Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7


We highly recommend that you print this tutorial. Your PC will restart during the Windows 7 installation process, so having a printed copy will help you follow the steps if you're unable to return to this webpage.

Watch this video to learn more about upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7. (3:07)

Introduction

To upgrade your PC from Windows XP to Windows 7, you'll need to select the Custom option during Windows 7 installation. A custom installation doesn't preserve your programs, files, or settings. It's sometimes called a "clean" installation for that reason.

A custom installation is more complex, and it can sometimes take a couple of hours to complete. We created this five-step tutorial to help guide you through the entire process each step of the way.

What you need

  • An external hard disk. You'll need to move your files off of your PC before you install Windows 7. To make this easier, we recommend a complimentary download called Windows Easy Transfer*, which will require an external hard disk. They’re readily available at electronics and office supply stores, and they provide an easy way to add additional storage space to your computer.

  • The original installation discs or setup files for the programs that you want to use with Windows 7. You’ll need to reinstall your programs by hand after installing Windows 7. When you run Windows Easy Transfer you will get a report that lists the programs that you are currently using with Windows XP.

32-bit or 64-bit: Which version of Windows 7 to install?

Both 32-bit and 64-bit installation discs are included in the Windows 7 package. 64-bit operating systems can handle large amounts of memory—typically 4 gigabytes (GB) of random access memory (RAM) or more—more efficiently than 32-bit operating systems. However, not all computers are 64-bit capable. For more information, see 32-bit and 64-bit Windows: frequently asked questions.

You'll probably need the 32-bit version, but to make sure right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.

  • If you don’t see "x64 Edition" listed, then you’re running the 32-bit version of Windows XP. Step 1 of this tutorial will show you how to run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, which can let you know if your comptuer is capable of running the 64-bit version of Windows 7.

  • If "x64 Edition" is listed under System, you’re running the 64-bit version of Windows XP and can run the 64-bit version of Windows 7.

Next: Download and run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor.

* Internet access required and download charges may apply as set by your internet service provider.