How to Upgrade to Windows 7

Whether you're moving from Vista or from XP, we'll help you get up and running on Windows 7 without headaches.

Some More Steps and Tweaks

With Windows 7 up, lean back and admire the new look. It's really quite lovely.

Unless, of course, the resolution is too low and all the objects on screen too big. If that's the case, right-click the desktop and select Screen resolution to fix the problem. You may have to do this again after reinstalling your video drivers, but you might not and it's easy enough to do twice.

Check the lower right corner (where the system tray used to be) for a flag icon. If you see it, click it for a problem report. It will probably just tell you that you need antivirus software (you know that) and that Windows Defender has yet to scan your computer. But it might give you some actual, useful advice.

With that taken care of, it's time to deal with your drivers. If you did an upgrade install from Vista (the only version you can do that from), you'll probably just check Device Manager and discover that everything is fine. If you did a clean upgrade from Vista, any problems you encounter should be easy to fix. But if you started with XP, expect some major challenges.

However you upgraded, select Start, type device manager, and press Enter. Do the following for any item accompanied by a yellow exclamation point: Double-click the item, then click the Update Driver button. Select Search automatically for updated driver software and wait for the results. Hopefully, that will fix the problem.

If it doesn't, and you did a clean install from Vista, click the Update Driver button again. This time, click Browse my computer for driver software. For the path, enter C:\Windows.old\Windows, make sure that Include subfolders is checked, then click Next. Chances are, this will work.

Why? Because along with your data, the installation program moved all of your Windows files to C:\Windows.old--including all, or at least most, of your old drivers. But the installation program doesn't know enough to look for drivers where it put them.

This won't work if you upgraded from XP, even though the old drivers are still in subfolders of C:\Windows.old. Windows XP drivers aren't compatible with Vista.

So what can you do about drivers if you upgraded from XP? Before you go any further, install and update your security software--antivirus, firewall, and so on. You're about to do some heavy Web surfing, and you need protection.

Then go back to the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor and look up the device there. If that doesn't help, search on the device name and Windows 7 driver. Or even the device name and Vista driver.

If you did an upgrade install, you're pretty much done, although you should skip down to "Final Touches" below for additional advice. But if you did a clean install, you still have work to do.

And your first job is to reinstall all of your programs. I told you to gather them up before the upgrade; now it's time to dig into that pile. The downloaded files, which I told you to store in a subfolder of My Documents, is now in a subfolder or C:\Windows.old\Documents and Settings\logon\My Documents.

Start with your security software, if you haven't installed it already. Do the others in any order. Make sure you have the licenses and product IDs handy. And as soon as a program is installed, check for updates.

You created a logon for yourself near the end of the installation, but if other people use your PC and have had their own log-ons in the past, you'll need to re-create them. If you can't remember all the user names, use the folders inside c:\windows.old\users (c:\windows.old\documents and settings if you upgraded from XP) as a reference. To create user log-ons, select Start, Control Panel, and click Add or remove user accounts.

You don't have to create a Public or shared account. It's already there.

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