Learn how to upgrade Windows XP to Windows 7.
I’ve got good news and bad news.
Bad news: You cannot upgrade Windows XP to Windows 7 where all of the software, files, and settings in the XP installation are brought over to the Windows 7 upgrade.
Good news: You can upgrade a Windows XP license to Windows 7. During the upgrade the entire Windows XP installation will be moved to a folder called windows.old in the root of your C: drive and a brand new full installation of Windows 7 will be installed on the computer. You’ll have to reinstall the software, reconfigure your settings, and copy your files (pictures, music, so on…) from the windows.old folder. You will need the installation disks to reinstall your software.
Windows 7’s Hardware Requirements
Here are the minimum hardware requirements of a computer that Windows 7 can be installed on.
If you want to run Windows 7 on your PC, here’s what it takes:
- 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
- 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
- 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
- DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
Additional requirements to use certain features:
- Internet access (fees may apply)
- Depending on resolution, video playback may require additional memory and advanced graphics hardware
- For some Windows Media Center functionality a TV tuner and additional hardware may be required
- Windows Touch and Tablet PCs require specific hardware
- HomeGroup requires a network and PCs running Windows 7
- DVD/CD authoring requires a compatible optical drive
- BitLocker requires Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2
- BitLocker To Go requires a USB flash drive
- Windows XP Mode requires an additional 1 GB of RAM, an additional 15 GB of available hard disk space, and a processor capable of hardware virtualization with Intel VT or AMD-V turned on
- Music and sound require audio output
Product functionality and graphics may vary based on your system configuration. Some features may require advanced or additional hardware.
Upgrade Windows XP to Windows 7
- Insert the Windows 7 upgrade DVD while Windows XP is running.
- A Windows 7 installation window will pop up. Before you upgrade Windows XP to Windows 7 I highly recommend checking your computer for compatibility issues online to make sure there are no issues that will prevent a successful upgrade.
- Click Install now to start the upgrade process.
- If the computer has an Internet connection, choose to Go online to get the latest updates for installation.
- Accept the license terms and then click Next.
- Choose Custom (advanced).
Shouldn’t I choose Upgrade since I’m upgrading Windows XP to Windows 7? No. You can’t truly “upgrade” Windows XP to Windows 7 where all of the programs, settings, and files stay intact. Only Windows Vista can be upgraded to Windows 7 where the programs, settings, and files stay intact.
- Select the partition to install Windows 7 on. Since we are upgrading XP to 7 select the same partition that XP is installed on and then click Next.
Note: If you chose a different partition than the one Windows XP is installed on the computer would be set up to dual boot Windows XP and Windows 7.
- A warning box will pop up explaining that all of the files and folders that belong to the current Windows XP installation will be moved to a folder called windows.old in the root of the drive. After Windows 7 is installed you’ll be able to browse that folder and copy your files (pictures, music, documents, so on…) to Windows 7. Click OK.
- The upgrade will begin.
Note: This could take a long time and cause the computer to reboot several times. If the computer asks to press any key to boot from the DVD after it restarts during the installation, don’t. Let it do its thing until you see the screen below.
- Select your country, time, currency, keyboard layout, and then click Next.
- Choose a user name for the computer. This user name will have administrative privileges. Give the computer a name. If this computer is part of a network, give it a name like living-room or kids-pc so that you can easily distinguish it from other computers on the network. Click Next.
- Give the user account you just created a password and password hint. A password is not required but I highly recommend it. Click Next.
- Type the product key that came with the Windows 7 installation disc and uncheck Automatically activate Windows when I’m online. It’s a great idea to manually activate Windows online after you make sure everything is working as it should. When Windows is activated it is “married” to that computer. A married product key can’t be activated on another computer. Click Next.
Note: You don’t have to enter the product key at this time. You can leave it blank and click Next. You will be given 30 days to activate Windows.
- Choose to Use recommended settings.
- Set the time zone, daylight savings time setting, date, time, and then click Next.
- Choose the type of network your computer belongs to.
Note: If the computer has wireless capabilities and it’s in range of a wireless network, you’ll be asked if you would like to join one. It’s a good idea to join the wireless network now.
- The final settings will be configured and you’ll be automatically logged in as the user you created during the installation.
Still need help? Ask your computer question now.