There has been a lot of discussion about the upgrade paths to Windows 7. And most of the latest have focused on the lack of upgrades from Windows XP. This would seem to be a daunting issue—especially for corporations. And it would seem like a daunting issue for consumers as well.
In truth, it’s probably more of an issue for corporations then it is for the average person. But here are some things to know.
Your only real option is a custom install (a fancy way of saying clean installation or wipe the drive and start over from scratch). If you’re considering this type of installation, and are a consumer, the first thing you need to do is run the File and Settings Transfer Wizard from the Windows 7 disc (Windows Easy Transfer). You will want to save the files and settings to an external drive or DVD’s. And you’ll want to make sure that you don’t password protect the file.
After you have installed Windows 7, you will have to reinstall all of your programs. You may be thinking “How do I know what I had installed, and what I want to reinstall?” That’s one place that your Windows Easy Transfer comes in. The first thing you’ll want to do is re-run that application and restore the files and settings to the new (upgraded) computer. At the end of this, you’ll have the option to view a report. This report will list all of the programs that you had installed (and in some cases, will provide you with links to the programs).
My Programs won’t run on Windows 7
Undoubtedly you will run into this situation eventually. One or more of your programs won’t want to run in Windows 7. You have two options at this point. You can try to install them in Windows XP compatibility, or you can see if there’s an updated version of the program that runs in Windows Vista/Windows 7. The only problem is in some cases, you’ll have to pay for the upgrade. However unless the upgrade breaks features that you need, or the cost is so high that you can’t afford it, you’re better off buying the upgrade.
You have one other option that corporations will most likely have (and use). If you choose to purchase a copy of Windows 7 that is “Business Professional”, “Enterprise (for corporate users)”, or “Ultimate”, you will have access to “XP Mode”. XP Mode is similar to Virtual PC—in that it uses VPC, but it’s a specially configured copy of Windows XP. There is an issue though that needs to be considered here too. Your computer must be new enough and have the right BIOS and hardware configurations to support XP Mode. The computer must support “Hardware Virtualization”.
If your computer doesn’t qualify for XP Mode, then you still have options. If you had purchased a full version of Windows 7 (not an OEM version that comes with your computer, or an “Upgrade” version), and you don’t have an OEM copy of Windows XP installed on the computer (preinstalled from the manufacturer), you can install Virtual PC and install Windows XP inside of the Virtual Machine. You may run into issues with activation, but probably nothing that you can’t take care of over the phone.
Finally, before you take my word for this (or the word of the other news reporters and bloggers) do some research. As of this posting, you have 10 days before you can get a copy of Windows 7. Probably more—depending on how you’re going to get your copy. Research the programs that you use on a regular basis. Find out if they will work with Windows 7, or if you can upgrade.
If it’s going to cost you money to upgrade, find out if you can use Virtual PC/XP Mode. Also find out if there are trial versions available for your programs. This will allow you to start using them now, and put off the cost for a short time. But most definitely research all of your options before you rule out anything.
Have a great day:)