If you are upgrading your computer from Windows XP to Windows 7, then go through the following important things.
- Backup the data: If you have more than one drive on your computer, then back up all your data to the non system drive(the non OS partitions). It’s recommended not to keep any data in the OS partition as it would simplify OS reinstall/upgrades in future. While installing you need to be careful not to format the data drives. If you have a single partition on your disk, then backup all the data to external storage like DVDs/external disk/USB. If these are not available to you now, then you can copy your data to MSN skydrive or Dropbox. If you choose custom installation without format, then data would not be deleted and would be copied to Windows.old folder. But I would suggest you to backup the data as any mistake in the installation process could cause data loss and would be irreversible.
- Save bookmarks and remembered passwords : Save IE/Firefox bookmarks files and the remembered passwords for websites. Or you can simply sync up all your Firefox settings to an online account. In Firefox, click on Tools -> Options -> Sync. This saves your bookmarks, passwords and your Firefox settings.
- Backup all your application data. Save all your application data and settings. For example, if you are using Putty connection manager, you need to back up the database file so that you need not create all the connections again in the Windows 7 OS. If you are using Visual Studio/Eclipse, then you need to back up all the data for your projects/workspace. Look at all the applications you installed in your system and make a note of the ones which need data/settings backup.
- Back up the software you downloaded. Save all the software you downloaded for your XP OS. Most probably the same software can be installed on Windows 7 also. Once your Windows 7 installation is over, you can install the software one by one and have all the required software ready for your use in short time. This will avoid the long download times for the same software.
- Decrypt files before installing Windows 7: Even if you are not going to format other drives during Win7 installation, files may still become inaccessible if you have encryption enabled on them. For decrypting the files, you would need a unique key which would be available only from the same XP OS using which you encrypted them. With Windows 7, you are going to overwrite the XP OS and so the files could not be decrypted from Windows 7. So disable EFS for all other drives before you start the installation. Even if you are going to keep XP OS, it’s still good to decrypt the files.
See the problem faced by others for not decrypting the files.