Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7

Introduction: To upgrade your PC from Windows XP to Windows 7, you’ll need to select the Custom option during Windows 7 installation. A custom installation doesn’t preserve your programs, files, or settings. It’s sometimes called a “clean” installation for that reason.

A custom installation is more complex, and it can sometimes take a couple of hours to complete. We created this five-step tutorial to help guide you through the entire process each step of the way.

What you need

1. An external hard disk. You’ll need to move your files off of your PC before you install Windows 7. To make this easier, we recommend a free download called Windows Easy Transfer, which will require an external hard disk. They’re readily available at electronics and office supply stores, and they provide an easy way to add additional storage space to your computer.

2. The original installation discs or setup files for the programs that you want to use with Windows 7. You’ll need to reinstall your programs by hand after installing Microsoft office 2010. When you run Windows Easy Transfer you will get a report that lists the programs that you are currently using with Windows XP.

32-bit or 64-bit: Which version of Windows 7 to install?

Both 32-bit and 64-bit installation discs are included in the Windows 7 package. 64-bit operating systems can handle large amounts of memory—typically 4 gigabytes (GB) of random access memory (RAM) or more—more efficiently than 32-bit operating systems. However, not all computers are 64-bit capable.

You’ll probably need the 32-bit version, but to make sure, click “Start”, right-click “My Computer”, and then click “Properties”.

1. If you don’t see “x64 Edition” listed, then you’re running the 32-bit version of Windows XP. Step 1 of this tutorial will show you how to run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, which can let you know if your computer is capable of running the 64-bit version of Windows 7.

2. If “x64 Edition” is listed under System, you’re running the 64-bit version of Windows XP and can run the 64-bit version of Windows 7.
Next: Download and run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor.

The fives general steps about how to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 are as follows:

Step 1: Make sure that your programs and devices will work with Windows 7.

Step 2: Moving files and settings, and gathering your program discs.

Step 3: Installing Windows 7.

Step 4: Moving your files and settings back to your computer.

Step 5: Reinstall your programs and update drivers.

 

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