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Author Topic: Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 Upgrade advice  (Read 6253 times)

40hz

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Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 Upgrade advice
« on: March 04, 2010, 01:22:11 PM »
Ahhh... siblings! They love us, they admire us, they twist our arms!:-\

JustDoIt.jpg

OK. I shouldn't need to ask this, but since I've never personally done an upgrade this way, I figured I'd ask you folks if you have any advice, tips, or traps to be aware of when doing an 'in place' XP to Vista to Win7 upgrade?

Background:

My sister is a happy WinXP user. She briefly tried Vista and absolutely hated it. So much so that she bought all her later machines with the XP 'downgrade' option - and used it.

Now, she has reluctantly acknowledged she's going to have to change her OS in the near future and decided (after trying it) that she could live with Windows 7.

She would like to do an "in place" upgrade to Windows 7 since she has a few important custom-written pieces of business software that she does not have any media for. (Needless to say, the programmer who developed and installed them for her is long gone and not to be found.) She would very much like to continue using these programs if at all possible, assuming they'll work under Win7. Since they were developed using .NET I'm fairly confident they will.

I explained that she can't do an "in place" from XP to 7, and that the Microsoft migration tool will only handle data and settings and can't move installed programs.

After her predictable 'expression of delight" at hearing this, she then asked the obvious question:

Why not upgrade XP to Vista first (since she already had licenses and OEM media for Vista) - and then go from Vista to 7 after she bought copies of the Win7 upgrade?

Since I haven't seen her OEM (Dell) media yet, I'm guessing it's most likely an OS 'recovery' type disk, which would preclude using it to upgrade to XP. I explained that problem and how it may be possible to use her activation key in conjunction with a retail Vista upgrade disk, but that I couldn't guarantee it would work since I've been both successful and unsuccessful in doing that. It seems to depend on which brand of PC, and how willing Microsoft is to cut the owner some slack if you have to call them to get activation resolved when you do it this way. (I've had about a 70% success rate with that BTW.) If I can get her to Vista we're home free.

So...any upgrade advice or suggestions for a guy like me whose insistence on "nothing but clean OS installs" borders on mania?

Thanks! :)

« Last Edit: March 04, 2010, 03:49:03 PM by 40hz »

mouser

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Re: Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 Upgrade advice
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2010, 01:27:56 PM »
probably not what you want to hear but i'd consider sticking with xp.
and i'm a fan of "nothing but clean OS installs"

with the price of PC's these days, what i always recommend is:
  • keep your old pc and don't try to upgrade it; if it works well enough, leave it alone.
  • when you are ready to move up, buy a new computer, with windows 7 (or whatever) on it.
  • leave both machines in runnable state for a month as you migrate over any data, and take your time leisurely testing, etc.
  • after a month or so when everything runs perfectly on your new pc, and you know all your data is on the new pc and fine, then you can consider putting the old pc in a closet in case you need it one day.

40hz

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Re: Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 Upgrade advice
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2010, 01:42:48 PM »
...

probably not what you want to hear



No...but it's pretty much what I expected to hear.  ;D

Agree on all your points. (Said as much to her myself come to think of it. ;D )

Unfortunately, new machines aren't gonna happen: $$$ combined with the fact they're all less than a year old.

And going over to Win7 is something she does need to do for a bunch of reasons that have nothing to do with technology - and everything to do with a key client's requirement. (Don't ask. I personally think the client's reasons for wanting her on 7 are totally bogus, but there ya have it.)

Obviously not an ideal situation hence my looking into the kludge approach.


mouser

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Re: Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 Upgrade advice
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2010, 01:52:04 PM »
first things first, make images of the hard drives onto an external usb drive.. at least that way you can always go back.

mouser

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Re: Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 Upgrade advice
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2010, 01:53:54 PM »
btw:
"LOGIC is no longer an option"
that's great, love it.  ;D

MilesAhead

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Re: Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 Upgrade advice
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2010, 02:05:14 PM »
There must be a hardware test you can get to see if the machine will run XPmode once W7 is on. If that passes, you could install 7 and try to run the custom apps in XP mode.  If you have the disk space I would leave the native XP on until you find out what's what.

If all indications are she can run XPmode I would slice off some HD and put W7 on in evaluation mode.  That gives you time to try the XPmode in actuality(assuming evaluation mode isn't in some way hobbled to prevent it) with the apps.  If you know it's going to work, then you can make decisions about which W7 to buy or use depending on upgrade options of the machine.

I wouldn't put too much hope in the in place upgrade option.  But if the install(when you finally put on the one you are going to activate) allows a Custom Install option, I've had good luck with that method.  Everything under Program Files is gathered up and stuck in Windows.old but at least you still have the files to mess with.  Many "portable" apps if located in another folder, will work just by making a new shortcut.  Stuff with registry settings will need to be reinstalled.  But that's why I suggest if at all possible to keep a working XP partition until you are certain you can migrate the custom apps or run them in XPmode.  She may have to boot into XP for awhile until you see what the deal is with XPmode, or migration etc..

Ath

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Re: Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 Upgrade advice
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2010, 03:12:53 PM »
Well, you'd better not try to press the current XP installation into XPMode: that's not going to happen.
Get a real virtualization tool like VMWare (Server, Player 3, Workstation) and try to import the XP install into a virtual machine (either local or remote though the network, then both should be same cpu-brand AMD or Intel). If that works (ymmv, did it several times, but not always successfully), run the VM and see if all is well (turn down the memory setting for the VM by about 50% to be able to start it properly) If all still is well, store the VM and enhance :-[ the PC to a clean install of Win7, install the VMware product you used earlier, and run the VM if & when needed. Presto! you're done :Thmbsup:

f0dder

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Re: Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 Upgrade advice
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2010, 05:52:19 PM »
First, I'd try simply "extracting" the installed critical software. you say it's dotNET, it's probably going to be pretty easy, without too much registry/filesystem entangling. If that works, simply do a clean Win7 install on her hardware, problem solved :)

I'd probably still do a P2V of the existing XP install first, just to be on the safe side... sometimes it takes a couple of months before you realize that you forgot backing up or extracting whatever single item.
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40hz

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Re: Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 Upgrade advice
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2010, 06:55:34 PM »
First, I'd try simply "extracting" the installed critical software. you say it's dotNET, it's probably going to be pretty easy, without too much registry/filesystem entangling. If that works, simply do a clean Win7 install on her hardware, problem solved :)

My thoughts exactly. I'm in the process of doing that as we speak. Looks to be done in C++ with a few oddball private DLLs thrown in just to keep it interesting. I'm not a C++ programmer, but I'm pretty good at troubleshooting software installation issues, so I should be OK. If not, I've got a few friends (who are real C++ wizards) that I can call on.

Quote
I'd probably still do a P2V of the existing XP install first, just to be on the safe side... sometimes it takes a couple of months before you realize that you forgot backing up or extracting whatever single item.

I'm not that comfortable when it comes to VMs yet (although I plan on budgeting some serious 'lab' time to get up to speed on it before June is over), so just I imaged and cloned the HD to a new one and am working off that. One less layer of abstraction to deal with. And easier since I have a small supply of old 160-250 Gb HDs to play with!

Once I've got things straightened out I'll most likely put her original HD into 'cold' storage and just give her a new one in case she ever needs it back. I'll also archive the drive image as a second backup to be doubly safe.


40hz

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Re: Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 Upgrade advice
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2010, 07:01:58 PM »
btw:
"LOGIC is no longer an option"
that's great, love it.  ;D

Glad you liked it. It's my private mantra;D

« Last Edit: March 04, 2010, 07:06:43 PM by 40hz »

MilesAhead

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Re: Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 Upgrade advice
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2010, 06:20:40 PM »
The fly in the ointment may be if the installed custom software has some copy protection scheme.  It may be simpler just to leave an XP partition on and boot to that to do the work with those apps.

40hz

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Re: Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 Upgrade advice
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2010, 07:11:03 PM »
The fly in the ointment may be if the installed custom software has some copy protection scheme.  It may be simpler just to leave an XP partition on and boot to that to do the work with those apps.


Also good idea. Fortunately, I was able to pry both programs off the drive. Turned out to be pretty straightforward. Had to manually register a few DLLs, but I got it to work in the end. Fortunately, the only registry entries were easy to find and fairly simple so it went rather well. The only problem is that neither of them will run on 64-bit Win7 no matter what you do. Might just be some sloppy coding since they work just fine under 32-bit Win7.

film_clapper.jpg So it looks like it's a wrap folks!


I want to thank everyone for your comments and suggestions.  :Thmbsup:

(I told my sister: Let's NOT do this again real soon!)

f0dder

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Re: Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 Upgrade advice
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2010, 05:34:45 AM »
The only problem is that neither of them will run on 64-bit Win7 no matter what you do. Might just be some sloppy coding since they work just fine under 32-bit Win7.
In which way do the apps fail on 64bit Windows?

Mayhaps it's a registry key issue - if you export keys from 32bit Windows and import directly on 64bit with a .reg file, the values will go in normal HKLM, instead of the Wow6432Node subkey where you want them...
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40hz

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Re: Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 Upgrade advice
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2010, 12:50:52 PM »
@f0dder - I was not aware of that. I'll have to look and see if that's where the problem is. Thanks for the info! Got one of my C++ Ninja friends going over what I did just to make sure I didn't do anything exceptionally stupid when I migrated the apps. I'll mention what you said next time I talk to her. The two of you could probably have some great discussions. She's about as patient as you are with stupid architecture and coding issues.

Thx again for sharing your expertise. :Thmbsup:

« Last Edit: March 07, 2010, 08:16:57 PM by 40hz »

telephonics

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Re: Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 Upgrade advice
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2010, 08:35:25 AM »
probably not what you want to hear but i'd consider sticking with xp.
and i'm a fan of "nothing but clean OS installs"

with the price of PC's these days, what i always recommend is:
  • keep your old pc and don't try to upgrade it; if it works well enough, leave it alone.
  • when you are ready to move up, buy a new computer, with windows 7 (or whatever) on it.
  • leave both machines in runnable state for a month as you migrate over any data, and take your time leisurely testing, etc.
  • after a month or so when everything runs perfectly on your new pc, and you know all your data is on the new pc and fine, then you can consider putting the old pc in a closet in case you need it one day.

WSin 7 still needs to address open issues. Here's one for someone to work on. If one wants to scan a docuument or image into an e-mail they must have either Outlook or outlook express. In particular HP scanners do not provide this capability if you use Windows Mail. I need this capability for my business so I'm going to dump Windows 7 and go back to Xp-SP3 and outlook express.

Kurios

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Re: Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 Upgrade advice
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2010, 09:52:39 AM »
Posable best of both worlds scenario;
wouldn't the "old" progs work with a "virtuel XP" on W7 work?

f0dder

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Re: Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 Upgrade advice
« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2010, 09:53:59 AM »
Posable best of both worlds scenario;
wouldn't the "old" progs work with a "virtuel XP" on W7 work?
Some will - but Virtual XP Mode is targeted at business applications, games are a completely different matter.
- carpe noctem