How to Upgrade From Older System to Windows XP

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Before you start

Objectives: Learn how to prepare for upgrading, which operating systems can be upgraded to Windows XP, and which tools and commands can be used to migrate files and settings from the old installation to the new one.

Prerequisites: you should know the specifics about each type of Windows installation.

Key terms: settings, files, transfer, computer, upgrade, installation, tool. folder, wizard. network

Types of Installation

As we already know, when installing Windows XP we can do a clean installation, an upgrade of existing operating system to XP, we can do a migration to Windows XP, or we can install Windows XP alongside an existing installation.

Upgrade to Windows XP

Before we do an upgrade to Windows XP, we should check to see if our system can support the upgrade. To check the compatibility we can run a special command which will do just that. This is done in command line when we boot our computer in DOS environment. The command to check for compatibility is “winnt32.exe /checkupgradeonly“. The results of the check are saved in the %systemroot%\upgrade.txt file.

One of the advantage of doing an upgrade is that it will preserve all user settings and files. This is great because we don’t have to configure our users again, we don’t have to install our applications again, etc. If we have to do a clean installation, there is a way to transfer all users settings and files from older (or simply another) installation. To do that we can use the tool “Files and Settings Transfer Wizard”. This is a GUI tool which we can use to select which files and which settings we want to transfer from the old system. Once we select them, we will be able to export them to some location. The location can even be a network share. Once we are done with the clean installation on our new system, we can import that data, and it will be as if we have done an upgrade to the new OS.

We can do the same thing by using the “scanstate” and “loadstate” commands. We use scanstate to save user settings from the original system, and we use the loadstate to restore user settings on the new system. By using scanstate we can export data to the network share.

Files and Settings Transfer Wizard

We can use this tool to migrate settings and data from 9x versions of Windows to Windows XP. To open this tool we can go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Files and Settings Transfer Wizard. The first thing that this tool will ask us is on which computer are we currently working on. We have two options: “New computer” and “Old computer”. New computer is the computer we want to transfer files and settings to, and the old computer is the source of that files and settings. In our case this is the old computer.

 Computer Options

Source or Destination Computer

When we click next, in our case we got a Firewall prompt. That’s because this tool tried to access network resources. We will select the “Unblock” option to allow this tool to access our network.

 Firewall Prompt

Firewall Prompt

After that we need to specify where do we want to save our settings and files and what will be the transfer method. Notice that some options are available and some are not. This depends on the current settings of our computer and the environment in which our computer resides. In our case we will simply save all data to the C:\Transfer folder. Later you will notice that the Wizard will create additional folder called USMT2.UNC inside of our Transfer folder.

 Transfer Method

Transfer Method

On the next sceen we need to select what do we want to transfer. We can choose to transfer only settings, only files, or both. Based on our selection, we can see what will be transferred on the right side of the window. Notice that we can also select a custom list of files and settings. In our case we will select the “Both files and settings” option.

 Files and Settings

Files and Settings Option

When this step is complete we can copy our folder where we have saved all our data (in our case C:\Transfer) to the new Windows XP installation. There we will run FaSTW and this time choose the “New computer” option.

 New Computer

New Computer

After that we need to specify the location of our files and settings. In our case we have already collected files and settings so we can choose the last option.



Next, we need to specify the location of the files and settings. In our case we have copied our Transfer folder to the C: drive, so the path is again C:\Transfer. This is the folder where our files and settings are located.



When we click next, the Wizard will start the transfer. When the whole process is complete we will have to log off for changes to take effect.

Supported Operating Systems

Not all operating systems are supported for the upgrade. Some operating systems may be supported but they require certain service pack to be installed. Operating systems which can be upgraded to Windows XP Professional are: Windows 98 (including SE), Windows ME, Windows NT 4.0 Workstation (with latest SP), Windows 2000 Professional and Windows XP Home Edition.

Author: cicnavi