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Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 (Part 3 - Hardware / Software Inventory)

It's time to find out what type of hardware and software we have installed. We also want to collect any software licenses, too. I have found two programs very useful.

Note: This video was captured at 2048x768 (using dual monitors)

First is Belarc Advisor. Here is an excerpt from their web site:

"The Belarc Advisor builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, missing Microsoft hotfixes, anti-virus status, CIS (Center for Internet Security) benchmarks, and displays the results in your Web browser. All of your PC profile information is kept private on your PC and is not sent to any web server."

Once you have downloaded, installed and ran the program, the results will open up in a web browser. Print a copy, then select File, then Save As and select a network drive or removable media (external drive, usb drive, etc.). This report should have all of the information we need, but a more detailed report should be generated. So let's go to the next program.

Second program I use is the built-in Microsoft System Information.

To start Microsoft System Information, use either of the following methods:

  • Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click System Information.
  • Click Start, click Run, type msinfo32.exe in the Open box, and then click OK.

Once System Information opens and generates a report, select File, then Save, and select a network drive or removable media (external drive, usb drive, etc.). This file has an enormous amount of detailed information about your current hardware and software. Cross-check the hardware listed in both reports, and make note of any items not listed on the Belarc report. Here is a list of the System Information categories and subcategories that contain the hardware specific information:

System Summary

The System Summary category provides a general profile of your computer. Make note of the following subcategories:

  • The version of Windows
  • OEM System Information (manufacturer, model, and type)
  • The type of central processing unit (CPU)
  • The amount of memory and system resources
  • BIOS version
  • Boot device (if multiple devices are present on the computer)

Components

The Components category displays information about your Windows XP system configuration.

Multimedia
Lists sound card, and game controller information.

Multimedia - Audio
Lists the audio codecs that are loaded.

Multimedia - Video
Lists the video codecs that are loaded.

Multimedia - CD-ROM
Lists the drive letter and model of your CD-ROM drive. If a data CD-ROM is in the drive, System Information also performs a data transfer test.

Multimedia - Sound Device
Lists the name and manufacturer of your sound device(s). This also lists the status, I/O port, IRQ, DMA channel, and the drivers that are used for your sound device(s).

Display
Lists video card, and monitor information.

Infrared
Lists Infrared device information.

Input
Lists keyboard, and mouse information.

Miscellaneous
Lists information about any miscellaneous components.

Modems
Lists modem information.

Network
Lists network adapter, client, and protocol information.

Ports
Lists serial, and parallel port information.

Storage
Lists information about hard disks, floppy drives, removable media, and controllers. Each drive is presented with information including drive letter, total size, free space, file system, compression status, drive type, and volume letter.

Printing
Lists installed printers, and printer drivers.

USB
Lists Universal Serial Bus (USB) controllers, and drivers that are installed.

Now that we have a list of hardware components, we need to get the correct drivers for our new operating system. Since Windows 7 is new, we may not be able to get them for all of the hardware. If that is the case, we'll download the Windows Vista drivers. They should work work most of the time. Here is a general list of drivers you will need:

  • Audio
  • Video
  • Chipset
  • Network Adapter (wired and wireless)
  • Printer
  • Scanner
  • Game Controller
  • Mouse
  • Keyboard

After you have the drivers downloaded, save them to a network drive or removable media (external drive, usb drive, etc.). Better yet, burn them to a cd.

Now we are ready to deploy our operating system. Next we will look at the two different ways of upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7.

Till then,
Scott

Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 (Part 2 - Drive Imaging)

Having my new system built, I am ready to start my migration from Windows XP to Windows 7. The first thing I will need to do is run a check disk and defrag. Next is create an image of my hard drive. Think of it as taking a 'snapshot' of your computer.

I found a drive imaging utility called DriveImage XML. Home users are allowed to use the Private Edition of DriveImage XML without charge, though, no support is provided for the Private Edition. I found it easy to use and worked quite well. Here is an excerpt from their web site:

"The program allows you to:

  • Backup logical drives and partitions to image files
  • Browse these images, view and extract files
  • Restore these images to the same or a different drive
  • Copy directly from drive to drive
  • Schedule automatic backups with your Task Scheduler

Image creation uses Microsoft's Volume Shadow Services (VSS), allowing you to create safe "hot images" even from drives currently in use.

Images are stored in XML files, allowing you to process them with 3rd party tools. Never again be stuck with a useless backup!

Restore images to drives without having to reboot.

DriveImage XML runs under Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Vista only. The program will backup, image and restore drives formatted with FAT 12, 16, 32 and NTFS."

I installed DriveImage XML and ran it, creating an image of my hard drive. I saved the image to a network drive. The image is spanned across several files that are 672 mb each, making them small enough to fit on cd's). I then restored a few files from the image to ensure that that the image was good.

Now that I have backed up my computer, it's time to take inventory of the hardware and software.

Till then,
Scott

Use your computer without the mouse or keyboard in Windows 7 (alternative input devices)

Windows has two features to help you use the computer without using a mouse or keyboard: Speech Recognition (which allows you to use voice commands to work with Windows) and On-Screen Keyboard (which allows you to enter text by selecting characters on the screen).

You can adjust turn on or adjust settings for these features on the Use the computer without the mouse or keyboard page in the Ease of Access Center.

Open Ease of Access Center:

  • by pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + U.
  • or

  • Click on the Start button, then All Programs, then Accessories, then Ease of Access, then click on Ease of Aceess Center.

Click on Use the computer without a mouse or keyboard.

Select the options that you want to use

  • Use On-Screen Keyboard.
    This option sets On-Screen Keyboard to run when you log on to Windows. On-Screen Keyboard displays a visual keyboard with all the standard keys. You can select keys using the mouse or another pointing device, or you can use keys on the standard keyboard.
  • Use Speech Recognition.
    The option allows you to control the computer with your voice. With a microphone, you can speak commands that the computer will understand and respond to, as well as dictate text. For more information about setting up Speech Recognition, see Set up Speech Recognition

Use text or visual alternatives to sounds in Windows 7

Windows provides settings for using visual cues to replace sounds in many programs. You can adjust these settings on the Use text or visual alternatives to sounds page in the Ease of Access Center.

Open Ease of Access Center:

  • by pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + U.
  • or

  • Click on the Start button, then All Programs, then Accessories, then Ease of Access, then click on Ease of Aceess Center.

Click on Use text or visual alternatives to sounds.

Select the options that you want to use:

  • Turn on visual notifications for sounds.
    This option sets Sound Notifications to run when you log on to Windows. Sound Notifications replace system sounds with visual cues, such as a flash on the screen, so that system alerts are noticeable even when they're not heard. You can also choose how you want Sound Notifications to warn you.
  • Turn on text captions for spoken dialog.
    This option causes Windows to display text captions in place of sounds to indicate that activity is happening on your computer (for example, when a document starts or finishes printing).

Make your keyboard easier to use in Windows 7

You can use your keyboard to control the mouse and make it easier to type certain key combinations.

You can adjust these settings on the Make the keyboard easier to use page in the Ease of Access Center.

Open Ease of Access Center:

  • by pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + U.
  • or

  • Click on the Start button, then All Programs, then Accessories, then Ease of Access, then click on Ease of Aceess Center.

Click on Make your keyboard easier to use.

Select the options that you want to use:

  • Turn on Mouse Keys.
    This option sets Mouse Keys to run when you log on to Windows. Instead of using the mouse, you can use the arrow keys on your keyboard or the numeric keypad to move the pointer.
  • Turn on Sticky Keys.
    This option sets Sticky Keys to run when you log on to Windows. Instead of having to press three keys at once (such as when you must press the CTRL, ALT, and DELETE keys together to log on to Windows), you can use one key by turning on Sticky Keys and adjusting the settings. This way, you can press a modifier key and have it remain active until another key is pressed.
  • Turn on Toggle Keys.
    This option sets Toggle Keys to run when you log on to Windows. Toggle Keys can play an alert each time you press the CAPS LOCK, NUM LOCK, or SCROLL LOCK keys. These alerts can help prevent the frustration of inadvertently pressing a key and not realizing it.
  • Turn on Filter Keys.
    This option sets Filter Keys to run when you log on to Windows. You can set Windows to ignore keystrokes that occur in rapid succession, or keystrokes that are held down for several seconds unintentionally.
  • Underline keyboard shortcuts and access keys.
    This option makes keyboard access in dialog boxes easier by highlighting access keys for the controls in them.
  • Prevent windows from being automatically arranged when moved to the edge of the screen.

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