Deciding to upgrade XP to Windows 7 may be a difficult decision for some. Windows XP was one of the most popular operating systems on the market while its immediate successor, Windows Vista, was exceptionally unpopular. So unpopular, in fact, that many downgraded their Vista systems back to XP until Microsoft fixed the problems with their OS. Windows 7 was the answer to that consumer demand and it has been a tremendous success for them. Upgrading though, can be a tad complicated unless you’re careful about what you’re doing.
What you’ll need to begin:
- A computer
- A steady connection to the Internet
- An external hard drive to back up all your files. This is particularly important, because the Windows 7 installation process will wipe your hard drive completely the Windows 7 operating system installation disks
- Information on your computer so you will know which version of Windows 7 to install; the 32-bit version or the 64-bit version. (this can be determined by clicking “Start”, then right click on the “Computer” option, which should pull up the information in whether your computer us currently running the 32 or 64-bit version of XP.)
Once you have these steps completed, you can begin the process to upgrade XP to Windows 7.
- Check your device and program compatibility by running the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. To make sure you don’t get any surprises when you begin running Windows 7 after the upgrade from XP, install and run the Adviser, which will scan any devices connected to the computer as well as any programs that are currently installed and issue a report indicating if there will be any compatibility issues after the upgrade. The Advisor is located here: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=160680
- Move any valuable files off of the computer you will be upgrading from XP to Windows 7. This can be done with a free tool Microsoft provides called Windows Easy Transfer (available here:http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=160881) or you can do the transfer manually to any external device of your choosing. This includes moving any program files since the installation process for Windows 7 will wipe the hard drive clean.
- Begin installing Windows 7. You’ll notice during the upgrade from XP to Windows 7 that once the installation disks are in and running there are two options available: “Upgrade” and “Custom." “Upgrade,” which allows users to preserve their files and programs without the need to back them up, is only available to those who are upgrading from Windows Vista. Users looking to upgrade from XP to Windows 7 need to choose the “Custom” option.
- Moving your files back from the external hard drive to the computer. Once the upgrade from XP to Windows 7 is complete, you can move your files back onto your computer. If you’re using Easy Transfer, there will be a step-by-step process for automatically completing this task. If you stored the files manually, then you’ll need to reinstall them manually as well.
- Finish the install process by updating setting and programs. Make sure your computer is connected to the Internet and wait for Microsoft to respond and update any drivers and programs you may need to complete your upgrade from XP to Windows 7. This automatic update will only apply to Microsoft programs. If you have a third-party program you wish still wish to use in the new OS, that update will need to be done manually.