Upgrading from XP to Windows 7

In response to the many asking this question, yes if you are still running Windows XP you are not alone, I thought I should write a short article about your options and my suggestion.

For those that want to cut to the chase – Don’t Upgrade – Buy Windows 7 boxed and re-install, if you are buying a server soon consider buying Windows 7 Ultimate.

Why? – O.K well in order to explain why, I need to go through the upgrade options and then it becomes clear.

This is not a technical blog – it’s a blog for business owners

Before I start I will say that this is not a step by step guide for upgrading. My audience is business owners not engineers or DIY IT enthusiasts. So for that reason this article looks more at the quickest method and least trouble from a business / time point of view. So here goes.

If you want to upgrade, then you first need to upgrade your Windows XP to Vista. That’s right. The Upgrade path for XP to Windows 7 is XP to Vista then Vista to Windows 7. You cannot upgrade Windows XP directly to Windows 7.WindowsXP Image

That in itself isn’t easy as I don’t know of anyone still selling the upgrade licence for XP to Vista. If you do manage to find somewhere let me know.

I have seen many PCs that were sold with Windows Vista and downgraded to Windows XP. If you have one of those then you just need to get your hands on a FULL copy of Windows Vista. By FULL copy I mean NOT an upgrade CD.

Once the upgrade completes you then need to do all the updates and patches. Only a fully patched Vista PC can be upgraded. Now finally you buy an upgrade licence for Vista to Windows 7, and run the upgrade.

Experience tells me the above procedure will take you about a day.

Best option

You could just buy Windows 7 Full version, backup your files and re-install your PC and applications. That will also take about half a day but if you have a lot of applications then allow a full day.

Cost? About the same really but a lot depends on which version of Windows 7 you want.

Server 2012 is on its way and there will be something known as Direct Access that will need Windows 7 Ultimate or Enterprise editions to make use of this terrific new benefit. Trust me. (You can’t buy Enterprise edition in the shops in case you were wondering)

If you want to know pricing then visit the Microsoft Windows 7 Page online.

What about the hardware?

Before you attempt an upgrade or buy anything, you should download and run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor Tool from the Microsoft web site.

Now this is another point for you to consider. I would say (as a guide) if your PC is more than 5 years old then you probably need a new one to run Windows 7. If that is the case then buy it now, BEFORE Windows 8 ships in October.

You might consider Solid State Drives as an upgrade as they significantly improve performance. We put two identicle laptops side by side and replaced one with a Solid State Drive then video’ed it

Business owners shouldn’t buy Windows 8 yet– see my article on Windows XP the end is nigh and the video on that page to see why I don’t rate Windows 8 as a upgrade right now.

If you buy a PC you will get an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) licence which is discounted by 40%. This is the cheapest way to buy Windows 7. The limitations of this licence are:

1) It can only be purchased with a new PC

2) It is a non-transferable licence. If the PC dies the licence dies with it.

What if you have more than 10 PCs?

We have some clients with 1,000s of PCs – Larger companies make good use of Volume Licencing and Software Assurance. That is a whole other ball park.

Companies of that size just leave it to their IT department to make the right decisions.

If you have between 10 – 100 PCs then it might be worth looking at volume licencing.

I feel a Microsoft Licencing article may be coming next. I don’t want this article to be too long so I’m going to sign off here, but if you need any further help, just let me know.

Each case is different and there is no real clear cut answer but for smaller businesses of less than 10 PCs I hope this article has given you enough information to start to plan your upgrade.

Remember Windows XP is END OF LIFE in 2014. If you don’t know what that means, please read my earlier blog Windows XP the end is nigh or watch the video blow.

About Paul G Howes

I'm the founder of itauthority in the UK. I started this company to help small businesses make better use of the IT they purchase. Many buy tech for the wrong reasons or buy something and then realised they don't have the time to make the most of it. How many unused programs are installed on your system? So I'm all about getting the most from IT. My other interests: I love music above most other things, I'm a pilot, I'm building myself a recording studio, I'm a magician - member of the Ilford Magical Society, as well as a runner & cyclist.
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