Upgrade from WinXP to Windows 7?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader 'Lou' writes:

" Dear Dennis,

In regard to the super discounted sale on Windows 7 currently available through Infopackets and Amazon.com, I have a question regarding the Windows 7 Upgrade DVD. Can I use the upgrade media disc to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7? I thought we would need the Windows 7 full version to upgrade? "

My response:

Yes, you can most definitely upgrade from XP to Windows 7 using the "upgrade" version.

Allow me to break it down into simple terms:

Full Version of Windows 7 Vs. Upgrade Media

If you're using the Windows 7 Upgrade disc (and not the "full" version of Windows 7), the minimum operating system required to upgrade to Windows 7 is Windows XP or Windows Vista. There is a way around this requirement, however (see point #4 below).

Aside from the name "Windows 7 Full Version" and "Windows 7 Upgrade Media", there is no difference between these two versions after they are installed on your machine. In other words, they both perform as good as the other.

Operating System Eligibility for Windows 7 Upgrade Media

To be 100% sure your PC meets the minimal hardware requirements for Windows 7, you should run Microsoft's Windows 7 upgrade advisor. I personally have a spare PC that does not meet these requirements, and Windows 7 runs fine, if not better than Windows XP.

Windows 7 Software Compatibility Checker

If you want to see if your current programs are compatible with Windows 7, you can use Microsoft's software compatibility checker website.

Alternative Ways to run Older Software on Windows 7

If your program is not on the compatibility list, you may still be able to run the program in question using Windows XP mode, or you can simply substitute your existing program with another one that does the same thing (and which is compatible with Windows 7), for example.

How to Install Windows 7 (Upgrade / Clean Install)

Here are a few facts you should know about installing Windows 7:

1. Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7 requires that you reinstall all your programs. There is no "migration" from XP to Windows 7. That said, a clean install is *always* the preferred method because it lessens the chance of an install going awry when importing old settings.

2. If you want to backup your PC before you install Windows 7, see my guide on how to do just that. The article was written with Windows XP in mind, but also applies to Vista users.

3. Upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7 has the migration option, but a clean install is recommended.

4. It is possible to do a clean install of Windows 7 using a "Windows 7 Upgrade" DVD, without having a previous install of Windows on your machine. WinSuperSite explains how to do this.

5. The time-limited discount on Windows 7 will expire at any time -- Microsoft has not commented on when it will end. That said, it expired last year sometime in early November and we're guestimating it will end around the same time. See our Windows 7 sale article for more info.

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