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Migrating from XP to Windows 7 : Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor

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Before upgrading a Windows XP system to Windows 7, you should first download the Microsoft Windows Upgrade Advisor from www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/upgrade-advisor.aspx.

Depending on how your browser is set up, you may directly run the installer or be prompted to save it. If you’re dealing with only a single computer, it is a simple process. If, however, you’re dealing with multiple computers, you should probably save it because you will need to install and run the upgrade advisor on each of the computers.

After you’ve downloaded it, install the Upgrade Advisor on the system you want to upgrade. Then run the Upgrade Advisor (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor Start screen.

Click the Start Check button, and let the Upgrade Advisor examine your system. It will look at your hardware configuration and compare it to a comprehensive database of supported hardware and software.

Depending on your specific system configuration, your system may pass on first examination, such as the system shown in Figure 2

Figure 2. This system passed the Windows Update Advisor’s tests (although it recommends running Windows Update after Windows 7 is installed to update the video driver).

However, you might run into issues that need to be resolved before you can install Windows 7, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. This system failed the Windows Update Advisor test.

In the example in Figure 3, the reason the system check failed was because the hardware necessary to run Windows Aero wasn’t available. You can still run Windows 7 without Aero; you just won’t have access to Aero’s features, meaning you’ll be missing out on much of the visual appeal to Windows 7.

In a case like this, you need to figure out how you’re going to resolve the problem before moving forward. How exactly you resolve the problem with a system will vary. You might, for example, be able to use updated drivers from the manufacturer. You might find a documented workaround online. Or you may well wind up having to upgrade select portions of your computer hardware to a new version that has Windows 7 drivers. In the example shown in Figure 3, you might need to buy a new video card that has a Windows 7 driver if you can’t find a suitable driver online.

What we suggest doing, however, is saving the Windows Update Advisor reports for each system on which you want to install Windows 7 so that you can refer to them as part of your update process, resolving any problems that are reported. Having done that, you should go through your system and determine what applications are installed, so you can make sure they’re reinstalled after you get into Windows 7.

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