Step 3Reviewing Your Results and Making Plans
If you are planning to upgrade to Windows 7, there are several things you need to do first.
Dealing with Hardware or Programs that Won't Run with Windows 7
If you receive messages that some of your hardware or programs are not compatible, you have time to decide what to do. Before rushing out to buy new hardware or programs, look carefully at what the incompatible items do for you. If you're not using them, don't worry about replacing them. Just don't reinstall them after installing Windows 7.
If you need the functionality that the item provides, think carefully about your options, and consider multifunction, low-cost, or free alternatives if you're on a budget. For example, if your current productivity suite won't run under Windows 7, you could use the latest version of OpenOffice. If you have a printer or scanner that is no longer compatible, you could replace both with a multifunction device.
Getting More Hard Disk Space
If you need additional hard disk space before moving to Windows 7, you're in luck: Hard disk prices are at an all-time low per gigabyte (GB). Consider upgrading to a drive that offers at least three or four times the total capacity of your old drive. For example, if you currently have an 80GB hard disk, consider 320GB or larger drives. Keep in mind that the cost per gigabyte drops as drive capacity increases, so even a 1TB or larger internal hard disk isn't much more expensive than a smaller drive. Keep in mind that you need an internal hard disk, not an external hard disk, if your C: (system) drive is too small for Windows 7. Use Device Manager or open your system to determine if you need a PATA (ATA/IDE) or SATA hard disk.
Use a New Hard Disk for Windows 7
If you are planning to move from Windows XP to Windows 7, don't delete and reformat your old hard disk, even if it's large enough. Instead, buy a new hard disk for use with Windows 7, and transfer your data files and settings from the old hard disk to a backup drive before replacing your hard disk. Once you know you've transferred everything, you can format the old drive and use it for additional storage.
To install an upgrade version of Windows 7 to a new hard disk, see this handy guide from Maximum PC magazine.