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Migrating Applications from Windows XP to Windows 7

The next task is to use the Windows Easy Transfer Wizard to move your application and user data from the old Windows XP installation into the Windows 7 installation. In this section, we'll discuss how to move your application data out of Windows XP so that it will be available for installation into Windows 7.

First, download and install the Windows Easy Transfer Wizard. Point your browser to www.microsoft.com, hover your mouse over the Downloads and Trials button, and from the drop-down menu that appears select Download Center. Then, in the search box, type Windows Easy Transfer Wizard and press Enter.

We suggest that you download the installer to your system before running it, rather than running it directly from the download link. Why? Because you're going to need to install it again when you move your application profiles into the Windows 7 installation.

Although the Easy Transfer Wizard asks for a data transfer cable, you don't need one; in fact, many of the more efficient methods don't use the data transfer cable. We recommend the following:

  • If you're moving your applications from Windows XP on one computer to Windows 7 on a new computer, you should use the network transfer mode.
  • If you're moving your applications from Windows XP to Windows 7 on the same computer, you should use the CD/DVD/removable media option.

The only time we've found the data transfer cable to be superior is when you are migrating between two computers, without any networking capability. If networking is available, we'll use it, for the simple reason that transfers over Fast Ethernet are much faster than using the transfer cable.

One thing we've found very useful for same-system transfers like this is a suitably sized flash drive, or a USB external hard disk. The reason for using an external drive of this sort is that it allows you to wipe and rewrite the computer's internal hard disk—which is actually a very good idea under most circumstances. A decent USB external disk can be had online for under $50, with enough room to move most system installations. This approach has three other benefits:

  • You can easily archive the system state before reinstalling applications and the like by simply copying the archive files, to a file server, to DVDs, or to another storage drive.
  • You can reuse the same external drive as you upgrade multiple computers—upgrade one, erase the data, move on to the next computer, and so on.
  • After all your migrating is done, you can use the same external drive as a backup device.

After you've installed Windows Easy Transfer Wizard, your next step is to start transferring files:

  1. Close all the applications currently open on the computer, and start the Easy Transfer Wizard (see Figure 3.5).
    Figure 3.5

    Figure 3.5 Windows Easy Transfer Wizard.

  2. Click Next. The file transfer methods screen appears.
  3. Select an external hard disk or flash drive.
  4. Easy Transfer asks if this is your old or new computer. Select This Is My Old Computer (see Figure 3.6).
    Figure 3.6

    Figure 3.6 Selecting the computer from which you are transferring files.

  5. Select what you want to transfer (see Figure 3.7).
    Figure 3.7

    Figure 3.7 Choose the files that you want to transfer from your XP installation to your Windows 7 installation.

  6. When you're ready, click Next.

    Before performing the transfer, the Easy Transfer Wizard gives you an opportunity to review what is being migrated (see Figure 3.8). Check through the list to make sure you haven't missed something important; then click Next to start the migration process.

    In the example in Figure 3.8, the user has assembled all of the files he wants to save in the folder "Joel" to make the transfer easy. This screen may not look the same way if you've chosen multiple folders and files from different locations.

    Figure 3.8

    Figure 3.8 Review the files and settings you have elected to transfer and give your new overall transfer file a name.

  7. When the Easy Transfer Wizard is finished, check your external drive to make sure that the settings files were stored properly. You should find a .MIG file with the name you gave it earlier (see Figure 3.9). Depending on what you have on your system, the migration file may easily be several hundred megabytes (or even gigabytes).
    Figure 3.9

    Figure 3.9 Here you can see the files that were transferred and the location in which they were saved.

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