Practical Technology

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The easiest operating system to update is…


Over the weekend, I decided to see which of the major operating systems would be the easiest to update. The answer may surprise you.

First, I took several of my Windows systems and tried to upgrade them to Windows 7 Ultimate. It was… interesting.

With Windows XP, I found, as I expected, that there is no easy way to upgrade. The only way to do is what Microsoft calls a “custom install.” I, though, call it a cut and burn install. The be-all and end-all is that you have to let the Windows 7 installation DVD delete everything on your hard drive.

Microsoft provides a tool, Windows Easy Transfer, aka migsetup, on the DVD that will let you transfer files and settings to an external drive. This is a pain in the neck, but it does work. What it doesn’t do, however, is transfer programs, fonts, or drivers. So, once Windows 7 was setup, I had to reinstall every, last application, fonts and drivers. I found it hard to believe that a modern operating system actually made it so hard to upgrade it.

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