A move from XP to Windows 7, not so easy.

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by wareco, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. On October 22, Microsoft will finally release a new version of Windows that will be as good as the deeply disappointing Windows Vista should have been when it came out in January 2007. The new edition, called Windows 7, is a big improvement over both Vista and the sturdy, 2001-vintage Windows XP still widely in use. It will give Apple’s long-superior Mac OS X operating system a run for its money (though Apple might maintain its edge with a new version, called Snow Leopard, due in September).

    But how will Windows users transition their current computers to the new Windows 7? While this latest operating system stresses simplicity, the upgrade process will be anything but simple for the huge base of average consumers still using XP, who likely outnumber Vista users. It will be frustrating, tedious and labor-intensive.

    Microsoft will come out with a new and much-improved version of Windows on October 22, 2009. But upgrading from XP to Windows 7 promises to be a frustrating experience, says Personal Technology columnist Walt Mossberg.

    In fact, the process will be so painful that, for many XP users, the easiest solution may be to buy a new PC preloaded with Windows 7, if they can afford such a purchase in these dire economic times. In fact, that’s the option Microsoft recommends for XP users. (Conveniently, this option also helps Microsoft’s partners that make PCs.)

    By contrast, if you’re using Vista, the upgrade to Windows 7 should be a fairly easy, straightforward process. Because the new version shares most of the underlying guts of Vista, it installs itself on your current machine relatively quickly and smoothly, preserving all your files, folders, settings and programs. In a test of this process earlier this year, using a pre-release version of Windows 7, I upgraded a Vista laptop with no problems and little effort in about an hour.

    But Windows XP users, including the millions who have recently snapped up cheap, XP-powered netbooks, will first have to wipe out everything on their hard disks in order to install Windows 7. on their current machines. In fact, Microsoft doesn’t even call migrating to Windows 7 from XP an “upgrade.” It refers to it as a “clean install,” or a “custom installation.” This disk wipeout can be performed manually, or automatically during the Windows 7 installation process.

    If you’re an XP user, the disk-wiping will cause you to lose your current file and folder organization, and all your programs, though not necessarily your personal data files themselves.

    However, in order to preserve these personal files, like documents and photos, you will have to undertake a long, multi-step process, typically requiring the use of an external hard disk, to which all these files will have to be temporarily moved and then moved back.

    That means you’ll have to buy or borrow an external hard disk, or clean out enough room on one you already own, to hold all your files.

    And the pain doesn’t end there. If you’re an XP user, moving to Windows 7 on your current computer means you will also have to re-install all your programs and restore all the software drivers for your printers and other add-on hardware. That could require locating the original program disks, or downloaded program installers, and then re-downloading and re-installing the numerous updates that have been issued since these original disks or installers came out.

    And, there’s another problem: XP hardware drivers won’t work in Windows 7. Microsoft says it can automatically replace thousands of common older drivers with newer Windows 7-compatible versions, but admits that there may be some for which it doesn’t have replacements. The company specifically warns that some netbooks may include obsolete drivers.

    Netbook owners face another problem. Even though Microsoft says Windows 7 will work fine on netbooks, most of them lack a DVD drive, which is needed to run the Windows 7 installation disk. So they’ll have to buy or borrow an external DVD drive.

    Microsoft has taken some steps to make this easier. It plans to offer a free “Easy Transfer” program (explained at http://bit.ly/M5Il7) that will automate the process of moving your personal files to an external drive, and then restoring them to your computer after Windows 7 is installed. But this program won’t transfer your programs, only your personal data.

    Also, if you don’t want to use an external hard disk to temporarily store your files, you can transfer them over a cable or network to another computer. The company even has an alternative where it will stow your personal data in a special folder called windows.old, on the transformed PC. But you’ll then have to manually move all of these files back to their normal locations.

    Finally, Microsoft officials point out that this XP migration issue may be moot for many owners of older XP computers, because their ancient machines lack enough memory, hard disk space, or graphics power to accommodate Windows 7 anyway.

    And, even if a really old machine is marginally capable of running Windows 7, it’s a mistake to try and cram a new OS into it and expect a great experience.

    But if you do own an otherwise capable computer that happens to be running Windows XP, you’re likely facing a painful process should you choose to transition it to Windows 7.
    —Find Walt Mossberg’s columns and videos online, free, at the All Things Digital Web site, walt.allthingsd.com. Email him at mossberg@wsj.com.

  2. Pekelo


    No need to get excited or alarmed, XP will be supported until 2014, so just trade on! :cool:
  3. the1


    Sounds as though the government may have picked up the phone and given MSFT a suggestion -- make people spend their money :mad:
  4. I agree with you 100% !!

    If you have XP, and mainly use your PC for trading(most trading platforms still use and/or recommend XP), then why upgrade??

    Why is it that so many ppl "have to have the newest software"...

    SIMPLICITY is what gets and keeps you in the game.....
  5. If software running on your XP machine runs on W7, and if you can get drivers for W7, doing a "fresh install" isn't that big of a deal.... probably no worse than doing a fresh install of XP... which has to be done occasionally anyway.

    If you're running a Celeron or P4, likely better to just leave XP on that computer and buy a new one for W7. If you've got a decent C2D or newer, you MIGHT want to try the upgrade... but little to be gained in any event.

    It will be curious to see if those PC makers who are offering "XP downgrade" on computers purchased with Vista... will do the same with W7.
  6. Corey


    7 is a fantastic system. You can get the release candidate, and a temporary activation key, for free from the Windows 7 homepage. If you have a spare box lying around, I highly recommend installing it. It seems very stable, looks good, and takes a lot of the features I liked on my Mac and migrates them to Windows.

    All in all, what Vista should've been...
  7. what do you care about Win 7 ?
    Xp is fine. You don't need anything else.
    In fact you could trade for the rest of your life with XP if it wasn't for developers needing a way to feed their family, rather make their stock options go up.
    If yoiu need Win 7, I guess the consumption society succeeded in making a good slave of you.
  8. I don’t know why you would go from XP that is working fine to 7 that is brand new and not all the issues have been found yet. One day maybe, but I can’t think why someone would do that anytime soon. Upgrading from Vista to 7 makes sense, but every tech guys I have ever talked to says that you should never upgrade an operating system, but do a full new install.
  9. I agree. I tried the latest version of W7. I wasn't impressed. Still looks and feels like Vista to me. I hate the new menu for the control panel. And now, there is no way to permanently change back to Classic View. Takes me twice as long to find what I'm looking for with Vista and W7. Swapped out the W7 drive (formerly had Vista on it)and put it back in the drawer where it has been for the last 18 months. Put the XP drive back in. In a trading rig, I can't see a good reason to use anything other than XP.
  10. Nice but Ubuntu and XP do everything I need though. No real reason to switch.
    #10     Jul 23, 2009