Migrating to Microsoft Windows 7 from XP

A blog post about migrating to Microsoft Windows 7 from XP.

Windows 7 Professional DVD

Before you leave Microsoft Windows XP for Windows 7, there are some actions you can take to make the process as painless as possible. This article will provide you with useful advice for coping with legacy hardware, whilst migrating to Microsoft Windows 7 from XP.

Create a check-list

One of the best steps you can take is to create a check-list. There never seems to be enough time to perform a backup. Also trying to remember what to backup, during the actual backup process can cause problems. With a check-list you can help make sure that during a time of pressure, you hopefully will backup everything you should.

Backup your drivers

Often you will discover that there are no Microsoft Windows 7 version of drivers for old equipment such a scanner. Unfortunately when trying to run the Microsoft Windows XP setup application, even in compatibility mode, sometimes the installation application will not want to perform the install under Windows 7. The solution could be to make a backup of your drivers whilst still using Windows XP using a free piece of software, such as DriverMax, then on Microsoft Windows 7, use the ‘driver’, rather than a setup application to install the device. In the case of the scanner you probably can use the Microsoft Windows scanner interface to work with your scanner.

Backup your bookmarks, documents and important files

Often people will forget to backup their web browser bookmarks, documents and important files. If you use a popular web browser you can use Xmarks to backup your bookmarks. For documents if you are not backing up thousands, then consider using Dropbox to backup your documents. Then when you setup Windows 7 just use Xmarks and Dropbox via Windows 7 to sync the content back to your new setup.

Saved game and configuration files

Many applications will save their setting within the system registry, but also many applications will save settings to a file in either their main directory in program files, a sub-directory in application data or elsewhere. So for instance the FTP client application FileZilla saves the site manager data to a file, which you can easily transfer and use on another computer, be it Windows or Linux. Computer games such as Command and Conquer Generals will save profiles within folders in the ‘my documents’ directory, meaning you don’t have to lose those precious badges. You might be surprised what profiles and application data you can migrate. It is worth taking a look.

Take your photos online

Sometimes people backup files to DVD, but then a problem occurs and they have lost precious photos. Why not also backup your photos to a service such as Windows Live Drive? In this instance it is best to sort through your photos, then compress into small batches such as 50MB, then over time back them up. That way you have an ‘off-site’ backup, as well as hopefully a DVD backup.


Backing up a computer is never usually as simple as backing up email, documents and photos. As highlighted above there are ways you can make your Windows 7 easier, including at times using legacy hardware, without having to invest in new hardware. It is also worth using an external hard drive, instead of DVDs during a backup preparing for migration to Windows 7, as backing up to an external drive is far quicker than using DVDs.

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