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Windows XP Upgrade

Posted on 2014-03-26
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Last Modified: 2014-04-02
I have an old pc that I basically use for testing while developing websites on my mac.  I heard horrible things about Windows 8 and am cautious about getting a new system just for windows 8 since I rarely use this puppy anymore.

1.  Can i "convert" windows xp to windows 7?  If so, is it a good idea?
2.  For testing purposes, would it be better just to get a tablet with the nasty windows 8 and toss the desktop?

Looking for expert advice.
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Question by:nsitedesigns
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aadih earned 95 total points
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(1) Yes.

(2) For an old laptop, Windows 7 will do. Windows 8 is not horrible (contrary to what you have heard).

(2a) If you prefer Windows 8 desktop (boot directly into it and work with XP- or Windows 7-like Start Menu interface, you could use "classic shell" from classicshell.net and never see the Metro Screen.
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by:nsitedesigns
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(2) For an old laptop, Windows 7 will do. Windows 8 is not horrible (contrary to what you have heard).
How do I convert?  Is there a link? Don't I need new drivers or something like that?  Sorry, I don't know that much about this.

(2a) If you prefer Windows 8 desktop (boot directly into it and work with XP- or Windows 7-like Start Menu interface, you could use "classic shell" from classicshell.net and never see the Metro Screen.
I was of the impression that Windows 8 will not work on XP.  Is that not the case?
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by:vmagan
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You can upgrade your XP machine to Win 7 but you need to make sure you have enough ram on your pc so that it work effectively and you wont have to pull your hair out every time it freezes on you.

Windows 8 is not as bad a you think as AADIH mentioned in the previous comment. Just have to get used to it like anything else.

If you do a lot of traveling then a tablet would be ideal, if you will just be stationed at home or work then I recommend a desktop. You can still get Win 7 on a new desktop if you wanted too. You don't have to get 8.
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by:vmagan
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You will need new drivers, and you will need a windoes 7 disk to boot from.

You can have win8 look like 7 or xp as a classic look but you will still be in win 8. THat is what the previous comment meant.
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by:aadih
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Windows 8 is a replacement for XP as is Windows 7.

I believe you are better off upgrading to Windows 7 (because XP is going away) for security reasons. You don't need Windows 8 as you have an old laptop.
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by:rindi
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You'll just have to buy a copy of Windows 7, but it should run fine on hardware that was good enough for XP, and usually it also outperforms XP on that same hardware. Windows 8.x on the other hand you'd have to be lucky if it even installs on that old hardware. You need a CPU that includes features like "nx", and that means a standard P-IV won't do. You need at least a core type CPU.

M$ has a tool available you can download and run on your XP box to see whether you can upgrade to Windows 7:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/downloads/upgrade-advisor

Be aware that it also checks your installed software and drivers for printers etc. So even if the advisor should fail, because of a software being too old, or a printer driver not being available, that doesn't mean Windows 7 won't install or run, but you may have to get another printer, or change some of your software.

I would also suggest you get at least Windows 7 pro, and not one of the home versions, and if your CPU is 64 bit, install the 64 bit version of Windows 7. Don't get an OEM version either.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
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The core of W8 is a good OS. The "nasty" part and the "horrible things" you heard are usually about the UI. If you want to go with W8 and solve the nasty/horrible UI issue, install the excellent (and free!) Classic Shell:
http://www.classicshell.net/

I not only don't like the W8 interface, I don't like the W7/Vista and XP interfaces, so I've been using Classic Shell to give me the good old W2K (truly Classic!) interface on all of my Vista, W7, and W8 computers (on XP, I use its built-in capability to get the classic Start menu via Control Panel>Taskbar and Start Menu>Start Menu>Classic Start menu). Of course, if you prefer, you may configure Classic Shell to give you the XP or Vista/W7 interface on W8. Regards, Joe
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by:Sam Simon Nasser
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to upgrade from xp to 7, your pc must meet the minimum requirements
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/products/system-requirements

regarding the testing purposes, if you test on IE, you need to buy a windows rt tablet, if IE is not for testing, you can buy any tablet running android and test on it using Firefox , chrome or any other browser.
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by:McKnife
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Why not use a virtual machine on your Mac?
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by:nsitedesigns
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Sam,
What is an windows rt tablet?  I do use IE to test sites.

McKnife,
I tried using a virtual pc on my mac and it was really problematic.  Otherwise that is a good idea.
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by:vmagan
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get a Win 7 laptop and install either VMware or XenCenter and install a virtual xp machine if you need XP or any other OS. just make sure your new laptop has nice specs that can hold it.
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by:nsitedesigns
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Is there a benefit of getting a laptop over a tablet?
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by:vmagan
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For testing and virtual environments I am not even sure if a tablet can handle that. You can always go with a Laptop that also converts into a Tablet. Those have a better processor and more ram, which should handle what you are trying to accomplish. Also, remember that you will lose things like multiple USB ports, Dual monitors, etc.. unless the tablet has a docking station.
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by:garycase
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Your old XP system is a bad choice for testing your websites anyway.   XP can't run any version of Internet Explorer beyond v8 ... and you really need to test your websites on v10 and v11, since that's what most folks are using these days [Unless they're running an alternative browswer -- and you should really test those as well].

The simplest approach is to just install Windows 7 on your old system, as long as it has at least 1GB of memory.
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by:nsitedesigns
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How do I check how much memory it has?
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by:vmagan
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right click on my computer and go to properties. In there it will say "Installed memory "Ram"

remember you need at least 2GB I would recommend 4GB. 1GB of Ram and the system will crawl.
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by:McKnife
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> I tried using a virtual pc on my mac and it was really problematic
You did...and what virtualizer? I had no problems using win7 inside the freeware "virtual box" on a MAC.
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by:rindi
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Although having as much RAM as possible is always better, there really is no difference in the requirements between XP and Windows 7. If you had only a small amount of RAM on your XP system, it was running just as slow as Windows 7 would be running. So if you were happy with the speed of XP, you'll be at least as happy with Windows 7 using the same specs. provided you don't change your habits and open more programs and files at the same time than you used to with XP.
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by:garycase
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Windows 7 runs just fine with 1GB as long as you only run one window at a time -- so it's fine for testing web pages in IE.
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by:vmagan
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lol who will ever be running one window at a time? Simple fix, just upgrade the ram to avoid accidentally opening up a 2nd tab in IE than waiting 3minutes for the page to load.
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by:rindi
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That's definitely not so. You can have as many windows open as you used to have open with XP with the same amount of RAM. It runs OK even with as little as 512 MB, which is also the absolute minimum for XP. Xp really only got usable with more than 512MB, and that is still the same with Windows 7. With both OS's you can have the same number of Windows open, and they'll just run similarly. Generally though Windows 7 will perform a little better.
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by:vmagan
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I have used winXP many times with 1GB of ram and it's horrible when multiple windows are open and decent processor installed. I'm talking from experience not from what MS recommends. Maybe just my experience than.
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by:garycase
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Agree -- multiple tabs in IE is NOT the same as an entirely new task window.  Win7 runs very nicely with 1GB ... a bit slow, but not any more so than an XP system on the same hardware.

I know quite a few folks who are quite satisfied with older P-IV systems with 1GB of RAM running Win7 for their e-mail and browsing needs.   Obviously you wouldn't want these systems for modern development boxes; but there are a lot of people whose only PC use is e-mail and occasional browsing ... and they work just fine for that purpose.

Keeping both an e-mail client and IE open works very well on these, by the way.    You'll minimize any issues with multiple tabs in IE, however, if you only use a single instance of IE ... and since this box is primarily for testing web pages, that's why I made that comment.
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by:nsitedesigns
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This is what another "expert" told me.  Not sure how legit it is:

All that needs to be done is follow strict security practices, which everyone should be doing anyway.
 
Drop Internet Explorer in favor of Chrome or Firefox.  Internet Explorer 8 is for XP only and will not be updated.  Just download a different modern browser- they are all free, and better.
 
Make sure Windows Firewall is enabled.
 
Use a modern mail client and drop Outlook Express.  Outlook Express is XP only and will not be updated.
 
Make sure you have a good antivirus/anti-malware program running and that it is up-to-date
 
Be careful downloading, especially if you are not certain they are from a legitimate source.
 
Watch out for email attachments, especially from senders that you do not know.  Most antivirus programs have a mail scanner that can catch infected mail.
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by:aadih
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nsitedesigns, Yes. One could take such precautions and continue using XP.

Note, however, that a 'false sense of security' (even with the latest and greatest) is equally dangerous. Being vigilant always is the best policy.
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by:vmagan
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I agree aadih. You should still take security measures even if you do decide to upgrade to win 7.

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by:rogeroren
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You need one gig of ram for XP to run normally, two gig of ram for Windows 7. When we loaded Windows 7 (32bit version) on a computer with only one gig ram, it ran like molasses. I've used parallels on my iMac to run Windows XP, it is faster than virtual box (I use virtual box on my Win 7 machine to run the same Windows XP setup). As to testing with different IE versions, my company prohibits upgrading past IE 9, because of the compatibility issues with the business web pages we use. You have to balance usability with security.
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by:aadih
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FWIW: I ran Windows XP with 500 Mb RAM with no problems. Ran Windows 7 with 1 Gb RAM with no problem. In fact running Windows 8.1 with 1 Gb RAM with no problems.

Not arguing, only providing another data point (and I am not just an email and light surfing user of a PC).
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by:garycase
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"... All that needs to be done is follow strict security practices, which everyone should be doing anyway. "  ==>  You can certainly do that, and continue to use XP indefinitely ... but that's (a) NOT what you asked; and (b) a bad idea for what you use it for, due to XP's lack of support for the newer versions of IE

"... Drop Internet Explorer in favor of Chrome or Firefox.  Internet Explorer 8 is for XP only and will not be updated.  Just download a different modern browser- they are all free, and better. "  ==>  First, IE 8 is NOT "... for XP only" -- but what IS true is that v8 is the latest version of IE that XP supports.    That's a key reason you need to upgrade your OS -- since your main use for this system is "... testing while developing websites ..." you clearly need to be able to confirm your websites work correctly on the latest version of Internet Explorer !!     It's certainly true you could also install Chrome and Firefox ... but you should do that anyway, as to truly test a website you want to check its behavior on ALL of the major browsers.
 
"... Use a modern mail client and drop Outlook Express.  Outlook Express is XP only and will not be updated. "  ==>  Certainly true that OE hasn't been supported on any OS since XP.    But from your description of your usage, you don't do mail on this system anyway.
 
"... Make sure you have a good antivirus/anti-malware program running and that it is up-to-date " ==>  Should be true for any OS.
 
"... Be careful downloading, especially if you are not certain they are from a legitimate source. "  ==>  Clearly this also applies to any OS.
 
"... Watch out for email attachments, especially from senders that you do not know.  Most antivirus programs have a mail scanner that can catch infected mail.  "  ==> Yet again, this applies to any OS.

Bottom line:   For what you use this system for, you definitely need to upgrade.   But if that's all you use it for, your current hardware is almost certainly fine -- you just need to install Windows 7 on it ... and, if it has less than 1GB of memory, add a bit of memory.
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