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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 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.

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