How to Update to Windows 7 From Windows XP

By Dan Howard

Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system provides significant compatibility and interface improvements over the operating system's predecessor, Windows Vista. Computer users that are using the Windows XP operating system may wish to upgrade directly to Windows 7. To upgrade you will need to back up all data on your computer, boot to the Windows 7 installation disc and perform a custom upgrade.

Things You'll Need

  • External hard drive
  • Writable DVDs and CDs
  • Windows 7 installation discs
  • Program installation discs

Step 1

Locate the installation disc or installation file for each application that you wish to retain on your computer. You'll need to re-install each application individually once the Windows 7 installation is complete.

Step 2

Back up all data and media files that are on your computer. You can back the files up to an external hard drive or you can burn files to a writable DVD or CD.

Step 3

Click "Start," then right-click the My Computer icon and click "Properties." Under System properties, look for the characters "x64". If these characters are present, it denotes that you are running a 64-bit version of Windows XP. Otherwise you are running a 32-bit version of Windows XP.

Step 4

Insert the 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7 installation disc. If your computer is running 32-bit Windows XP then you can only upgrade to the 32-bit version of Windows 7, whereas if your computer runs the 64-bit version of XP then you can only upgrade to 64-bit Windows 7.

Step 5

Restart your computer. Your computer will boot to the Windows 7 installation disc.

Step 6

Click "Install Now" and click "Get important updates for installation". If you have an active Internet connection then Windows 7 will download updates to the Windows 7 installation program.

Step 7

Read the Terms of Use and click the check box next to "I accept." Click Next.

Step 8

Click "Custom" to proceed with a custom upgrade. This option is required to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7.

Step 9

Select the hard drive partition that contains your copy of Windows XP; in most cases, this will be the C: partition. Click Next and then click OK. This will begin the Windows 7 installation process. Follow the on-screen prompts to install Windows 7.

Step 10

Re-install all programs that you wish to use on your Windows 7 computer.

Step 11

Copy your backed-up data and media files onto your computer.