Our first question today begins with someone submitting a fairly lengthy
Windows 7 upgrade advisory report. It indicates that the machine is currently
running Windows XP; it has a 2.4 gHz processor; it has 1.5 GB of RAM, and then
it goes on to indicate the custom installation required etc, etc.
The person at the very bottom of this asks, “Can I convert this XP to Windows
In this excerpt from
Answercast #16, I look at running Windows 7 on an older XP machine and the
steps needed to get there.
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Convert to Windows 7
The reason I’m pulling this question out and answering it here is because of
First of all, that basic machine is certainly capable of running Windows 7.
1.5 GB of RAM is a little on the low side, but I have machines with that little
RAM running Windows 7 just fine.
So the machine – not a problem. It’s the word “convert” that has me
- There is no upgrade; there is no conversion process for going from Windows
XP to Windows 7.
Reformat and reinstall
In order to move any computer from Windows XP to Windows 7, the correct
- Back up the machine.
- Install Windows 7 from scratch.
There is no upgrade … from scratch.
- Then, reinstall the applications you want to reinstall.
- Then, recover your data (either from wherever you’ve placed it otherwise, or
from that backup you started this process with.).
A poor alternative
There is one alternative approach that I really, really don’t recommend. It
can allow you to upgrade, but the results are often less than stable. It can
also cost you a little bit more money:
- Upgrade your Windows XP machine to Windows Vista.
- And then upgrade that Windows Vista to Windows 7.
The money is, of course, that you need to find yourself a copy of Windows
Vista. The stability problem is that you’re going through two levels of upgrade
without really spending a lot of time ironing out any problems that may have
happened in the middle.
Upgrading is a chance to reformat
Upgrades are always a little shaky. In fact, whenever you move from one
operating system to another (Windows XP to Vista, or even Vista to Windows 7),
I actually recommend that you take that as an opportunity to do a complete
reformat and reinstall anyway.
The most stable machines are those that have had the operating system
installed from scratch, not an upgrade.
So, that’s my recommendation.
It sounds like you’ve got a machine to do this on. You simply need to be
prepared to back up, reformat, and reinstall Windows 7 from scratch.