Windows XP Help

Windows XP FAQ - Upgrading from XP to latest Windows

1. What version of Windows can I upgrade Windows XP to?

You can upgrade directly from Windows XP to Windows Vista. But if you want to upgrade to Windows 7, Windows 8 or 8.1 then you must do a custom or clean installation. A clean installation means that you do not keep your settings or applications. All your old settings, windows and programs will be moved to a C:\Windows.old folder.

2. What do I need to do before upgrading Windows?

a) Backup your data. You can use your own backup tools but make sure that the backup tool works in new Windows as well. You can also use the easy transfer tool directly from Microsoft to backup and transfer your documents and settings to another machine. Another alternative is just to burn your documents and settings directly to CD or DVD or copy them to an external storage device such as an external hard disk, USB stick or network storage. The Transfer tool is available from the following links:

i) Easy Transfer tool for XP
ii) Windows Vista transfer tool
iii) Windows 7 transfer tool

Easy Transfer

b) Check your Hardware configuration. Make sure that your hardware is up to date and compatible with new Windows. Some very old hardware may need changing to allow it to work on newer version of Windows. If there are too many parts to change, then consider buying a new PC with Windows 7/8 instead.

c) Check your Software is compatible. Most recent programs will work, but you should check on the manufacturer's web site to see whether it will work on newer Windows. If unsure about compatibility, run the Upgrade Advisor tool from Microsoft. Any incompatible software should be uninstalled at this stage. Make sure that you have all the installation disks and downloads of the latest versions of your software available to either CD, DVD, USB, NAS or other storage.

i) Upgrade Advisor for Windows Vista.
ii) Upgrade Advisor for Windows 7.
ii) Upgrade Assistant for Windows 8.x
iii) Upgrade Advice for Windows 10

d) Check Hard disk space. You need plenty of free disk space to upgrade an existing Windows installation to a newer Windows. If you do not have enough disk space, then consider doing a 'clean install' which means erasing your hard disk and install Windows on to an empty hard disk.

e) Download latest drivers for your new version of Windows. Use Device Manager and note down drivers for things like graphics card, sound card, motherboard, network adapters as you may need them to successfully set up windows and if you need internet access afterwards. Alos, try the Driver Easy tool.

3. How do I do an Upgrade to newer Windows?

a) Boot your PC and wait for the desktop to appear, if prompted login as well.

b) Insert the Windows CD and allow Setup.exe to run. You can upgrade from Windows XP to Windows Vista or clean install to Windows 7 or 8. Select 'Install Now' on the menu

Install Windows 7 Install Windows 8

c) After Setup starts, select 'Upgrade' and follow the prompts.

Upgrade options

d) If you cannot do an Upgrade, then use Custom (Advanced) option can be used to replace the existing windows installation.

Install steps

Follow the instructions on screen to complete the installation or upgrade.

4. How do I restore my settings and programs to my upgraded Windows?

Run your backup program, use as Easy Transfer, and use the option to restore your settings and documents to the new version of Windows. On Windows Vista or later, your new settings and documents will go into into C:\Users\usernameinstead of C:\Documents and settings\username. Any files and settings not transfer should still be found in C:\Windows.old\Documents and Settings.

Then reinstall the applications, programs or tools from any CDs, USB sticks or installation hard disk or whatever and it will install them to C:\Program files or C:\Program files (x86). 64 bit versions of Windows will have two Program files folders, one for 64 bit apps and the other for 32 bit (aka x86) apps.

5. How do I get my old programs to work on newer Windows?

Most programs will work on newer versions of Windows, although you may find the some will just need a newer version to get it to work. For the few that refuse to work on newer Windows, you can now use Virtualisation technology to run your old apps. Windows 7 Pro includes XP Mode and Virtual PC which allows you to run older versions of Windows in a virtual environment. Windows 8 includes Hyper-V which will allow you run 32 and 64 bit virtual environments. If you don't have the Pro versions of Windows, you can still install and use VirtualBox.

6. What if I do not want to upgrade my Windows XP PC?

Your PC will still work for some time to come. But over time, you will find your PC to more vunerable to hacking, malware and viruses, when using the internet. Also, getting new software will be harder as newer versions will not be compatible with Windows XP. Finally, new hardware will not have the drivers to work on Windows XP. At this point, you will have to decide whether the disadvantages outway the benefits of sticking to Windows XP.

7. Can I migrate my legacy applications to Windows Vista or later?

Some applications will work unaltered on Windows Vista or later, you may need to check the software's website to see if there is a newer version or an equivalent. If you have custom applications, so as those written with Visual Basic 6, Visual 6 C++ and the MFC classes, then you will need to install the Runtime components on Windows 7 to get them to run. If you have Visual Studio 2003 or later, and have access to the source code, you can use VS's built in update feature to update the code for Windows Vista or later. Alternatively, create a new project and copy the code across and update it. For legacy Microsoft products see the Compatibility page.

* Visual Basic 6 Runtime Plus files
* Visual C++ 2005 Runtime for x86 and x64.

8. Can I migrate to another OS other than Windows?

Yes, it is always possible to migrate your data and applications to another operating system. Many people have migrated to systems such as Mac OS or Linux, rather than stick with Windows. To migrate requires a number of steps:
a) Evaluate your new Operating System either on new hardware or setup a dual boot with your existing system or use Virtual Machines to test the new OS.
b) Determine what application software is required on your new operating system. Look into emulators or virtual machines to run incompatible software.
c) Backup and restore or copy data to your new system. Perform any conversions to new formats if required.
d) Retire the old system.

* How to move from PC Windows to Mac OS.
* How to mvoe from Windows to Linux.