If you are looking at this from Windows XP you probably already know that your operating system has little support time left. Microsoft is taking care of letting us know and has been recommending for some time to renew our equipment or update our operating system to more modern versions of Windows. As the first is not always possible in this post we will try to explain how you can carry out the second: upgrade Windows XP to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
Go ahead that It will not always be possible to update your computer to new systems such as Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Even if you can, you may prefer to keep Windows XP on it. But if your team meets the necessary requirements and you are one of those who is willing to update, we hope that this guide will help you in the process. In any case, do not forget to also consult the information provided by Microsoft.
Check hardware and requirements
Before we start updating, it is better check that our equipment meets the minimum requirements of the chosen system. Things have changed a lot since 2001 and it is possible that the characteristics of our computer do not meet the minimum necessary to run more current operating systems.
The following points show the requirements specified by Microsoft for Windows XP and for the other two systems to which we propose to update. In principle, it will not matter if we update to Windows 7 or Windows 8 because both share almost traced needs, so that if our computer can handle one, it will be able to handle another without problems. You can take into account that yes, additional details for which it may be a good idea to take a look at the official Microsoft website.
- Windows XP requirements:
- Pentium processor 233 megahertz (MHz) or faster (300 MHz recommended)
- At least 64 megabytes (MB) of RAM (128 MB recommended)
- A minimum of 1.5 gigabytes (GB) of available hard disk space
- CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive
- Windows 7 requirements:
- 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor at 1 gigahertz (GHz) or higher.
- 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit).
- 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit) available hard disk space.
- DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver.
- More information
- Windows 8.1 requirements
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster, compatible with PAE, NX and SSE2 (more information)
- RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
- Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
- Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
- More information
If we want to make absolutely sure that we are prepared to update and that everything will work as it should in the new system, it is a good idea to use the update wizards that Microsoft makes available to us completely free of charge. Either for Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, the wizard will check our computer, programs and connected devices and will alert us to possible incompatibilities with advice on how to solve them.
Acquire the new chosen system
After checking the requirements and running the update wizard we are in a position to choose the target system. Either for one reason or another we can decide to jump to Windows 7 or go further and install the latest and greatest Windows 8.1. In any case we must acquire the corresponding license of one of the two to proceed with its installation.
Microsoft no longer sells Windows 7 officially but the system can still be found in numerous physical and online stores. Its Home and Professional editions can easily be found for less than 100 euros and come with the highly recommended Service Pack 1.
Acquire Windows 8.1 It should be simpler, although somewhat more expensive. The official prices are 119 euros for the basic version and 279 euros for the Pro version. The second one is aimed at professionals and companies, so the first one will be enough for the vast majority of users.
Back up files and programs
When upgrading Windows XP to a newer version of Windows we will not be able to keep any files or data like this that we will have to make the corresponding backup copy of them. It is also important to bear in mind that we will lose all the installed programs so it is convenient to collect all the software that we will need or get an idea of how we can get hold of it once we have updated the equipment.
The compilation of software will depend on the needs of each one but it would not be a bad idea to make a list of all those programs that we want to have installed on our new system. The Windows Easy Transfer tool can help us do this. If these can be downloaded afterwards from the internet, we will have no problems, but it is better to make sure that we have copies of all those programs that require physical support for their installation.
For its part, the backup of files and data can be done manually, saving everything we want to save on an external medium, such as a hard disk, a USB memory or a CD / DVD; or taking advantage of any available cloud service, such as One Drive itself. Even so, it is best to use the Windows Easy Transfer tool recommended by Microsoft again. Is it will allow us to select in a comfortable way everything that we would like to keep and it will let us choose between different methods to save the information. The easiest is probably to resort to external support, where the tool will save a copy of our files and settings, which we can easily recover once we have installed the new system.
At this point we should already have a chosen target system: Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Likewise, we should also have checked if our equipment meets the minimum requirements and, if any, the possible compatibility problems that we will have to deal with. If we can update we would already have to have acquired the corresponding license for the chosen system and our data safeguarded in an external medium. Touch update.
Upgrade Windows XP to Windows 7
If you have decided to upgrade to Windows 7 you will have in your hand an installation DVD of the same or you will have downloaded the corresponding ISO image To the system. If you do not have a DVD drive or have purchased the system in an ISO image, you will have to use a USB memory and prepare it beforehand to proceed with the installation. If your computer has a DVD drive, you can skip this first step.
In order to launch Windows 7 installation from ISO image We can use the tool prepared by Microsoft for this: Windows 7 USB / DVD Tool. After downloading and installing it, 4 simple steps will be enough to have a USB or DVD with the system ready to be installed. Once the application is open, we choose the ISO image of the system, we choose the type of media where we are going to burn it (USB or DVD), we select the one we want (be careful because we will lose all its content) and the system will begin to create the bootable device from where install Windows 7.
At this point we should have Windows 7 ready to be installed from a DVD or a USB memory. We introduce the chosen medium and let it start automatically. If it does not, we go to the corresponding unit and double-click on the setup.exe file. An Install Windows window will open with the Windows 7 logo and the option to Install Now. We click on it and start the process.
Before the system begins to install, we have to select several options:
- First we have to choose whether or not to get important updates during the installation. If so, the computer must be connected to the internet to download them.
- Later we will be shown the Windows 7 license terms that we must accept to continue.
- Once accepted, we will be asked for the type of installation you want. Starting from Windows XP we must choose the custom installation It does not allow you to keep files or settings.
- In the next step we must select the disk drive or partition that contains Windows XP and where we are going to install Windows 7 and click Next.
- A Windows.old window will appear and all you have to do is click OK to start the entire installation process.
The installation of Windows 7 on our computer is already underway. From here, the system itself will guide us until the installation process is complete, requesting the corresponding key along the way. Then it will be time to configure our brand new operating system and the next time we restart, the Windows 7 welcome screen will receive us.
For more details about this process, you can consult the step-by-step guide from our colleagues at Engadget Windows.
Upgrade Windows XP to Windows 8.1
If you have finished deciding on the latest version of Windows, and you have verified that your computer meets the requirements and you will not have compatibility problems, you should already have in your hands a Windows 8.1 DVD. Microsoft does not officially provide Windows 8.1 ISO images for the general public and you will need to perform a clean install from the DVD you purchased.
There is an additional way to install Windows 8.1 by purchasing Windows 8. This version is still on sale at the same price as Windows 8.1 and once purchased it can be downloaded and its installation can be executed that will guide us in the download steps and installation. Once we have Windows 8 on our computer we can get the Windows 8.1 update totally free from the Windows Store application.
If we choose to go directly to Windows 8.1, starting its installation will be as simple as insert the DVD in the corresponding drive and restart our computer to boot from it. But this may not happen and we will be forced to change the boot order. This will depend on the equipment of each one and it will be a good idea to consult the corresponding manufacturer’s documentation. The usual thing is that we can configure the boot order of the different units by accessing the BIOS (pressing ESC or Del when turning on the computer) or through a specific boot menu (pressing any of the function keys such as F12).
Once we get our computer to boot from the Windows 8.1 DVD, we will have the Windows Installation Program window before us. Click on Install windows and we complete the necessary steps to start the installation.
- We choose the language, time and currency format and the keyboard layout that we prefer.
- We will be asked to enter the product key to activate Windows. This is in the box that contained the Windows 8.1 DVD.
- Once written, we will be shown the license terms that we must accept to continue.