What’s the Best Way to Upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7?

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Leo, I have a Windows XP computer with a lot of downloaded programs. I want to install Windows 7 on the computer since Microsoft keeps changing its operating systems and forcing you to upgrade (unlike Apple). How do I do this simply? A friend of mine told me to just get a Windows 7 disk and load it but I question that since I’ve read so many sites, which explain all kinds of convoluted operations. I’m not a computer expert.

If I use your recommended backup program, Macrium Reflect, will it back up everything – files, data, and programs or do I have to go back and download the programs all over again? I’m about ready to buy an Apple Mac since no one seems to have that problem with them. So again, how do I go to Windows 7 from Windows XP?

Upgrading from Windows XP to 7 has two basic approaches: the way you want it to work, and the way that’s more reliable. I’ll get to that, but first I want to explain why I disagree with your comments about Apple.

Read moreWhat’s the Best Way to Upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7?

How do I access email stored in Outlook Express on Windows 8?

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Leo, I’m finding myself confronted with an unexpected problem. We bought an HP Pavilion desktop PC for my wife, which runs Windows 8.1. However, the entire correspondence with HP regarding the details of the transaction was done by email on my computer running Windows XP, SP3 and Outlook Express.

Now, I printed all of it out, of course but to be on the safe side, I also saved the entire correspondence to CD. Our usual total email traffic is done on my computer in order to avoid any mix-ups. Now, when my computer bites the dust, our entire collection of email and also other correspondence written on that Windows XP PC will be useless and lost since it cannot be read on the new PC running Windows 8.1. Would you have any idea how to get around this problem? Perhaps installing Outlook Express the new PC, but I suspect that Windows 8.1 will not take this.

In my opinion, there’s just no debate. The age of Outlook Express is over. It’s time to move on to something that’s less buggy and actually supported.

But that does leave many existing Outlook Express users with a big problem: what do you do with all the email that you have stored in your existing Outlook Express installation?

Read moreHow do I access email stored in Outlook Express on Windows 8?

How Do I Switch to Linux?

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In a recent answer, you pointed out that once Microsoft really stops support for Windows XP, there will be an increased risk of vulnerabilities being exposed over time. For older laptops that may not be able to migrate to Windows 8 or later, you mentioned using Linux. However, you don’t mention the process of how to migrate a Windows platform with all of those Windows applications to some Linux platform. Could you discuss what to actually do?

In that article, I mentioned that if you could not migrate to Windows 7 or 8, you might want to install Linux. That’s not a migration – it’s a replacement of the Windows operating system with a Linux operating system and starting over.

While it’s typically not terribly difficult, switching to Linux isn’t always a simple or unfortunately even a consistent process, and it may not be for everyone. Let’s discuss the details.

Read moreHow Do I Switch to Linux?

I Can’t Upgrade to the Latest Windows. Should I Switch to Linux?

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My computer, 1.8 Ghz with 440 gig megabytes of RAM is not powerful enough to install the Windows 8 upgrade. I cannot afford to buy a new computer. I’m 85-years young. Would you recommend switching to Linux?  If so, do you know which is their best distribution?

Your question actually has a much more complicated answer than you might imagine. Switching to Linux is often a very reasonable approach to lengthening the life of your machine; there are many distributions of Linux and some are specifically tailored to make fewer operating demands on your computer.

That being said, I want to ask one thing first: why are you considering switching at all?

Read moreI Can’t Upgrade to the Latest Windows. Should I Switch to Linux?