Upgrading from XP to Windows 7

Over the last several days, I have been upgrading my system software: operating system, program files, customizations, the whole nine yards. I skipped right over Vista and went from XP to Windows 7. That’s the upgrade that requires a complete clean install. Whew, I’m glad it’s over. But here’s what I learned.

The program provided by Microsoft to help with migration, called Windows Easy Transfer, is mostly helpful. Make sure that you follow their directions exactly. Two things: 1) you might really want to print out the steps, as instructed, and 2) use an external hard drive for the transfer file – not a large flash drive and not another network computer. Trust me on that. You will want to have it on hand [I had to make a midnight trip out of the house].

Find all of your original software installation discs, codes, downloads or validation keys BEFORE you begin the upgrade. Really. You absolutely will need them. I got a decent-sized basket and just piled everything in it. But at least I knew where to find it when needed.

Consider going to your computer manufacturer’s site and finding the necessary driver downloads BEFORE you begin the upgrade. I have a Sony, and figured out afterward that I should have done this. Major pain to go backward.

Outlook’s data access does not work smoothly after the upgrade. Bookmark THIS FIX; you will need it to get your accounts up and running.

And I feel like I’m still on the shake-out cruise, because all day long there have messages and updates and restarts while I tried to work.

So this is my conclusion: It’s a lot of work. But, if you’ve already decided to upgrade to Windows 7 for other reasons, it is worth the work. The speed and features upgrade from the old XP were just what I needed, no matter how painful they were to acquire. The extraordinary part is that it took days – literally – though I admit to taking some liberal breaks to let frustration dissipate.

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