How should I upgrade my hard drive at the same time I upgrade to Windows 7?__

I plan to upgrade my laptop from Win XP Pro to Win 7 Pro and want to at the same time upgrade my hard drive. I don’t know what I should do to ensure that the Win 7 install program recognizes the prior Win XP installation.

Would it work to put the old (Win XP) drive in an external enclosure connected via USB? Alternatively, what would I need to copy from the old hard drive to the new in order to have the Win 7 install recognizes   Win XP? Thanks.


Question Info

Last updated March 20, 2018 Views 940 Applies to:
To go from Win XP Pro to Win 7 Pro you have to do a custom clean install, you can't do an in place upgrade. You will need to install the new hard drive into your computer, install and activate Windows XP on it, then use the upgrade disk to install Windows 7.

With your old hard drive still in your computer:
Run Windows Upgrade Advisor ( ) to see if there are any known issues that might affect the installation and whether you should install the 32 or 64 bit version of Windows 7.

Save your files and settings on an external hard drive using Windows Easy Transfer ( If you don't have an external hard drive you won't be able to use Windows Easy Transfer. Alternatively, you can copy files you want to keep on a USB flash drive, CDs, or DVDs.

You'll need to manually reinstall your programs, such as Microsoft Office, after you install Windows 7. Gather the installation discs for your programs and any associated product/license keys. You might be able to download some programs from the Internet. For example, Windows Live Messenger can be installed from

After Windows 7 is installed, use Windows Easy Transfer to restore your files and settings

Have Questions About Installing Windows 7? Read This:
FAQ - Common Windows 7 Installation Questions & Answers
MCC 2011


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