How to upgrade Windows XP to Windows 7

Windows Xp in quickly nearing its end of life as support from Microsoft is now slated to expire in April of 2011. With the release of Windows 7, users can now upgrade to the latest version of Windows that adds great functionality and also requires less computer power than the fledging Windows Vista. It is important to note that users of Windows Vista can upgrade to Windows 7 but users of Windows XP must backup files or use a migration tool such as Windows 7 Easy Transfer. Note that all applications must be reinstalled for XP users making the upgrade!

  1. Step 1

    Verify that you can upgrade your computer to Windows 7 - The easiest way to determine if your computer can "handle" Windows 7 is to run the free Windows 7 Upgrade advisor from Microsoft -

  2. Step 2

    Backup your data and files - Because you have to complete "wipe-out" and run a "clean install" of Windows 7 on an XP machine, you must backup all files that you want to preserve. The easiest way to do this is to backup to an external drive. Other options include burning to USB drives, CDs, DVDs, or posting your data to an online resource. Note that you can run the "Windows Easy Transfer" application to help copy data to your external drives. This application is included on the Windows 7 installation DVD.

  3. Step 3

    Be prepared to reinstall all applications - Before "cleansing" your machine, make sure you have copies of all installs for your applications. Obviously CDs and DVDs are best. If you have a downloaded install, make sure you copy it to your backed up data in the step above.

  4. Step 4

    Upgrade - Begin the upgrade process by inserting the Windows 7 DVD and double-clicking the setup.exe file if it does not start up automatically. You will be prompted to accept the license agreement, etc. Pay attention when the partition option comes up. If you want to replace your old version of Windows, select the partition that has the old XP install (this is usually the largest partition for the normal Windows user).

  5. Step 5

    Restore backup up files - After the Windows 7 installation completes, you can now copy all your backed up files from your backup media to your "fresh" installation. Note that the Windows Easy Transfer application can be utilized again to speed up this process.

  6. Step 6

    Clean-up your hard drive - When performing the upgrade, your old version of Windows is backed up to a Windows.old directory. To get this space back (it can be massive), run the Disk Cleanup utility which can be found at Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup. Once the application launches you can click on "Clean up system files" and select the "Previous


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