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Windows XP to Windows 7 upgrade explained

Prepare your system for Microsoft's new OS

With Windows 7 now available, hundreds of PC users will be upgrading to Microsoft's new OS. However, the upgrade for those running Windows XP will be more complicated than for those running Vista.

I don't want to recreate my browser's bookmarks and site passwords, or all the other tweaks I've made to app? What do I do?

If you're using Internet Explorer on XP, it's pretty straight-forward.

In IE8, for instance, click on Favorites, then on Add to Favorites Bar, and select Import and Export.

Chose Export to a file, then click Next. Select all three boxes - Favorites, Feeds and Cookies - then 'Next'. Pick a folder to export - the umbrella 'Favorites' exports all three - then save the file to the drive by clicking ‘Next' one last time.

The files will be 'bookmark.htm,' 'feeds.opml' and 'cookies.txt'. Finally, copy those files to your backup destination. After upgrading, reverse the process by importing those files to the new copy of IE on Windows 7.

Note: The steps will be slightly different for other editions of IE. (Your passwords are exported to the cookies.txt file, by the way.)

For Firefox, it's even easier: Copy the 'C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles' folder to your backup destination - CD, DVD or online service - then later copy that to the same location on Windows 7 after reinstalling Firefox.

That will move all your bookmarks, site cookies and passwords to the just-upgraded PC.

You're on your own for other browsers. Hit your favorite search engine with strings like 'browser name migrate' and find a solution that works for you.

We did a quick search for 'Opera migrate', for example, and found these instructions.

Data safely secured. But what about the apps I'm running?

You'll have to reinstall all the software you plan to run on Windows 7, so gather all the installation discs you can find, as well as the activation or registration keys necessary to activate and use the software.

If you're running applications you've downloaded from the web, you'll need to make a list and dig up the activation/registration keys or codes.

Most for-a-fee application developers send you an email with the codes after you've purchased and downloaded their software. If you've been on top of things, you saved those emails.

If not..., root around each application for the screen that shows the code, and jot it down.

Some electronically-purchased software may reinstall on the refreshed PC only from the original downloads. If so - it's more legwork, I know - see if you can find them on the XP system. Add them to your data backup.

For free applications, the easiest way to get them on Windows 7 is to download them again from the upgraded machine.

It's likely that there's a new version in any case, hopefully one compatible with the new OS. Add those apps to your list; later you can search using Google or Yahoo or Bing, then grab the app again.

Hint: Be smart, and compose your lists, including URLs, in an email, then send it to a Web-based account. That way you can later pull up the email and just click on the links. Saves typing time, and typo problems.

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NEXT PAGE: Do I have to reinstall every app I have on XP?

  1. Prepare your PC before you swap to Microsoft's new OS
  2. Will your software and peripherals run on Windows 7?
  3. Other locations to back-up your data
  4. Copying your browser's data
  5. Do I have to reinstall every app I have on XP?



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