There’s still a vast number of machines out there running Windows XP, now ten years old. It may work, you may be comfortable with it, but it’s limited, far less secure and Microsoft is not going to support it forever.
What’s stopping you upgrading?
- Compatibility. If you can run Vista, you can run Windows 7; perhaps not fully-featured or fast. If you’re running Windows XP, check compatibility using the Upgrade Advisor.
- Do you have original product keys for your current operating system? Windows is getting picky about the things it will upgrade.
- Do you have a valid product key for your upgrade? You can check your product keys through the Microsoft site. Don’t fall for any pirate copies; Windows Upgrade won’t maintain them after the upgrade.
- Data backed up? Take a backup or a disk image before you start. I don’t know of any upgrade disasters with Windows 7, but don’t tempt fate.
- Have you ordered the Upgrade on DVD, in preference to a downloaded copy? I know optical media are going out of fashion, but if your upgrade goes wrong or you need to reinstall the OS at a future date, the DVD is still the safest and most reliable means. Even if you create a disk image on an external drive or USB stick. Keep the DVD in a safe place.
- Do you have original program disks or installable images? You won’t need them for the in-place upgrade, you will for a clean install or in the event of having to recover your system.
- Do you have time? The in-place upgrade takes less than two hours on decent hardware. The clean install could take all day, during which time you’re off-line and won’t be able to access data (see Data Backed Up, above). A spare machine to work on meanwhile is a good contingency.