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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.

Make your computer easier to see in Windows 7 (optimize visual display)

If you sometimes have trouble seeing items on your screen, you can adjust the settings to make text and images on the screen appear larger, improve the contrast between items on the screen, and hear on-screen text read aloud.

You can adjust these settings on the Make the computer easier to see 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 display.

Select the options that you want to use:

  • Choose a High Contrast color scheme. This option allows you to set a high-contrast color scheme that heightens the color contrast of some text and images on your computer screen, making those items more distinct and easier to identify.
  • Turn on Narrator.
    This option sets Narrator to run when you log on to your computer. Narrator reads aloud on-screen text and describes some events (such as error messages appearing) that happen while you're using the computer.
  • Turn on Audio Description.
    This option sets Audio Descriptions to run when you log on to your computer. Audio Descriptions describe what's happening in videos.
  • Turn on Magnifier.
    This option sets Magnifier to run when you log on to your computer. Magnifier enlarges the part of the screen where the mouse is pointing and can be especially useful for viewing objects that are difficult to see.
  • Adjust the color and transparency of the window borders.
    This option allows you to change the appearance of window borders to make them easier to see.
  • Make the focus rectangle thicker.
    This option makes the rectangle around the currently selected item in dialog boxes thicker, which makes it easier to see.
  • Set the thickness of the blinking cursor.
    This option allows you to make the blinking cursor in dialog boxes and programs thicker and easier to see.
  • Turn off all unnecessary animations.
    This option turns off animation effects, such as fading effects, when windows and other elements are closed.
  • Remove background images.
    This option turns off all unimportant, overlapped content and background images to help make the screen easier to see.

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