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Windows XP Upgrade

February 15, 2015

What should I do with my Windows XP pro desktop, I asked myself.  It’s the only Windows machine on my home network.  I only used it occasionally, for software that only runs on Windows.  I used it to extract audio files from a casette tape, and to operate a slide scanner before that.  Now XP is no longer supported by updates from Microsoft.  Maybe I could upgrade it to a newer version of Windows?  I’d probably have to upgrade the hardware at the same time.  As I reviewed the upgrade costs, I soon found that path to be uneconomical.  What else could I do at a reasonable cost?

Replacing it is the usual solution.  People go out and buy a new computer when their old one stops working or becomes obsolete.  They get the latest Windows that way.  With my limited use, I really didn’t want a new one.  Then I hit on the idea of buying a refurbished computer.  It would come complete with a newer version of Windows.  All I had to do was to transfer all my files from the old one to the new one.  That sounded like a good path to follow.

I found a Canadian company that had a wide stock of refurbished business desktop computers, mostly from Dell and HP.  The prices were reasonable.  The one I chose had more memory and a faster CPU than my XP computer.  It was also newer and came with Windows 7 pro.  I ordered a small form factor HP model, just so I wouldn’t be getting another large box that was mostly empty.  I didn’t expect to add any components, but I was pleased to see that it had three low-profile PCI-E slots.

My new computer was shipped by UPS, arriving at my front door in about five days.  It included a keyboard and mouse.  The keyboard looked fine, although I didn’t use it.  The mouse, though, was smashed into many pieces.  I suppose I was unlucky, but I didn’t need another mouse.  The computer itself was in excellent condition.  It was about half the size of a conventional tower, but just as heavy.  It was quite easy to configure on my network.  Once I answered the usual questions that a new installation of Windows 7 asks, it was ready to go.

I used Windows easy file transfer to transfer files from my XP pro computer to my new Windows 7 pro computer.  The file transfer software was already present on Windows 7.  I had to download and install it on Windows XP.  I had already purchased a 32-gig flash drive to do the transfer, but I never needed it.  Both computers were connected to my home network.  Transfer using the network worked, so I used that instead.  It was pretty easy, although it did take several hours to copy 60 GB of data.  It copied all of my settings too.  My new computer looked just like the old one.  Even the SMB share from a non-Windows server on the network was there.

I’m quite impressed with the whole thing.  It couldn’t have gone more smoothly.  No doubt I’ll only use the new Windows 7 pro computer occasionally, just like the old one.  At least it will be supported with Microsoft updates for some time to come.  I shut down the XP pro computer almost immediately, and took it apart about a week later.  The replacement is complete!


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