Should I Upgrade XP to Windows 7?

Dear Computer Lady,

My husband and I have Windows XP and we have learned that it will not be supported by Microsoft after next April. We want to get Windows 7 on this computer.

Do you know if Microsoft will give us an upgrade? They have not been too forthcoming in replying to my emails.

Is is difficult to switch these 2 programs. What do you suggest we do?

Thank you for your assistance.
I love your emails! Regards, Linda

Dear Linda,

No, Microsoft won’t give you an upgrade, but you might still be able to purchase it in stores.

Before you do, however, you want to take a close look at your computer’s hardware. Ugrading hardware that was built for running Windows XP, to a newer OS that it was not made for, might cause all kinds of problems.

At the very least, you want to make sure that your computer has more than enough RAM, Processing power, and Hard Drive space to support Windows 7.

I say more than enough because the Windows 7 website says that it only needs 1 gigabyte (GB) of RAM, but it would run very slowly with anything less than 4GB.

You can look up all the system requirements at:

There are two ways to upgrade your system to Windows 7.

You can do an upgrade, which keeps all your files and programs, but it also keeps (and possibly magnifies) any problems you are having with your computer.

My preferred method is to erase the hard drive and do a clean install of Windows. This means you have to re-install your programs and drivers, and backup your files before the install and put them back on the computer afterward. The reason it is worth all the extra work is because all the problems the computer has developed over time will be gone, and it will work like it did when it was brand new.

Both methods are rather technical, and most people will find it difficult, however, it is something that most computer technicians like myself do frequently and are comfortable doing.

I would suggest that you continue to use XP for as long as you can, and when the time comes to upgrade, consider getting a new computer with either Windows 7 or Windows 8 on it. A new operating system installed on hardware that was meant for that OS is much more stable and trouble free than the new OS would be on older hardware.



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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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    • eldergeek
    • August 10, 2013

    The expense of new hardware can be a real financial burden for some folks. This might be a good time to look into Linux. Switching to a Long-Term-Support (LTS) version of Kubuntu, for example, isn’t too drastic a change for XP users who mainly use their computers for email and social media. My wife and I have been full-time Linux users for several years and are currently very happy with Kubuntu 12.04 LTS. As a general rule, any version of Linux will run faster than Windows on any given machine. If there’s not a Linux advocacy group near you to assist with the transition look for a Linux User Group in your area. Join their email list and/or attend one of their meetings. Chances are good they’ll be pleased to help you make the transition. I’ve personally assisted many Windows users make the transition to Linux by temporarily removing their Windows hard drive and replacing it with a good used hard drive before installing Linux. If, after giving Linux a fair trial, they aren’t happy with it, reinstalling the unaltered original hard drive puts them back on track with Windows. I’ve only ever encountered one person who wasn’t ultimately happier with Linux. It’s worth a try. 🙂

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