How To Upgrade Windows XP to Windows 7 In-place

There has been a lot of noise about the fact that Microsoft is not providing an in-place upgrade for Windows XP users to Windows 7.  This is ironic considering that during the Vista launch, I got laughed at every presentation for actually recommending an in-place upgrade to Vista.  No one believed me on how easy and flexible a Vista upgrade was.  People, instead, wanted to believe the tried and true mantra of rebuild and reinstall.  For business and enterprise, this method makes the most sense since user data typically sits off the actual computer.  With Windows 7, the likely reason that Redmond didn’t support an XP upgrade is due to the amount of validation and testing required to support it to Microsoft’s standards.  With such an aggressive schedule, my opinion is that those testing hours can be better utilized for other things like compatibility and performance.  Nevertheless, IT admins aren’t completely out of options.

Vista had many way to be deployed and in-place XP upgrades were one of them.  Because of the small number of core differences between Vista and Windows 7, it makes sense for IT pros who need to do an in-place upgrade, simply move to Vista first.  Sure this adds additional work, but if you are deploying correctly and according to best practices using our free deployment tools, then at most you are adding an addition 30-45 minutes to your migration process for the end-user.  A high level deployment process is as follows:

Deployment Procedure

  1. Audit XP environment with:
  2. prep Vista SP1 image and configure unattended install with WAIK 
  3. put script, image, and config information on a network share
  4. send email out to selected people that their machines have been chosen for an upgrade and ask to click on a network share install link.
  5. machine magically upgrades from XP to Vista with user state intact
  6. Now follow standard Windows 7 upgrade procedure outlined in MDT 2010 documentation.

Now this isn’t the recommended method to do this.  Typically Microsoft suggests that people use the User State Migration Toolkit (USMT) to save state and move user data to a clean install, but I find that this method requires a lot of testing and is only useful for truly large deployments.  One additional benefit of USMT is that it supports more legacy versions of the OS like Windows 2000 and prior.

What You Need to Download

  1. Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010 Beta 1 which includes:
    1. Application Compatibility Toolkit
    2. Windows Automated Install Kit
    3. User State Migration Toolkit
    4. MSXML 6.0
  2. Windows Vista Hardware Assessment
  3. Microsoft Assessment & Planning Toolkit

Good step by step guidance on using MDT 2010 Beta 1


Maybe I’m just naive but I don’t recall having an in-place Windows 2000 to Windows Vista upgrade, maybe I’m just getting old.  Anyone care to correct me?

Comments (4)

  1. Anonymous says:

    In my earlier article I discussed a strategy about how to upgrade Windows XP machines to Windows 7 using

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Viral!
    Thanks for procedure. I am trying to use this for inplace upgrade IBM X31 PC from XP SP3 to vista (and then to WIN7).
    However download links don’t seem available. Any suggestions?
    Br Peter

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the pingback!


  4. Anonymous says:

    Let me know how many customers you know actually do this.

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