Chapter I.4. Upgrades, Clean Installs, Transfers

In This Chapter

  • Determining whether you can upgrade

  • Performing an upgrade or a clean install

  • Transferring your files and settings from another computer

  • Activating Windows 7

  • Cleaning the gunk off new PCs

  • Did Windows die? Don't panic!

If your current machine runs Windows Vista, you can upgrade to Windows 7 by simply starting Windows, inserting the Windows 7 CD into the CD drive, and following the instructions. "Upgrading" from Windows XP to Windows 7 is considerably more difficult than upgrading from Vista to Windows 7. The only way to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 involves wiping out your hard drive. Before you upgrade from Vista or XP, take a few minutes to read this chapter. It may save you hours, days, or even months of headaches.

And, if you ever have the urge to throw in the towel, wipe out your hard drive, and install Windows 7 all over again, follow the nostrums here to minimize the chances of complete disaster.

Can Your Computer Handle Windows 7?

Before you install Windows 7 on a PC, it would behoove you to find out exactly what you're going to get. The primary question isn't whether Windows 7 can run on your PC, because requirements for the minimal existence of Windows 7 are surprisingly Spartan. If your computer is fewer than five years old, it can run Windows 7, to a greater or lesser extent.


What you need to know is whether your computer can handle the Glass interface (see Figure 4-1) — or whether Windows 7 will automatically ...

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