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Learn how to move from Windows XP or Windows Vista quickly - Selection from Switching to Microsoft® Windows 7: The Painless Way to Upgrade from.
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The release of the highly anticipated follow up to Vista, Windows 7, is here. Over the coming weeks and months, thousands of systems will be upgraded. While many people will kill two birds with one stone by taking the opportunity to buy a new computer with Windows 7 preinstalled, a large proportion of computer users will go down the upgrade route.

Remove windows 8 and revert back to windows 7

Depending on whether Windows XP or Vista is the base operating system, the upgrade process will be vastly different. Only Vista users will be able to perform a standard upgrade installation. If you have XP installed, you're going to have to perform a clean install, even if you've bought the upgrade edition of Windows 7. This means that files and system settings will have to be backed up and restored if the transition to Windows 7 is to be as painless as possible.

We're going to take a look at this process over the coming pages. Backing up data is never fun, so it's one of those tasks that most computer users tend to avoid. While backups prove very useful in the event of a hard drive failure or other computing disaster, they're also invaluable when the time comes to reinstall or upgrade Windows.

Manually backing up files and folders is simple enough — the process can involve little more than copying the relevant files to a separate hard drive.

How to Upgrade Windows XP to Windows 7

Program and Windows settings are a different matter, and this is where a specially designed tool can be helpful. The Windows Easy Transfer wizard is a great tool for anyone upgrading from XP to Windows 7 as it takes the hard work out of safeguarding data and also backs up other data such as email accounts and system settings. It simplifies the process of backing up documents and settings, which can then be restored once a clean installation has been performed.

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Unlike an in-place upgrade, going down this route will mean that any software that is already in place will not be retained, so each program will have to be reinstalled afterwards. While a migration is the only real option available to users of Windows XP, it may also appeal to anyone upgrading from Vista. This is because it results in a cleaner system that's not bogged down with remnants of the previous operating system. Windows Easy Transfer also comes in handy if you're making the move from a to a bit OS, because this also requires a clean install.

The transfer tool is located in the Support folder of the Windows 7 disc in a subfolder called Migwiz. Double-click the executable named 'migwiz. The SP stands for Service Pack, and both of them are updates you can easily download before you get started. First and foremost, if you've got Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate right now, you'll need to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro.

Otherwise, vanilla Windows 8 should be fine for most installs. Both versions have the full Windows Desktop, the new Start Screen, all the new gestures , and the ability to install both traditional software and apps from the Windows Store. What Windows 8 Pro adds is primarily a bunch of business-friendly features like BitLocker drive encryption, file encryption, client-side Hyper-V, the ability to join a Windows Server Domain, and to host a Remote Desktop. If that all sounded like a bunch of meaningless jargon, vanilla Windows 8 will do nicely.

Note that neither version comes with Windows Media Center, and Windows 8 Pro is one step closer to getting that home entertainment software suite. In fact, for right now, it's free: Microsoft is giving the Media Center pack away free with Windows 8 Pro until January With the exception of a few Intel Atom processors in netbooks and nettops, most machines where you'd want to install Windows 8 can use a bit version of Windows. That's also what you'll probably want to get, because without bit you can't take advantage of more than four gigabytes of memory in your computer.

So, how much will the operating system cost, and how do you get it installed? Point your eyes to the right to see pricing options, then continue on down to the install process. You use an automated setup tool to download the necessary files, it informs you if you have any incompatible programs, and then you let it install. There are also fancier options, like setting up a dual-boot arrangement or installing on a separate partition. You want a new computer? What type, though? There are laptops and desktops, certainly, but also tablets. There are also desktops that act like tablets, and tablets that act like laptops, and laptops that fold into tablets too.

Not every combination will be right for your needs, so choose wisely. Some of these machines run Windows 8, with all the features in the full desktop operating system, while others run Windows RT.

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Does that price tag or battery life sound too good to be true? It might hide a difference in processing power inside. Battery life should be good , and devices thin, but performance relatively slow. Next up, Atom chips will have the full Windows 8 experience, but with the performance of a netbook. The Core iU, for instance, still drains batteries far faster than an Atom or Z, but should handle most non-intensive tasks with ease.

Some manufacturers are updating their touchpad software to support Windows 8 gestures, while others are actually adding touchscreens. It looks like even lowly netbooks will be preloaded with Windows 8, so clamshells can be a cheap way to get in on the game.

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You can easily hold them in either landscape or portrait orientations, and most come with full-size USB ports and have SD card slots to augment their storage. Some have optional cellular radios so you can take them on the go.

Most add an additional cost. The Vaio Duo 11 also supports an active stylus. Before Windows 8, all-in-one computers seemed like mostly a space-saving exercise, a way to store components in the same area as the screen.

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Many can also double as multimedia centers thanks to their large, high-resolution screens, integrated speakers and DVD or Blu-ray drives, and some even have the TV tuners and HDMI input required to double as a small TV set. It really is a gigantic inch tablet, which weighs about 11 pounds and comes with a removable battery offering an estimated 3. Peripheral manufacturers including Microsoft and Logitech will have touch mice and touchpads available , and several manufacturers will offer touchscreen monitors , which you can connect to a desktop or laptop. Click here to see our full Windows 8 hardware StoryStream, chock full of new laptops, desktops, tablets and convertibles.

So there you have it: a list of your options if you absolutely, positively must get Windows 8 on the day of launch.