Windows XP - Save your investment The true cost of upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7 may be more than meets the eye.
Microsoft discontinued Windows XP in October of 2010: Windows 7 the newest in a long line of Microsoft windows operating systems will eventually not only replace Windows Vista, which never was a success, but eventually will also replace windows XP as the dominant operating system.
Windows market share: At this time (March 2011) Windows XP still has about 60% of the Windows market share and has been in use since September of 2001. Windows 7 has 30%, Vista about 9% and all other versions about 1%. Assuming the current growth rate is sustained, Windows 7 will equal or overtake Windows XP leading share of the market in about 2 years.
Older applications and hardware: Not only is there an extremely long list of software and hardware that was developed for, successfully sold and used by countless windows XP users, but the list is still growing as almost all software vendors still include XP as one of the supported operating systems in their latest version or release. Even two years from now, no software vendor in their right mind would deliberately eliminate 40 to 50% of there market by creating or updating an application that no longer supports XP.
Hardware devices are an entirely different matter as most manufactures choose not to provide Windows 7 device drivers and or supporting software. Your once fully functional printer/scanner may be reduced to limited functionality or is simply not supported. Other hardware devices may also be relegated to the recycle bin. Keeping XP could save you the cost of replacing these devices.
My recent experience was replacing my old scanner with one that supported Windows 7. So I purchased one of those “All-In-One” units with a printer, scanner and copier. Found out my 10 year older printer is smarter, it can turn itself on when I click the ‘Print’ option in MS Office, the new unit requires me to walk over and turn the unit on manually and wait for an unusually long period before its ready to print. The scanner is even worse, oh yes its a higher resolution unit but the old scanner had software that had the familiar ‘File/Save’ option from which you could pick .BMP, .TIF, .PNG and .JPG formats and also change the color and resolution options on the fly. My new all-in-one has no file save option (missing in action). Turns out you need to create a series of shortcuts, each with it own preconfigured settings. So to make a long story short $500.00 for a high end unit that works in Windows 7 and XP but is dumber and less convenient to use. The old printer works in a limited fashion in Windows 7, but the old scanner is not Windows 7 compatible.
If you're anything like me, then you most likely have a number of older applications that you are unwilling to give up using and you should know in advanced that a number of these older applications may not run at all or are unsatisfactory in Windows 7’s or Windows 7’s XP mode.
Of course you can take that chance and upgrade Windows XP to Windows 7 and find out the hard way your favorite app no longer works (I should point out that there is a Windows 7 upgrade advisor which will help you determine whether your software is compatible or not, but it is not all-inclusive) and there may not be a replacement for or equivalent of the software you are now using for Windows 7.
Even if you are willing to take that chance and upgrade to Windows 7 by purchasing a retail “upgrade” version of Windows 7 professional (the least expensive version that supports windows XP mode), your total upgrade costs may be more than the sticker price of Windows 7. The true cost of upgrading also includes the cost of relinquishing your valuable XP license in order to be able to use the upgrade version of Windows 7.
The Total cost of an upgrade: $479.00 You may be shocked to find out that once Microsoft discontinued the sale of Windows XP, the price of any remaining copies of XP are now being sold at a premium. A search of dealers who still have XP available for sale shows that the average cost of purchasing windows XP is currently about $300.00 for an unopened “Full” (not an upgrade version or OEM version) retail boxed product. Add to that the cost of an upgrade version of Windows 7 ($179.00 on Amazon.com) and you are now at $479.00.
After installing the Windows 7 Professional “upgrade” you now have only one remaining version of Windows, which of course is Windows 7 Pro, the XP operating system and license being subsumed during the upgrade process and is no longer usable. Next, your old and trusty Windows XP applications will need to be reinstalled after upgrading to Windows 7. Some may work perfectly fine, others may have minor issues and some will not work at all, forcing you to find a replacement.
Finding a replacement for or upgrading to a version of the software you are currently using in Windows XP will only add more $$ to the cost of moving from XP to Windows 7.
How to save your investment: Create a “Dual Boot” computer. Dual-boot computers allow you to keep Windows XP and install Windows 7 side-by-side. Simply put, when you boot your computer you now have the choice of loading Windows XP or Windows 7.
The Advantage and total cost of a Dual Boot computer: $330.00 The obvious advantage is that your older programs, hardware and games can still be used when you boot to Windows XP, and you will not be forced to reinstall your applications in Windows 7 if you took the XP to Windows 7 upgrade path.
The other advantage is that over time as you purchase new applications they can be installed in Windows 7 and some even allow you to install the application multiple times on a single computer, to clarify, that means the application can be installed both in Windows XP and Windows 7.
Data files created in Windows XP and Windows 7 can be shared by storing them in a common and separate partition on the hard drive. At some point in time when you find you no longer need Windows XP there are many documented methods that will show you how to delete XP, still be able to boot to Windows 7 and reclaim the space once used by XP to make it available for use by Windows 7.
So you ask, how much will “Dual Booting” cost me: The only cost involved is that you now have to purchase a full and not an upgrade version of Windows 7 Professional. If you find you have no need for Windows XP mode, then the cost can be reduced slightly by purchasing a full version of Windows 7 home premium.
For this article I am also going to add the cost of a new and larger hard drive, since it is logical to assume the drive you are currently using with your Windows XP based computer may be more than a few years old, not as fast as nor as large as the currently available drives on the market. Item number one - Windows 7 professional, full retail product: $265 Item number two - New hard drive, Western Digital 500 GB Caviar Blue: $40.00 Optional hard drive - Western Digital 640 GB Caviar Black: $65.00 Total Cost: $305.00 to $330.00 (substitute optional drive)
How much did I save: $149.00 to $174.00 You get to keep Windows XP and also have a full version of Windows 7 Professional plus a new hard drive.
Windows XP will still be around for several years and when you reach at a point in time that you finally decide you no longer need XP I'm sure there will still be a market for it and someone who is willing to buy your used version of XP for a decent amount of money. After all, an operating system that has been in use and sold for nine years besides being Microsoft's most popular version of Windows ever, is not about to disappear overnight no matter how successful Windows 7 may be.
Next I’ll show you how to move Windows XP to that new and larger hard drive and install Windows 7. ----->