I know plenty of people out there who heard about the problems Vista had and opted to get the XP operating system instead or downgrade from Vista to XP.  The problem tens of thousands now have is upgrading their operating system from XP to Windows 7.

Microsoft does not support a direct upgrade path for XP to Windows 7.  That means that if you want to install the latest and greatest operating system you have to do a clean install.  That means wiping out your drive and installing the new operating system on it.

I know what you’re thinking and I am right there with you.  Why would the big M do such a thing?  The answer is rather complicated but in a nut shell XP is a legacy operating system.  It’s been out for a decade now and has not been supported by them for a while besides updates.

The truth of the matter is you do have several different options.  I will do my best to give you a quick over view of your options.  Please read till the end because there are some important steps you do not want to miss out on.

The first is a delayed data transfer.  Basically you use the Easy Transfer Wizard to backup all your personal settings and documents.  Then you save it to a DVD, external drive of over the network.  Now that you have a copy of all your personal stuff you can wipe the drive.  Ensure you disconnect the backup device you used first.  This ensures you do not do anything too dumb like wipe the wrong drive.  Now you can install Windows 7 and then transfer over all your personal settings and documents.  I should note that you will still need to re-install your programs but your custom settings and personal files will be there.  Don’t think of it as a inconvenience.  Instead think of it as starting fresh.  Your operating system will never of been faster.  At least I’m trying to look on the bright side.

The second option is not one I would personally use but it works.  It requires you to, dare I say it,  buy Vista.  You use the vista disk to first upgrade from XP to Windows Vista.  Then install the SP1 for Vista and then upgrade again to Windows 7.  It works like a charm.  Just note that you need to keep the same bit platform. So if you have XP 32 bit then you will need to use the Windows 7 32 bit.  Also if you use Vista home then you will have to use the Windows 7 home, the same goes for Pro.  If you use Windows Vista Premium then you have to use Windows 7 premium.  Are you confused yet?  I will add a chart at the bottom of this article to help you out.

I saved the best option for last.  Call it a reward for you reading through the rest of the article.  In this option you will be able to transfer over all your programs and custom settings.  That is correct.  You will not have to re-install your software programs.  The only down side is you will need to spend around 30 bucks on a program called Pcmover Upgrade Assistant.  This is the best 30 bucks you will spend this year.  In a nut shell you install the PCmover  Upgrade Assistant program.  Then run the wizard.  Just follow the prompts. Then insert the Windows 7 CD.  Choose “custom” install.  The purpose of this is so you do NOT format the drive.

Once the install is done you need to re-install the PCmover Upgrade Assistant software.  Now you can follow the prompts and get all your data moved over into Windows 7.  This software works on 32 to 64 bit transfers and vice versa.  It is really a slick program for the low cost.

Now onto the important message.  Before you install Windows 7 you need to think about a few things.  First is to ensure your programs will still work on Windows 7.  Chances are they will but you may want to double check first.  I would recommend using the Windows 7 upgrade adviser tool from Microsoft.  Just follow the link.  It’s a free tool and it will let you know how well your PC should run on a Windows 7 as well as what hardware and software will work.  Keep in mind you may still need to get some driver updates or update your software program to make it compatible.  Just be prepared for that.  You need to run the free upgrade adviser tool first just to make sure.

If you are using a computer built from a manufacture then I would suggest you go to that manufacturers website and click on the support section.  then go to the drivers section.  You want to ensure drivers are listed for Windows 7 there.  If no drivers are listed then it may pose a problem after you upgrade.  In 95% of all cases I am guessing you will not have an issue.

Another cool link to check out to ensure software is compatible besides the Windows 7 Advisor program is www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/windows-7/en-us/default.aspx

Here is the chart I was talking about earlier

XP to Windows 7 upgrade

I hope this article has been helpful to you.  Again our recommended solution is to spend the 30 bucks and use PCmover Upgrade Assistant.  We are working on getting a video made to show the exact steps on doing this.

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