Upgrade Desktop XP to Windows 7


Anyone have experience upgrading a domain member from Windows XP to Windows 7? I have always run a clean install and in this one instance I am looking to take the shortest route.
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
To get to Windows 7 you absolutely should be using Windows 7 Pro 64-bit. There is NO upgrade path from XP to Windows 7 Pro 64-bit. You need to do a clean install.

You also need to make sure the machine will run Windows 7 Pro 64-bit. It may not. I just participated in one question here where the person asking a similar question has to install a new video card in the old machine.

Make sure an upgrade is sensible. It never has been for my client base. We replace old XP machines with new Windows 7 machines and the results are better (a lot better). We have been doing this over a two year period to spread the cost load.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
You're not going to get an XP machine to run Win 7 64 unless the machine is a 64-bit machine to begin with.  
So start there.

I've done both kinds.  Stuck with 32-bit on the 32-bit machines and did 64-bit on the 64-bit machines - generally with added memory in the latter because XP is invariably 32-bit.  Well, yes, there is a 64-bit version of XP but it's a rare install and had little support.

Run the Microsoft Win 7 compatibility test to see if it thinks the machine is compatible.

If it's a Dell (or other), go to the company website and look for drivers.  
Windows 7 comes with a lot of drivers so this may not be a stumbling block but it doesn't hurt to look.
I have upgraded Dell machines that only had Vista drivers available - and I did use some of those.
Dicey perhaps.

John Hurst makes a good point.  Is the XP machine worth carrying forward?  If the demands are going to be modest and the machine is fairly new / fast then that's OK.  But if the machine is old and slow I'd forget it.  Or, if the demands are likely to be more than minimal - same thing.

What's the cost difference?
$100 say for Windows 7
$50 for more memory.
$100 value at least for installation - if you count this.
Now you're at $250.

If you do the work yourself and will be happy with the machine then it looks like $150 vs. what?  $700 or more?
That can be worth it to some folks.

If you don't do the work yourself and may not be happy with the machine for much longer then it's $250 vs. maybe $500 (just for argument's sake) seems less likely to be worth the trouble.
burkem3434Author Commented:
I'm sorry my question was so general....

I have desktop that was purchased with Windows 7 almost 2 years ago and required a downgrade for a specific app that hadn't yet caught up.

It has the required specs for an upgrade. The 32 bit is fine since the only use of this desktop is for this business application that isn't a resource hog (plus there is only 4GB ram in this desktop). It is a dell and I have the original DVD's it shipped with for 32 bit windows 7 pro.

My question is in regards to an in place upgrade of a domain member. Have you had any experience with that and are there any issues or pitfalls? I was looking for a shortcut and to take an hour vs four if you take into consideration the data backup, clean install, (drivers will be on the site), the application install, the joining if the domain, ect...

Thanks for all the helpful insight.
Cloud Class® Course: MCSA MCSE Windows Server 2012

This course teaches how to install and configure Windows Server 2012 R2.  It is the first step on your path to becoming a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE).

web_trackerComputer Service TechnicianCommented:
We have gone through probably close to a hundred upgrades over the past 8 months. We normally create a ghost image of the client's drive then reimage it (we have a windows 7 image we use to wipe the drive and reimage it using the windows 7 os, with MS office 2010, Adobe pro, google chrome, etc. as a standard image). We use the SCCM to create our images.  Once the drive is imaged, if the client requires any specialized software this is installed as well. We then create the users profile which is joined to the domain, we then map the client's drives and then migrate all the user's settings and data back to their profile.  This process does take time but it would be much less than if we had to install the os, drivers, basics applications, then create user's profile and migrate their data to the new build.
Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
My question is in regards to an in place upgrade...

you can't do in-place upgrade from xp to windows 7; need to start clean

Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7

I was looking for a shortcut...

unfortunately, no.  you will need to reinstall from the original media it came with.  the drivers should be there but always good to get the latest drivers (and bios) from dell.  you will need to join the domain again, reinstall applications and restore data
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Also at this late date (6 months from the end of initial support for Windows 7) do not even consider a 32-bit OS. That day is as good as dead as XP.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Actually you can do an inplace upgrade but you need the tools to do it
  MDT 2012 X64 Direct Download Link
 Windows 7 AIK
Windows 7 AIK supplement Direct Download Link

Building the Deployment Environment
Migrating the PC Part 2

Create your Lab machine with Deployment Kit, WAIK, copy and paste the files from the WAIK Supplement for windows 7 SP1 over the files in c:\program files(x86)\

Now you have to create a deployment task, you will require both the windows xp sp3 and windows 7 Pro/Ultimate/Enterprise Disks
Import the Operating Systems into the Deployment Workbench

video and more to follow
Ok... nobody has even mentioned the way via vista yet.

I upgraded a few domain joined XPs to win7 (32bit->32bit) and it went ok with no problems afterwards. In order to keep installed programs and settings, you need to upgrade in 2 steps: xp->vista business->win7 pro. There is NO other way.

It works but is only recommended if the time to setup and configure applications would be considerable.
since it's a Dell - look if the recovery partition is still there - probably you can just do a factory restore !

more info here :  http://www.goodells.net/dellrestore/win7/win7recovery.shtml
Ah, I should have added to my comment that you don't need a vista license for the vista step in between, you can skip entering and/or activating before you move on to 7.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
At the step where you convert from 32-bit to 64-bit (even at Vista) you have to reinstall.

So in a rollout, I would be inclined to just to a fresh Windows 7 install. I really believe that is best overall.
Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
I agree on the clean install.
By the time you fool around with upgrade options and all their quirky special steps, you will use up the time you think you might save.
A clean install is pretty easy anyway.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
@burkem3434  - One thing you might consider with the end of Windows 7 in sight is to upgrade instead as it have a longer lifespan now.

I have my Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit working very well, only on the Desktop, working like Windows 7 and faster than Windows 7.
burkem - how is it going?
do you still have the recovery partition?
burkem3434Author Commented:
I just went ahead and performed a clean install over the weekend and lost a few hours of "family time" (which as you know always goes over well).

There is some really helpful information in this thread for others searching later down the road.

Thanks again for the comments and participation. First man gets the points :)
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
@burkem3434  - Thank you for the update and I was happy to help.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows XP

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.

Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.