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that it's time to upgrade from Windows XP (it retires in early
April 2014), you may well be wondering how much of your current software and
hardware will work on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Fortunately there are some
great free tools to help you figure that out.
least I hope you’re planning to upgrade. April has been called the 'XPocalypse' for a good reason: When Microsoft stops support, PCs
using XP and Office 2003 will face greatly increased exposure to malware attacks. Find out why it’s really and truly time to upgrade in my recent Get Ready for the End of Windows XP Support.
good news is that pretty ancient PCs will run Windows 7 and somewhat less
ancient ones will run Windows 8.1. At the Windows site Neowin.net, testers have successfully installed and
run Windows 7 on a 700MHz Pentium III ThinkPad with 256MB of RAM and a 600MHz Pentium III desktop with 512MB of RAM. If you are still running
IT equipment that is older than 15 year old P3’s, good for you! You have
exceeded the full lifespan expectations of computers, but it’s probably time to
get newer equipment.
I’m told by those
who know such things that Windows 8 is largely Windows 7 under the hood, so it
also runs on older computers. The 8.1 system requirements are a bit higher than Windows 7 (1GHz
processor, and 1 GB of RAM). I
tested it on a classic Windows XP computer, a Dell Optiplex GX 280 from
2005 and it worked fine.
You can check to
see if your PCs meet the requirements for Windows 8 by downloading and running
the free Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant. The Microsoft step-by-step instructions
"Upgrade to Windows 8.1 from
Windows Vista or Windows XP”
is very clear and understandable.
check your Windows XP computer's specifications:
you want to upgrade to Windows 7, you can use Microsoft's downloadable Windows Upgrade Advisor to see if your computer meets the minimum specifications.
You may have noticed that Microsoft hosts different upgrade tools for Windows 7
and Windows 8.
deciding which one to upgrade to, I like PC Advisor’s Windows
7 vs. Windows 8: what’s the best upgrade from XP?. I also wrote a
piece about this about a year ago. Also check out my colleague Ginny Mies' Should You
Upgrade to Windows 8? Questions to Consider.
find out what existing software you already have on your computers, you can
download the free Spiceworks
IT Desktop that inventories your software to determine what programs are
running on your PCs.
If you’re running Microsoft
Office 2003 or an even older version of MS Office,
it’s time to upgrade that application as well. Microsoft is ending support for
it in April 2014 and it also will be much more susceptible to malware intrusion.
If it turns out
that you have lots of older software that you need to have on a new operating
system, you might consider upgrading to Windows 7 Professional because it has an XP
Mode add-on that runs in a separate window on the Windows 7 desktop.
You can download XP Mode here.
It’s probably helpful to know that you will need your original XP installation
disc and activation code to get it running. For more on this, check out Microsoft’s step-by-step Install and use Windows XP Mode in Windows 7.
To see if your
existing applications, hardware devices, or even device drivers will work in
either Windows 7 or Windows 8, go to the Windows
Compatibility Center where you can type in a product name. Another resource
on compatibility of older software with Windows 8.1 after you have installed it is the Program Compatibility
get your upgrade software, find Microsoft Windows and Office Donations on TechSoup here. Use the pull-down menu under
'Browse Products' to find specific products. Office 2010 and Office 2013 are
available for donation to charities, foundations, and libraries. We also have
both Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 in 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
your PCs are seven years old or newer, they are likely 64-bit compatible. Wikihow has a
good simple article on how to check to see if your IT equipment is 32-bit
to be redundant, but here are the really important links from this admittedly
dense piece (plus a few more):
Windows and Office Donations (use the pull-down menu under 'Browse
Products' to find specific products)
Ready for the End of Windows XP Support
You Upgrade to Windows 8? Questions to Consider
To Request Microsoft Donations (Webinar)
Compatibility Center where you can find out which of your existing applications
and hardware devices will work in Windows 7 or Windows 8
Step-by-step tutorial on
upgrading to Windows 8 from XP
Step-by-step tutorial on upgrading to Windows 7 from XP
Upgrade to Windows 8.1 from
Windows Vista or Windows XP
the free Microsoft Deployment Toolkit
Download the free Spiceworks
IT Desktop to inventory your existing software
article on how to check to see if your IT equipment is 32 bit or 64
to Upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 - For Dummies
to upgrade to Windows 8 | How To - CNET
you can still upgrade to Windows 7 (PC World)
Do you have experience upgrading from XP? Please log in to comment on this blog post.
We will need to keep using XP because of software that will take a while to move to a new OS.
My biggest concern isn't getting a virus, since these machines are not linked to the internet. My biggest concern is if the hard drive goes, and I need to reinstall the OS, as well as the dozens of software applications that are designed for XP instead of a later version.
I'd like to clone the machine, so I could get the machine repaired, and then copy the old configuration back, but I've not been successful with either Barts PE or Acronis in doing that.
Do you have any suggestions for a software package that will let me clone a 260 BG hard drive to a 1 TB external drive, and then, using another computer, put that 250 GB back to either the same computer with a larger hard drive, or a different computer with the same size or larger hard drive?
"My biggest concern isn't getting a virus, since these machines are not linked to the internet" Big caution regarding that statement: by far, the majority of viruses any PC I've worked on have gotten have come from memory sticks, NOT from the Internet!
What did you mean by stopping support for Office 2003. Will office 2003 work in Windows 7? I prefer 2003 to the newer versions, I have both.
At least I hope you’re planning to upgrade. April has been called the 'XPocalypse' for a good reason: When Microsoft stops support, PCs using XP and Office 2003 will face greatly increased exposure to malware attacks.
Thornton - by stopping support for Office 2003, Microsoft will stop issuing security patches and hot fixes for the software. By most accounts I've seen there'll be an increasing barrage of malware attacks targeting XP and Office 2003 starting in April. You'll be completely on your own, no matter what trouble you get into. Computerworld declared that XP's & Office 2003's retirement will be hacker heaven as soon as Microsoft ceases to support them.
Office 2003 will work in Windows 7, but it will provide an opening for viruses, worms, trojans, bots, spyware and other things to infect your computers. I've look and haven't found any tech writer saying that this is a false alarm. It looks to me like the real deal.
I checked with an alpha-geek techie on your request for a cloning solution for the 260 GB hard drive to a 1 TB external drive. It looks like Acronis True Image may be what you're looking for. It is is designed to clone an internal drive (including OS) to an external one. After you transfer the image to another drive or PC, it can also update that data to the external drive as well, so it can function as a local back-up solution as well.
To transfer the image from the external HD to a new HD, you'll need to make a bootable flash drive. Find step-by-step instructions on how to do that at: kb.acronis.com/.../44351.
Acronis True Image currently costs $50 for a single image/computer, and $80 for three images/computers.
I'm told their tech support is pretty good as well
An option besides Acronis is to do this with open source tool like Gparted. Image the drive to the new drive, then boot to Gparted and resize the partition. Haven't done this for a few years, but it should work fairly well.
Ditto on Acronis (in terms of ease of use). If you don't mind spending the $50, it's a good tool.
I looked at your site and even though Windows 7 is still supported by Microsoft, I do not see the ability to purchase that OS. This is strange because you are caring two version of office (2010 and 2013). Will W7 be added back or will your non profit customer be forced to go from XP to W8 upgrade 1? This will mean that for some a new computer purchase instead of just possibly a memory upgrade.
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