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Objective upgrade Netbook with XP to Netbook with Win 7

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You can download the official Windows 7 ISOs, (you still need to purchase a valid license), and use to install on a machine, direct from Digital River.

Official Windows 7 SP1 ISOs

You can use the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool to create a bootable flash drive of the ISO to install with.

Note that unless you install Windows 7 with a valid license it will install into trial mode in which you have 30 days to try it out.  This can be rearmed a total of 3 times to give you a trial period of 120 days after which it requires that you register it with a valid license.

The eicfg removal utility will allow you to install all retail versions of Windows 7 using the one ISO, (within the same architecture naturally), this includes Starter, Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate.  What you choose to install will need a matching license if you want to keep using that version after the trial period ends.

Depending on the existing netbook configuration, I would recommend upgrading the RAM to the maximum 2GB, (1.5GB for some early netbooks, eg. Acer ZG5 chassis).

Re. the installed software, depending on what it is you may have some success in using a license backup program to discover the serial/license, eg. License Crawler.  Otherwise, most software keeps its serial/license info either in the registry, (which means you can export the relevant keys), or a file under the program directory, %USERDATA%, or %PROGRAMDATA%, (which means you can just save it) - used to be the way you were able to reinstall GAOTD programs.

As for the installers for the programs, you can usually find them somewhere on the net or the company typically keeps previous versions, (sometimes on its ftp servers), so a polite email may help - especially if you can produce a valid license.

And like Ath, I'd recommend only a clean install of Win7 especially onto something like a netbook with its limited resources.

Or if you're feeling adventurous PickMeApp claims to be able to transfer programs between XP and Windows 7 - you have to register to get the download links.  Otherwise you can try the light version, PickMeAppLight, without registering.

Needless to say, as per mouser, backup the system before trying - and I'll add, backup twice to two different storage devices and test the backups.

I found that a small, simple, free and portable tool called 'Rufus' makes bootable USB sticks from any Windows DVD (or Linux for that matter) even when the computer that has to create the bootable USB stick does not run on Windows 7.

On another note, I noted that my old 2GByte RAM, XP based dual core PC with 1GByte/sec onboard network card communicated better/faster with my Linux server I use to backup my data to than the 8GByte, i5, Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate with 1GByte/sec onboard network card. I re-used the HD from the XP PC in the new PC and did a clean install of Win 7 (with the bootable USB stick I made on my XP PC).

All I did on the XP PC was aligning the partitions and the speed difference was really noticeable. If it is speed you are after, a netbook made for XP might benefit more from partition alignment than anything else. Considering getting a netbook made for Windows 7/8 might prove to be better bet overall as the 1GByte of RAM of the current one is not that much.

In my experience Windows 7 is quite workable with 2GByte of RAM and improves quite a bit still with 4GByte of RAM. An external DVD drive is a bet I wouldn't consider as the netbook might not be able to boot from it. Unfortunately it can be that the BIOS inside the netbook supports the option, but it could be very picky about the brand of the drive or the controller that the drive uses.

Correct, but it's possible to do the in-between step of Vista. It'll feel like hell, taking ages for 2 consecutive upgrades, but if an upgrade is required to keep some unique application installed, it's a solution.

-Ath (October 08, 2013, 01:39 AM)
--- End quote ---

I didn't even mention that b/c its not really viable in the space that most netbooks have (ask me how I know).  Once I got through both, the system was pretty borked and slow, and I had very little HDD space left.  Thankfully, I had an image of how it was before, so I was able to just do a clean install and get what I needed from the image.

The "intact upgrade" approach is detailed in this thread

Assuming you make a backup image so that you can get back to square one if need be, another alternative is to get an ISO image of W7 and do a clean install with no product key.  It should allow you to evaluate Windows Seven on the machine for 90 days.  If you use this technique be sure to impress upon the owner of the machine that they should not commence an activation when prompted.  Unless of course they have decided all is well and they wish to purchase a license etc..

90 days should be plenty of time to decide if Windows Seven is nice to use.  If the owner turns out not to be thrilled, the system image of XP can always be restored.

edit:  The sojourn from XP to Vista to W7 I only found by search.  But sevenforums is a good site with knowledgeable posters.  I should note that the "Custom Install" which leaves a lot of the old OS stuff still does gather up programs installed in Program Files and the registy entries etc.. and wraps them in Windows.old folder.  So it's not like you can just keep using installed apps.  But data is ok.  Stuff that doesn't need install, like AHK programs etc.. that I put on my machine in C:\Utils, well they came through the custom install I did from Vista to W7 and I could use them just by making a new shortcut.

On the 90 day evaluation... install with no product key.. many people get paranoid and think it is some kind of a hack. Not at all. It's totally legal.  In fact sevenforums and vistaforums are both loaded with Microsoft MVPs and very paranoid about any license infringing info such as booting another OS to overwrite Admin passwords etc...  They won't post it if they think it's questionable. Even on sevenforums there's a tutorial to "rearm" the 90 day evaluation to get 30 more days.  The OS is fully operational during the evaluation.  No hamstrung demo crapola.   Just so you know.  :)

Thanks to everybody for the replies!

Plenty of good guidance here for me.

I'd forgotten (briefly) even the existence of Vista, which is why I was thinking of an XP to 7 upgrade. Given the circumstances I'll opt for a clean install of W7.

I use mainly Macrium Reflect Pro for backups, so that would be my first step (and second  :) )

I'll trawl around the netbook for any keys I can find. I'll probably recommend some good freeware alternatives to anything I can't fix.

Mainly, this machine will be for internet browsing (NOT with IE), email, data, some utils to make life more pleasant/safe, and a few basic games. That's probably not too challenging, even for a low-resource machine.

The reason for changing is that XP is moving out of support. If I could keep this thing off of the internet it would be XP for ever.

As always, DC is a great starting point to gather informed opinion  :Thmbsup:  :Thmbsup:  :Thmbsup:


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