Upgrade Windows ME to XP?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Gazette Reader Dan L. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

My PC came pre-loaded with Windows ME and now I'm thinking of upgrading to Windows XP. Do I have to uninstall ME, or can I simple run an upgrade option to install Windows XP? I've downloaded a few of your eBooks and videos onto this machine, and I'd hate to lose them. On another note: I've see Windows XP advertised on the Internet for $50. Is this legitimate? If so, can you recommend a reputable source? "

My response:

Upgrading from ME to XP can be done by inserting the Windows XP disc into your machine (after Windows ME is loaded). If you have auto-run enabled on your PC (most Windows machines do), the Windows setup utility will load and ask if you want to upgrade. If you simply 'upgraded' without formatting your hard drive first, keep in mind that:

  • If you had problems with Windows ME, these problems may be 'imported' into XP (via the System Registry)
     
  • Not all programs that work with ME are compatible with XP
     
  • A problem may occur during the upgrade and you may be left without an operable computer
     
  • A fresh install is *always* better than installing over top of an existing copy

A much better idea would be to backup your important stuff (documents, downloads, mp3s, etc), install Windows XP from scratch, and then restore your files. It sounds like a lot of work -- but really, it's only a few extra steps and it's a *much* safer alternative.

RE: I've see Windows XP advertised on the Internet for $50. Is this legitimate?

To date I have yet to come across by a legitimate copy of Windows XP on the net that sells for less than $250. If you've received offers for "OEM Windows XP" for next to dirt cheap ($50), it's most likely a scam.

Pirated copies (or "OEM" software specials, as they are often referred to on the black market) will *not* allow you to register your copy of Windows XP with Microsoft. Subsequently, you won't be able to download any critical updates, which will leave your computer system wide open to hackers, viruses, and the like.

For more info, read the following previous gazette articles entitled:

OEM software -- deal or deception?, Part 1

OEM software -- deal or deception?, Part 2

It's an interesting read!

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