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Windows 7: Best upgrade path from XP Pro?


26 Dec 2009   #1
JMc

Windows 7
 
 
Best upgrade path from XP Pro?

I've been generally happy with XP Pro for the last several years. So much so that I skipped Vista all together, except for the family computer that it came pre-installed on last year. A major problem with Vista last week forced me to upgrade the family to Windows 7 on their PC and I'm feeling slightly envious and wouldn't mind getting rid of the periodic Blue screen of death on my machine, anyway. Only trouble is, I have tons of data and tons of applications I don't want to have to re-install.

My understanding is that XP can be upgraded to Vista without losing data or settings. Is that true? And if so, does that mean I could go from XP to Vista, then immediately upgrade Vista ito Windows 7 in order to preserve my programs and data structure? Would that work? If so, is there a better way to avoid a "clean install" when going from XP to 7?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Dec 2009   #2

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Hello, Welcome!

It seems kind of silly to upgrade from XP to 7, if you think about it. The OS's are so different, all that can be saved is the files, basically. Your programs might not work, either. It is much better to do a clean install.

To save your files, you can use Windows Easy Transfer. It comes with Vista, but requires a free download for XP.

Hope this helps,
~Jonathan

Edit: to answer your question, yes, XP can be upgraded to Vista, which can be upgraded to 7. It's just not a good idea.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Dec 2009   #3
Microsoft MVP

 

It likely won't perform as crisply as a clean install, but if you want to try it to test the performance with the future option to clean install, then this is how it can be done:

Use an imaging program to back up your XP pro HD externally, so that at any point you can reimage it back to start over. Free Macrium Reflect is very good and self-explanatory. It will make you a rescue CD to launch the reimaging if necessary.

As with Windows 7, all Vista installers are the same except some versions are hidden due to an ei.cfg file in Sources folder. You can extract the DVD files to your desktop, remove that file, then run Setup from the XP desktop to do an in-place Upgrade of your XP to Vista. Just select the correct Vista version, which the XP upgrade chart shows from Pro must be Business or Ultimate for in-place Upgrade.

If necessary you can even recompile the Vista files back into an all-versions ISO and burn to DVD: Bootable ISO - Create from Installation Files

Now you have an in-place Upgraded Vista. Download and run the Windows 7 Upgrade advisor to clear the way for you to next do the in-place Upgrade to Windows 7. According to the upgrade chart, In-Place Upgrade from Vista Business must be to either Windows 7 Business or Ultimate, while Vista Ultimate can only in-place to Windows 7 Ultimate.

So purchase the Upgrade you prefer and in-place Vista to Windows 7: Upgrade Install with Windows 7

Let us know how it goes or if you need any help along the way. Your Upgrade disk can be used to clean install Windows 7 at any point in the future by booting from the DVD with another OS still on the HD, allowing you to insert the key before you format the HD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 Dec 2009   #4

 

Backup your data and to a clean install, please. It will save you lots of greif.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Dec 2009   #5
JMc

Windows 7
 
 

Good advice, all. Thanks for the detailed information. I'm still on the fence as to what to do. But the more I think about it, the more a clean install makes sense. I think my first order of business will be to download Easy File Transfer from Microsoft. I actually have two identical PC's in my office. Each contains two separate HDD's. One as a backup. After backing up all my data (I'm thinking of simply cloning my main HDD onto my secondary HDD on one of the machines) then do a clean install of Windows 7, followed by the use of Easy File Transfer and see how things go. If programs don't work as expected or other unforeseen problems occur, I can simply swap drives and have my original configuration back and working as if nothing had changed. I guess my only option then will be to purchase the Windows 7 full install package. But which to get? 32-bit or 64-bit? I'm running two gigs of RAM in each of my machines, so I guess before I do anything, I'd better install two more gigs of RAM, right?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Dec 2009   #6
Microsoft MVP

 

Why would you buy full retail version when you qualify for Upgrade, which is the exact same installer but costs half as much?

You don't even need to have XP installed, as MS allows the convenience of using a workaround for those who don't want to reinstall their XP/Vista: Clean Install with a Upgrade Windows 7 Version
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Dec 2009   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

JMC, it can be done. I have done it. You don't even need to activate vista, just do the upgrade without entering a serial and select Ultimate so you can ensure all your features work.

If there was something I can change about doing it though was a couple of key points:

1- Don't have multiple user accounts before the upgrade. Its a pain. Remove the multiple accounts or you may have a problem.

2- Uninstall ALL your printer prior because the incompatible drivers will cause your printer spooler service to stop alltogether. You should get new drivers all together.

3- Uninstall any strange startup programs you may have installed even if Windows Upgrade advisor doesn't detect them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Dec 2009   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, clean install, upgrade disc
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JMc View Post
I've been generally happy with XP Pro for the last several years. So much so that I skipped Vista all together, except for the family computer that it came pre-installed on last year. A major problem with Vista last week forced me to upgrade the family to Windows 7 on their PC and I'm feeling slightly envious and wouldn't mind getting rid of the periodic Blue screen of death on my machine, anyway. Only trouble is, I have tons of data and tons of applications I don't want to have to re-install.

My understanding is that XP can be upgraded to Vista without losing data or settings. Is that true? And if so, does that mean I could go from XP to Vista, then immediately upgrade Vista ito Windows 7 in order to preserve my programs and data structure? Would that work? If so, is there a better way to avoid a "clean install" when going from XP to 7?
Use windows easy tranfer, everything will be transferred except programs. Its easy, free and from microsoft.com. Back up everything first on an external, just in case.

Easy trnsfer even trasfers, settings, cookies, mail, folders, desktop You wil like it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Dec 2009   #9

Windows 7 Eternity Build 7600 RTM Activated x86
 
 

go straight from xp to 7 on a clean install. part of the problem with vista was the fact that microsour tried to spur hardware sales by making vista out of the box not run well on older hardware forcing people to buy either new hardware or new pc's. 7 is designed to except far older hardware than vista ever was. and since you really want to do a clean install you will most likely need nothing more than 7 home premium. the average user will never need more than this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Dec 2009   #10
JMc

Windows 7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by richc46 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JMc View Post
I've been generally happy with XP Pro for the last several years. So much so that I skipped Vista all together, except for the family computer that it came pre-installed on last year. A major problem with Vista last week forced me to upgrade the family to Windows 7 on their PC and I'm feeling slightly envious and wouldn't mind getting rid of the periodic Blue screen of death on my machine, anyway. Only trouble is, I have tons of data and tons of applications I don't want to have to re-install.

My understanding is that XP can be upgraded to Vista without losing data or settings. Is that true? And if so, does that mean I could go from XP to Vista, then immediately upgrade Vista ito Windows 7 in order to preserve my programs and data structure? Would that work? If so, is there a better way to avoid a "clean install" when going from XP to 7?
Use windows easy tranfer, everything will be transferred except programs. Its easy, free and from microsoft.com. Back up everything first on an external, just in case.

Easy trnsfer even trasfers, settings, cookies, mail, folders, desktop You wil like it.
All you guys are extremely awesome, thank you. Great group here.

I've got a related question about Easy Transfer... When I upgraded the family PC from Vista to 7, I had to do something a little weird because my Vista program had gotten corrupted and there was no way to restore it to bootable status, even with the Vista Recovery disc. I didn't want to lose the families data, so I installed 7 to the small C: drive partition that contained HP recovery files originally when the computer was shipped new. Then, I had to increase the partition size of c: from 12 gigs because it was too small. I learned about Easeus on this forum and that thing worked GREAT. So now, I actually have two drives in the machine. The partitioned C: and D: drive, and a separate F: drive, which is empty at the moment.

Is there a way for me to use Easy Transfer to move data files from the D: drive, where the operating system USED to reside, over to the c: partition where Windows 7 now resides? I haven't been able to figure out a way to do that. D: still contains the old Windows folder with Vista.

It's not a huge deal moving things over manually if I have to, but I just thought it would be nice to be able to move some of the user files over to Windows 7 automatically if at all possible. Thanks again. Hope this makes sense.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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