Upgrade XP To Windows 7
Support for Microsoft Windows XP Ends April 2014
As of April 2014, Microsoft will NO longer provide any type of support for the Windows XP operating system. So it is very advisable, especially for business users to upgrade their operating systems to a "modern" operating system such as Windows 7 or even 8 as soon as possible.
However operating system roll outs / deployments have to be thought out and planned and this guide aims to shed some light on the XP to Windows 7 upgrade path.
The first question being:
Why bother when XP runs perfectly well?
Good point so here are some answers. Should any security vulnerability arise within XP AFTER the support ending date, there will be NO Microsoft fix / update for this. Leaving the XP systems disadvantaged as far as security is concerned. Another example is end users connecting to an online service such as Office 365, again should any problems arise, there will be NO help for this with loss of service the likely outcome. Reduced security and possible loss of service alone should be enough to convince business owners towards upgrading!
Windows 7 also offers better features NOT available in XP such as BitLocker / BitLocker to Go, VHD disks, ReadyBoost, Windows Recovery Environment, built in system imaging and so on.
So now that you understand the why? Let's look at:
Can I upgrade from XP to Windows 7?
Yes and No. It all depends on what you mean by "upgrade".
If you mean can you install Windows 7 on a system that currently runs XP? - Yes if the Windows 7 minimum hardware requirements etc are met. Which are:
1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) orprocessor
1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
If you mean can you install Windows 7 over XP as an upgrade then the answer is NO.
The process of moving from Windows XP to 7 is a migration and not actually an upgrade.
The process of migrating or "upgrading" from XP to Windows 7 requires a Custom Install of Windows 7 which really means a new, clean installation destroying all data etc.
So when you insert your Windows 7 disk you have to choose Custom (Advanced) as shown:
If you try to perform an in-place upgrade you will be presented with this:
You have to either backup or transfer ALL your current user / settings data to some sort of backup medium (CD / DVD / external HDD / network share etc) using the Windows Easy Transfer (WET) / User State Migration Tool (USMT) - Both are found on the Windows 7 DVD or use an alternative backup method which achieves the same.
Advanced users or for those migrating multiple systems, the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit is perfect for capturing data, installing Windows 7 then applying the user's data on to the same or new machines.
So in reality it is NOT a true upgrade such as an inplace upgrade like you can do with Vista to Windows 7.
It is merely a method of retaining your files and data elsewhere until you install the new OS, then you can transfer your files and data back on.
The following recommended guidlines outline the XP to Windows 7 Migration process:
- Backup - Backup ALL REQUIRED user data / settings / Program settings
- Install - Install Windows 7
- Updates - Complete ALL required Windows 7 updates
- Install Applications - Reinstall your required applications
- Restore - Restore user / application settings using WET / USMT / MDT
This Microsoft video explains it all.
Here is the full Windows 7 upgrade chart:
Custom Install: Data NOT retained
In-Place Upgrade: Programs, settings and data retained
Can I check that my XP machine will run Windows 7 OK?
Yes use the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor
Download, install, scan and exam the output, correcting any issues BEFORE you begin the upgrade / migration.
Corporate environments should use the:
Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) toolkit - The Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit is an agentless inventory, assessment, and reporting tool that can securely assess IT environments for various platform migrations—including Windows 8, Windows 7, Office 2013, Office 2010, Office 365, Windows Server 2012 and Windows 2008 R2, SQL Server 2012, Hyper-V, Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track, and Windows Azure.
Can I use Windows 7 Upgrade media?
Yes you DO NOT have to fork out for the full version DVD to move from XP to Windows 7. The cheaper upgrade DVD's will do this. But this still requires a Custom Installation.
Will my XP applications work?
If you really need certain XP applications to work under Windows XP then there are a couple of methods you can use to achieve this.
Application Compatability Mode:
In this mode, applications that ran successfully in ealier versions of Windows, such as Windows XP, can be configured to run in Compatability mode. Simply right click on the application's .EXE / Shortcut select Properties, then select the Compatability tab. You will be presented with the following:
From here you can configure your application to run in Compatability Mode as well as various other settings.
Windows XP Mode:
Should the above be unsuccessful then we suggest that you upgrade to either Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate versions. These versions include the much hyped Windows XP Mode. This is a FREE downloadable add on which includes a fully licensed version of XP SP3 in a virtual machine (VM) environment.
You will have to make sure that your hardware supports Hardware-Assisted Virtualisation (HAV) such as Intel-VT or AMD-V as XP Mode WILL NOT work without it. This can be done by using either the FREE Microsoft HAV tool or the SecurAble utility.
If your system does support HAV and you have Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate then you can follow this easy XP Mode setup guide and have the XP OS and or XP specific applications running within your Windows 7.
The setup is pretty straight forward and painless and once done you can access an XP SP3 machine from your All Programs menu as shown:
Click Virtual Windows XP and your XP virtual machine will start as shown:
Once it loads you will be presented with this:
As you can see it is a Windows 7 host (main machine) with an XP guest machine.
Once you have the XP VM up and running you can then deploy your XP based applications via CD / USB drive / network share etc using the USB and or Tools menu.
Once your XP applications have been deployed to the XP VM, you can start the applications WITHOUT having to run the full VM. Pretty handy really.
If your system DOES NOT support HAV then you will have to create an XP Virtual Machine using other Virtual Machine software such Sun VirtualBox or VMWare etc. But this method will require a licensed copy of XP or you can use ready made XP virtual machines from Microsoft but these are time limited.
What if I don't like Windows 7?
What we suggest BEFORE you start messing with Windows 7 is create a full disk image of your XP system using FREE disk imaging software such as DiscWizard (FREE for Maxtor / Seagate drives) or DriveImage XML or Macrium Reflect etc. Business or non home users should use the paid for versions.
Then if you don't like Windows 7 or find issues with that you cannot live with then you can just restore your full XP system including files, folders, programs and settings to the way it was. No harm done.
The Windows Easy Transfer method will only work for the upgrade (XP to Windows 7) but NOT downgrading (Windows 7 to XP)
We hope this guide clears up some questions you have about upgrading from XP to Windows 7 and if you have any comments or suggestions or need help then please Contact Us.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 21 August 2013 14:43)