrade is dirty but it works
What do you mean by this?

Upgrading from Home to Pro is a supported upgrade path - you just can't use an OEM license to do it.  There is very little different between XP Pro and Home and while I agree, it sounds like they didn't want to support it, that's really not the point here.  

Now, that said, a CLEAN install isn't virtually ALWAYS better than an upgrade... and doing a clean install will help ensure that the app's vendor doesn't complain like "well you upgraded from Home to Pro and we don't support that".

I also don't see the point to dual booting... if you have Pro, USE IT - there is nothing in Home that Pro doesn't have and no reason to stay with Home when you have the Pro license.

Author Comment

ID: 35177441
I believe one of the functions that will not work is network printing.

Thanks for the tips.

Do you know of a good place to either the upgrade or the full versions?
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LVL 95

Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 350 total points
ID: 35177498
XP is old.  It's not sold anymore.  You can cross your fingers and check ebay, Craigslist, and other such sites... but the only way I know of to obtain a legitimate copy is to purchase a Volume License (which I believe requires a minimum purchase of 5 licenses - though I HAVE heard that that has been reduced/removed and one can be purchased; but I haven't seen anything confirming it).  

I would suggest you find out if the software supports Windows 7 and if so, upgrade.

As for network printing - that should work fine... BUT you may have to pre-authenticate with the printers or install them locally... again, if this is critical software to the business, I wouldn't be looking at implementing an unsupported work-around... that's just a bad idea.

Author Comment

ID: 35177525

The application is not supported under Windows 7. I checked with the vendor. It is a custom written program that surprisingly can be 'copied' and not installed from one pc to another. I haven't seen that since the days of DOS! The app is for the Limo industry.

thanks for the tips!
LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 35177532
Another consideration - under Win7, you could use XP Mode which would be a VM running XP Pro... of course, the vendor could turn around and say "well, we don't support virtual environments..."
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 35177547
There are some limitations, no Remote Desktop, no MMC management of Users and Groups security, only "simple file sharing", no VSS, RDP protocol, no higher crypto support, etc., which might be a legit issue for security-concious apps.  There can be third-party modules that  might require Pro not Home, but those are rare too.

It is more likely that your recovery of a backup did not truly properly "install" the app.  If you understand the implications of that sentence, you would not make the mistake, but if you do not, then you may be out of your depth with it then.

There are likely issues with trying to recover a backup of an app to a different machine and it being a different OS (albeit only slightly different) complicated that.  You likely had to reinstall the app to the destination machine, so it and all its inter-dependencies and components are registered in the registry of the target machine, but some apps installations are not simple nor straightforward and installing might walk over the data, and re-recovering the backup after that might work or might revert some data settings back to the way they were on the Pro machine not this Home machine.  If Pro and Home are near identical in every way, drive letter, install path, partition sizes, etc, you might luck out.

Even if you do an in-place upgrade from Home to Pro, I'm almost expecting it still won't work, the recovery of the backup may not have been a fully correct recovery AND install of the application, but then at least they should support you.  You might request they provide you with all the instructions, so you can avoid any other unforseen caveats like "Home is not supported" BUT proprietary app developers will sometimes keep their support to themselves, it might not even be all fully documented, and they might not wish to deal with unauthorized third-party service techs and may require you to sing a non-disclosure, as is their right.

I know eh.

All that said, while it seems silly they don't want to support Home, there can be actual reasons for it, they're entitled to have requirements, so I'd agree Pro is what you should have then.  And just because Microsoft extended support on XP until March 2014 does not guarantee app makers have to, any more than they have to work with Vista or 7.
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 35177563
Another complication can be if you find you have the install CD (media) to install it, but if the application underwent several "updates" after that, again those toomight  need to be installed, merely recovering the app folder under C:\Program Files (or what have you) might not "register" those DLL (module) updates either.
And then a real complication is when the app is database based, because often structural changes to the database are made at each juncture of these updates, so the original install might create a database with one structure, and recovery of backup has a slightly different structure, you'd need to apply all the updates in sequence to effect the program changes and then drop-in the last database backup.

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