NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, December 2010
Installing Windows 7 on an XP computer
(if I can do it, you can do it!)

By Nancy Wallace – Sarasota PC Users Group

I have a 2006 Dell laptop (32-bit) with an 80 GB hard drive and 1 GB of RAM. I have just successfully installed Windows 7 on this computer with a few glitches which I managed to resolve.

Following Microsoft’s advice, I downloaded and installed the free “Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor Setup”. The Advisor “… scans your PC for potential issues with your hardware, devices, and installed programs, and recommends what to do before you upgrade”. I attached all my peripherals and ran the Advisor. To my surprise, it told me to proceed – no immediate impediments in sight (I had expected to find that I didn’t have enough space and RAM).

Next I backed up all my data files and programs using Microsoft’s “Windows Easy Transfer for transferring from Windows XP (32 bit) to Windows 7”; I stored this backup file on an external drive.

Then I began the Windows 7 Install – no problems. I downloaded the latest AVG virus protection program and began to install Microsoft Office Professional 2007. Half way through the installation it stopped and told me I had run out of space. When the Windows 7 installation begins it stores all of your data files and programs in a Windows.old file on the hard drive. Since I didn’t plan to try to recover my old XP environment, I was able to delete that file and gained about 13 GB in the process. Then I was able to restart the Office installation. No problems.

I soon discovered that my Dell Printer (924, all-in-one) needed a new driver for Windows 7 and there is none available. However, I found that I could download a Vista driver for this printer, run it in compatibility mode, and it worked just fine (_g11AWeb32924EN.exe – I found this info in a Dell Forum).

I continued to re-install all my other programs - Quicken, WinZip, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Reader, Skype and Quilt Pro.

My Quilt Pro is a 1995 version and its Help file is written in HLP format. Microsoft no longer supports this format but provides a free HLP compatibility module which I downloaded without any trouble (WinHlp32.exe). As I continue to use this program, I am encountering more and more “compatibility” issues – always related to storing and updating files. So I’ve decided it’s time to upgrade to a Windows 7 compatible version. Whenever I open Adobe Photoshop Elements 4, I get the message: “This program has known compatibility issues”. When I “check for solutions online”, it doesn’t find any. However, it seems to work OK – so far, so good.

With Quicken I found I had to re-register my Bank and Credit Card company info before I could begin the Online Transfer functions – no problems there.

End result, my computer capacity is 70 GB – I now have 40 GB used and 30GB free. So, it looks like I don’t need to buy a larger computer after all – yippee!

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