[LINK] Win XP to Win 7

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Thu Jul 30 23:15:07 AEST 2009

It appears that the end of the dominance of Microsoft Windows, in favour
of OS source operating systems, may date from October the 22nd this year.

Windows XP to Windows 7 Upgrade Could Be Trouble

By WALTER S. MOSSBERG, The Wall Street Journal.


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.

Cheers folks
Stephen Loosley
Victoria Australia

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