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Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 (Part 5 - Applications and Settings)

With our installation of Windows 7 complete, it's time to move on to the applications and settings. We will use the Belarc Advisor report we printed earlier to ensure we do not forget any application as we reinstall them.

With the UAC (User Access Control) in Windows 7, it may be necessary to run some of the application installations as administrator. If when you insert the installation media into a removable drive (CD or DVD), and it does not automatically start, I would do the following:

  1. Open Windows Explorer by right-clicking the Start menu, and then clicking Explore.
  2. Browse to the CD/DVD drive on your computer and right-click setup.exe (as an example) in the root directory.
  3. Select Run as Administrator.

You may have an older application that just doesn't run quite right after you install it on Windows 7. In that case, you may want to try running it in Compatibility Mode. The following video shows you how.

Now the applications are installed, we will need to start each one and allow them to create any special folders and files before restoring our settings. Now we are ready to go back to the Microsoft instructions:

Copy files to the destination computer

  1. If you saved your files and settings in an Easy Transfer file on a removable media such as a UFD rather than on a network share, insert the removable media into the computer.
  2. Click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, click System Tools, and then click Windows Easy Transfer. The Windows Easy Transfer window opens.
  3. Click Next.
  4. Click An external hard disk or USB flash drive.
  5. Click This is my new computer.
  6. Click Yes, open the file.
  7. Browse to the location where the Easy Transfer file was saved. Click the file name, and then click Open.
  8. Click Transfer to transfer all files and settings. You can also determine which files should be migrated by selecting only the user profiles you want to transfer, or by clicking Customize.
  9. Click Close after Windows Easy Transfer has completed moving your files.

Now that we have restored our files and settings using Windows Easy Transfer, we will need to verify they are there. There will be items (fonts, scripts, etc.) that you will have to access the drive image to restore. Any custom item, like backgrounds in the Windows/Web/Wallpaper directory in Windows XP, will also need to be restored.

Within the first few weeks of migrating to Windows 7, you will find yourself going back to the drive image to restore items. A missing font here, a file there. But within a month, you should have everything worked out. Within three months, you should be completely migrated to Windows 7 and be able to delete the drive image.

Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 (Part 4 - Windows 7 Installation)

Now that we have performed the necessary procedures (drive imaging and software/hardware inventory and downloading drivers) I usually do before a clean install, it's time to get into the installation details. Remember to put your drivers on media that you can access after the installation is complete (CD, USB drive, or external drive). Network drives may not be accessible until you install the correct network card driver(s). Kind of a catch 22, sort of speak.

I went over to Microsoft's website and found an article on how to Upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7. From here, we will follow Microsoft's instructions, with a little change here and there.

The Upgrade option is not available in Windows 7 Setup when installing Windows 7 on a computer running Windows XP. However, you can use Windows Easy Transfer to migrate files and settings from Windows XP to Windows 7 on the same computer. To do this, you must first copy files to a removable media, such as an external hard drive or UFD, or to a network share. Next, you will install Windows 7 and then migrate your files back from the removable media onto your computer. When you are finished, you must install your software programs again, but your files and settings will have been copied from Windows XP.

Copy files using Windows Easy Transfer

  1. Insert the Windows 7 DVD while running Windows XP. If the Windows 7 installation window opens automatically, close it.
  2. Open Windows Explorer by right-clicking the Start menu, and then clicking Explore.
  3. Browse to the DVD drive on your computer and click migsetup.exe in the Support\Migwiz directory. The Windows Easy Transfer window opens.
  4. Click Next.
  5. Select An external hard disk or USB flash drive.
  6. Click This is my old computer. Windows Easy Transfer scans the computer.
  7. Click Next. You can also determine which files should be migrated by selecting only the user profiles you want to transfer, or by clicking Customize.
  8. Enter a password to protect your Easy Transfer file, or leave the box blank, and then click Save.
  9. Browse to the external location on the network or to the removable media where you want to save your Easy Transfer file, and then click Save.
  10. Click Next. Windows Easy Transfer displays the file name and location of the Easy Transfer file you just created.

It's at this point I am going to change the way I install Windows 7. Instead of starting Windows 7 setup by browsing to the root folder of the DVD in Windows Explorer and then double-clicking setup.exe (in-place), I am going to restart the computer and start the installation at boot (clean) and delete the partition that Windows XP is installed on. The following video shows the differences between the two types of installations (clean vs. in-place).

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

Since I am going from a 32-bit operating system to a 64-bit operating system, an in-place installation is impossible. I have to delete the partition that Windows XP is installed on to get that. Once I restart my computer and boot up on the Windows 7 DVD (64-bit version), I get a few standard setup dialog boxes. Then I am asked where I want to install Windows 7. I select Advanced Options. This gives me the option of deleting the partition where Windows XP is installed.

Windows 7 Installatiob Screen Shot

I select Delete, then click Next, and the installation continues, restarting a couple of times during the process. Remember that once the installation of the operating system is complete, that's when the drivers will need to be installed.

*** Note: The chipset driver is the first driver to be installed and will require a reboot when complete.***

Once the computer restarts, continue to install the rest of the drivers (audio, video, network, etc.), starting with on-board devices (built-in to the motherboard). Then go to the drivers for any expansion cards (they're connected directly into the motherboard inside the computer), and then comes the Plug and Play (PnP) devices (they connect directly to the outside of the computer). Devices like keyboard, mouse, printer, etc. would be PnP devices.

Next, we start installing our applications and settings.

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 very useful programs.

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

The 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.

The 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 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 note 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 a 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)


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

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 used for your sound device(s).

Lists video card and monitor information.

Lists Infrared device information.

Lists keyboard and mouse information.

Lists information about any miscellaneous components.

Lists modem information.

Lists network adapter, client, and protocol information.

Lists serial and parallel port information.

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.

Lists installed printers and printer drivers.

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 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.

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 to 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 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. 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.

Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 (Part 1)

I am currently planning my migration from Windows XP to Windows 7. Since there is no way to do an 'in-place' upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7, I usually would need to back-up my current system. But this migration also happens to fall into my personal three-year workstation cycle, so this will be a 'side-by-side' migration.

As I have written in a previous blog, Upgrading your computer cheaply (part 1), I have two theories on computers:

1." Infant Mortality" is the belief that if it runs for a day (24 hours), it will run for its lifetime.

2. A computer "Lifetime", from my experience, is three years from the start of service. At three years or older, it's not 'if' it will break down, but 'when' will it break down. Just like a car, the older it gets, the more repairs it will need.

My current system has hit three years in production and has developed a couple of issues. I built a system to beta test Windows 7 on (see Beta testing Windows 7 - Part3 and Custom Cases: The Antec Skeleton), and I am going to migrate over to this workstation.

I usually back-up all documents, photos, etc. and then make an image of the hard drive. I then reformat the hard drive and reinstall the operating system. I will then install all of the applications and restore my documents. All custom settings done to the previous operating system will be lost, but this is expected with a 'clean' installation.

Since migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 requires reformatting the hard drive and performing a clean installation, there is one feature in Windows 7 I find nice. The product key for Windows 7 can be used to install either the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows 7.

As I wrote in the blog Beta testing Windows 7 - Part 2, I felt that the 64-bit version of Windows 7 was the way to go; I am going with Windows 7 64-bit. In the following articles, I will chronicle my endeavors.

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