How Easy Will it be for XP Owners to Upgrade to Windows 7?

Very easy. Unless you want to keep all your personal files and programs:

The system for upgrading is complicated, but Vista owners can upgrade to the exactly comparable edition of Windows 7 while keeping all files, settings and programs in place.

Unfortunately, XP owners, the biggest body of Windows users, won’t be able to do that. They’ll have to wipe out their hard disks after backing up their files elsewhere, then install Windows 7, then restore their personal files, then re-install all their programs from the original CDs or downloaded installer files. Then, they have to install all the patches and upgrades to those programs from over the years.


  1. ‘Tis dumb…but I don’t think it’s a bad idea to wipe a hard drive every now and then. I just did it a few weeks ago, and my computer’s rnning much more smoothly.

  2. And it’s likely that whatever program you’re running on XP would be due for a reinstall on 7. Since I do wipes/moves of XP computers regularly I don’t look at this as a burden, but then YMMV.

  3. So I typically use a windows pc, and vista sucks (of course), but for my laboratory I was given a mac. Now this is only second hand, but I was told that it took extra long to be given to me because they had to remove the new OS (snow leopard?) and put the old one on because the new one was extremely difficult and incompatible with many programs. Now to be fair we use pretty unique software in this lab – we do human brain mapping, and I design experiments and view fMRI results on my computer – but does anyone else know anything about this? I might get rid of the old pc and get a mac for personal use in the near future, and was surprised that I hadn’t heard anything about this before.

  4. -/ I don’t know of anything specific that Snow Leopard changes, I know it’ll only install on Intel Macs and it doesn’t support PowerPC native installs but PowerPC programs should still run under Rosetta.

  5. You’re better off doing a wipe and fresh install even with Vista. You’ll be glad you did. Your system will run much faster and with fewer issues.

  6. I don’t know why you’d want to upgrade to Win 7 from XP anyway. It’s going to run so much slower with that, unless you upgrade your ram by a couple of gigs. If you have xp.. keep it.

  7. I’m hoping Windows 7 proves to be a good alternative to Vista. I can’t “downgrade” my laptop to XP and Vista makes it seem almost sluggish compared to my old laptop under XP (and my old laptop had specs that are almost rivaled by current netbooks). Until Windows 7 becomes the standard my desktop is staying XP.

  8. There are a lot of people running XP on hardware quite capable of running Vista/Win7. Most people running on older hardware are going to have to upgrade most of it anyway and for the majority of the population that means buying a new computer. Having used Win7 for the past several months though I’m quite happy with it and feel its a worthy successor to XP.

  9. “… an eight-year-old operating system is the equivalent of a 20-year-old car…”

    Bwaa! Pardon me while I rant:

    I’m still running w2000 on p3 & p4 machines at home. One is 11 yrs old, the other 7. They do just fine for web access, digital photography, wproc & spreadsheet stuff.

    MS should’ve gone to a subscription model long ago, instead of annoying its customers by inventing new “features” for non-existent needs.

    I recently bought a desktop replacement “media” laptop that came with Vista installed. It freezes/crashes just as often as the w2000 machines and doesn’t offer me much more that I want. Network connectivity with the w2000 machines is fragile at best.

    So now I’m supposed to shell out for W7? For what? They should’ve stopped at w2000 and gone into toothbrushes & flower pots.

  10. If you buy a new car and want to keep your old radio, do you complain about having to unscrew it from the old one and putting it in the new one?

    People expect too much from computers…

  11. Flaming Athiest–I think that migration tool probably only carries over the most basic system settings, and none of the installed programs.

    Anyway, it’s all the same to me. WinXP is a stable OS. An OS can certainly make things easier by being built well, but really all I need is a stable environment in which to run programs. WinXP does this just fine. So except for that mostly irrational “new new new!” impulse to upgrade, I really don’t see much need.

  12. By far, my biggest gripe about every new OS is that most of my old software won’t run on it. When Vista came out I found that I couldn’t install Pinnacle Studio, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and most of my other old software. Naturally, the software companies almost never release compatibility patches so you’ll be forced to buy their new versions that support the new OS. That can easily run into the thousands of dollars.

    Needless to say, Vista didn’t last long on my machine. I’m still satisfactorily running XP – with all of my old software.

    The Pro version of Windows 7 will have an “XP mode” although beta reports are that it’s not 100% reliable.

  13. My biggest problem with Vista is how resource-intensive it is. It just sucks away your RAM, and with the 32-bt version, you can only have two gigs of RAM, which is pathetic.

    I’m building my next computer myself, and I want to jam that baby full of RAM. Wonder what Windows 7 will be like, as far as that goes?

  14. There’s actually a way to make Windows Vista 32-bit recognize the extra ram. I never tried it because only my laptop uses Vista and I feel 2 gigs of ram in a general/light gaming use laptop should be sufficient (In Vista is barely is). Apparently it involves editing a very sensitive system file and doing it wrong could potentially cause some relatively serious problems.

  15. That’s actually wrong. You WILL lose your apps no matter what if you’re upgrading from XP, but your personal files will be preserved and moved into C:\windows.old folder. There’s no requirement to format your harddrive.

  16. People do expect too much of computers.

    If you want to KEEP something, like a photo or writing, print it out on plain old paper.

    An OS is an engine. Not a memory-preserving brain.

  17. When it comes to microsofts children, it use to be that ever other child was a good one, untill they started spawning children after windows xp, now everything later is just a new hair cut

  18. yea, ive done it. its a huge pain but the files do get moved to a folder called windows.old like aleriel said. the reason microsoft did this is because the core of w7 is so much different because the times have changed so much.

  19. The only thing affecting how much RAM your computer can effectively use is whether the OS is 32 bit or 64 bit. A 32 bit OS (regardless of whether it’s XP, Vista, or Win7) can only use up to approximately 3.2 gigs of RAM. A 64 bit OS can theoretically support 16 exabytes (17.2 billion gigabytes). So to whoever wants to load that system full of RAM, make sure you get the 64 bit version of the OS or you’ll be wasting your money.

  20. WordyGrrl…last I checked I had over 1,000,000 files on my home system. It would take weeks or months to sort through those just to decide what to keep, much less print (!?) everything I wanted to keep.

  21. LOL, that’s file overload, Mandible! Better to start sorting them out with a plan to print out what you want to keep. Not every photo is worth keeping. Just get some folders going like “Worth Framing” or “Historical Value”, etc.

    You wouldn’t want something as awful as a HD crash or a power surge blows all those million files away.

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