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Changing OS from ME to XP

by e.yau / July 25, 2006 3:21 PM PDT

My grandmother has a Compaq Presario, P4, 512ram. She now has a copy of XP home and asked me to change her OS. Can anybody tell me how to do this please? I do want to save what she has on her computer before I change to XP but I don't know what to do. Please help? Thanks.

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Answer with a question...
by PKsteven / July 25, 2006 6:13 PM PDT

What kind of a copy? Store bought, made copy from someone, this makes a difference.



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me to xp
by e.yau / July 27, 2006 3:10 AM PDT

She has the store bought CD copy of XP. I guess I just don't know how to back up the hard drive and then insert the cd to download XP. Thanks for your help.

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by PKsteven / July 27, 2006 3:04 PM PDT
In reply to: me to xp

Hello again, well if there is no CD burner in the PC, your options are extremely limited. I will only tell you what I "think" may be the best or only route for you to take.

First, you can buy a CD or DVD burner. I have seen them (CD burners) as cheap as 25.00. You could always throw one in for future use as well. DVD burners are a bit more but have also seen them as cheap as 40 bucks, depending on sales\rebates, etc...I got mine, combo CD\DVD +\-R for 49 bucks with rebate, runs great.
You can also take yours out and temporarily install it on your grandmother's pc to back up info.
Another way may be to use a USB storage device if you have one and she has working USB ports.
You may also bring your pc to her house, and network the two for file sharing in order to transfer the files to your pc.
You may also buy a hard drive which are also getting cheaper and put it in as a slave on the pc but without and OS and move all files to it.
You can get a usb external drive or buy a thumb drive or USB storage device to hold and transfer files.
You can also buy 250,000 floppys and take 6 months to copy all the info. (not a real good idea.)
These are the best ways I can see for you to acomplish your back up task. Even taking it to a local repair shop costs $$$ to get the info off. My highest recommendation is to buy a burner and some CDs or DVDs or both. DVD will hold 4.7 gigs and CDs typically 700 to 800 mb. Obviously DVD is better in respect to large storage.
Also,if you want to know how to back up favorites, read here as XP is far easier with the export tool but ME doesn't have this...

If you want to back up email settings and everything from outlook express, etc..

It works wonders. I just began using it and it even restores all my settings at the click of a button. If you would like a free backup program after all is said and done or even perhaps now, go to ,,,

The backup is free for life as is the firewall, anti-virus, spam stopper, so if you need some free programs to get you started with the new install I highly suggest getting these. They are free FULL versions and you register once and that's it. I use them so I know they are good and wouldn't suggest so if they weren't. They also have a friendly forum if you get stuck on a product and free tech support.

As far as backing up most other files , like picture files, would normally burn them as data to a disk, no special needs, typically drag n drop or select from a list. You can do this with files\folders\pictures, etc...

I hope this helps a little,


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by Paul C / July 25, 2006 7:32 PM PDT

Comicfan's suggestion is good. Make sure that the copy of XP you'll be using is a valid, genuine one, OK?

The first thing you should do is make sure that all the personal files that are on the computer to be upgraded (documents, bookmarks, media files) are copied over to removable media (a CD should be good). That way, if something fails, those files won't be lost.

Then, read the instructions at in full before starting the upgrade install. NOTE: What is described is an upgrade; if you want to reformat and do a clean install (which usually works better), read .

If you have any questions, ask here or somewhere else before you start! Once you've started, you're committed.

HTH, Paul

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me to xp
by e.yau / July 27, 2006 3:26 AM PDT
In reply to: Reply:

Paul, thanks so much for the link you gave me. I read over it and can follow it pretty well.

I know I need to copy her bookmarks, etc., however she doesn't have a cd burner on her computer but I do. Is there any way for me to do this for her? In this situation I am at a loss. I just don't understand how it would work.

Thanks again for the help.

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by Paul C / July 29, 2006 7:06 PM PDT
In reply to: me to xp

Right above my post, Comicfan posted a lot of good info; right below it, Grif posted more good info. Use both of them.

Coimicfan alluded to networking two computers to transfer files. I believe that he is referring to the Windows XP Files and Settings Transfer Wizard. You can get a how to for that at .

I believe that you have all the info that you'll need now. Good luck!


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Also Remember To Download ALL Hardware Drivers First..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 26, 2006 11:20 AM PDT

That is IF they exist... With older Windows 98/ME machines, there may NOT be drivers for all devices. Make sure before upgrading.. XP will require updated drivers for all the hardware.. Video card, audio, ethernet, dial-up modem, motherboard, everything... You'll need to find and save all those drivers BEFORE installing XP.. After the computer is upgraded to XP, install the updated drivers..

Hope this helps.


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me to xp
by e.yau / July 27, 2006 3:42 AM PDT

When you say download the drivers do you mean to go to the websites of each product and find the drivers? Am I burning these to cd? I'm sorry, I don't really understand the process.

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Yep, Burn The Drivers To A CD
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 27, 2006 5:53 AM PDT
In reply to: me to xp

If the computer is a brand name machine, you should be able to visit the manufacturer's website and download, then save the appropriate Windows XP drivers. If not a brand name or if there are no XP drivers for the computer, oon Windows ME, access the Device Manager display. (RIGHT click on "My Computer", choose "Properties", then click on the "Device Manager" tab.) Once there, find and write down the EXACT names of the various devices listed, primarily audio, video, ethernet, modems, etc. and write down the driver date and driver version numbers. You should then be able to visit the device manufacturer's website and download the updated drivers from there..

Unfortunately, you might find a situation where there are no updated device drivers for Windows XP.. There are some hardware types that were not compatible with XP but you'll need to check.

Hope this helps.


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Dont TAke This the wrong way
by Marti Gill / July 28, 2006 2:55 AM PDT
In reply to: me to xp



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by PKsteven / July 28, 2006 4:33 AM PDT

THERE IS NO NEED TO TYPE IN CAPS, THIS IS CONSIDERED RUDE AND YELLING. I for one, do NOT like upgrade versions and they are not for everyone or that's all anyone would buy. While I see your point about being cheaper like mentioned, it's not for everyone.


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me to xp
by e.yau / July 29, 2006 6:11 AM PDT

One more thing Seth...I believe I am on the computer newbies forum.

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by Scrotes4Life / July 27, 2006 7:32 AM PDT

If this is an upgrade edition, you will have the option of saving the files upon installation. At least I did, when I upgraded my neice's PC from Me to XP.

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me to xp
by e.yau / July 29, 2006 6:15 AM PDT
In reply to: OPTIONS TO SAVE

My grandmother bought this cd herself at an office supply store. I haven't had a chance to see the disc yet so I don't know which version she has. I am trying to find out everything I need to know in advance so that when I start I will know what I am doing.

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Changing OS from ME to XP
by ciggieoxo / July 27, 2006 9:56 PM PDT

Does she *really* need XP? What does she need to do using XP that she cannot do with ME? Sell the XP purchase and do not tempt fate by installing XP unless it's a ''must have'' for her work/play on her PC.

Perhaps it would be more utile to add an inexpensive DVD/CD R-W Drive.

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me to xp
by rgh05s / July 27, 2006 10:16 PM PDT

I agree. I continue to run ME with few problems. Only encountered a few software progs that wont work under ME.
I suggest waiting for stable Vista version to upgrade.

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Waiting for Vista?
by PKsteven / July 28, 2006 4:27 AM PDT
In reply to: me to xp

You may be waiting a looong time for a stable version. The person in question may in fact be a grandma themselves by that time. If you have encountered little problems with ME, then you should also buy a lottery ticket with that kind of luck.
Vista may become many things from here on but waiting for it doesn't seem like a viable thing to do. It may be quite some time before it becomes or EVER becomes stable. I doubt the compaq will handle Vista very well anyway.


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by PKsteven / July 28, 2006 4:21 AM PDT

can you do with XP that you can't with ME? For one, have a stable operating system among a hundred other things. SELL the XP?? Who is going to buy it? They would be losing money.
Do not tempt fate? No offense it's an OS install not a world leader conference. Unless it's a must have? Perhaps it's a "want to have" and if they want XP, what's wrong with that? ME isn't even an OS in my eyes. The adding DVD\CD was already mentioned. Don't get me wrong as I am not attacking you here but this is more of an opinion and they want to know HOW to do something.


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me to xp
by e.yau / July 29, 2006 6:18 AM PDT
In reply to: What??

Thanks Paul. Yes, it is a "want to have", not a need.

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"want to have" comicfan is absolutely right
by ciggieoxo / July 29, 2006 7:15 PM PDT
In reply to: What??

"Perhaps it's a 'want to have' and if they want XP, what's wrong with that?"

I agree with Paul (comicfan).

Nothing at all is wrong with that.The question about her Grandmother being able to live with ME sounded like somethings I have had to address with my 83 year old mother. I know grandmothers can be computer gurus and these days grandmothers can be comparitively young.

Still in my case with my mother, she only used her computer for: email and making greeting cards.

She would hear about latest computer something and then she would want it. It was silly for her to pay for most things since any Microsoft OS could handle email and greeting cards.

In my case with my mother, I would always ask her what she wanted to do that she couldn't do with her current set up. Usually the answer was nothing. Many times she'd ask me AFTER she already had another geriatric friend mess around with things that later I would have to undo.

You are absolutely correct in writing "Perhaps it's a 'want to have' and if they want XP, what's wrong with that?" **I agree with you**. In this case I was addressing the problem as more of a social issue than a technological issue.

By the way, the older you get, the less important are lifetime guarantees. ::grin::

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ME to XP
by Frankdal25 / August 9, 2006 2:20 AM PDT

Hi Gailforce, I recently changed from ME to XP Pro. ME crashed continually so I purchased XP Pro from Tiger Direct. First of all back up on CDs or DVDs all of your folders in My Documents,My Pictures and any other folders and files on your PC that you wish to keep. You do not have to save your programs onto a disk. You can install the programs after installing the XP OS. When installing the new XP OS make certain that you boot your PC from the CD disk. The easiest way to do this is to continually press the enter key when your PC is first turned on. You must boot up from the XP CD in order to properly format your hard drive when installing the new OS. Follow the instructions given by the XP CD and you will install the new OS easily. I have a scanner and a printer that are 5 years old and I downloaded the new drvers from HP and Visioneer with no problems. I am very happy with the XP OS and I am just an average Joe with computers. Hope this helps.

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Hope this helps!
by e.yau / August 9, 2006 3:33 PM PDT
In reply to: ME to XP

Yes Frank. Your answer made a lot of sense to me. I am getting ready to try this out this weekend.

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A simple way do save your data from current disk
by satishkhode / July 28, 2006 12:37 AM PDT

Move out the existing hard disk from your Compaq PC, buy a new one and connect it.

Then, install Xp as usual. After completed, insert back the old hard disk into the PC as slave. Then you can read back all the work your grandmother done.

I believe you don't need to download any drivers for Copmpaq as Xp default can handle it well. May be some....


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Slaving away
by daChief / July 28, 2006 1:04 AM PDT

I agree with this method, specifically because it is the method I used. It has the advantage of creating a dual-boot system, in the event that there are non-XP-compatible devices: they can still be used in the ME environment of the old HDD.
When you're satisfied that the machine is working properly with the new OS, you can then format the old HDD and use it as expanded storage.

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by PKsteven / July 28, 2006 4:13 AM PDT

as I did state this already in my reply by putting another hard drive in as a method but not with two OSs. Not sure if either could handle having two OSs on the pc, may in fact be confusing for them.
Second, XP doesn't handle all drivers and there will be driver downloads needed.


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About drivers and two OS
by satishkhode / July 28, 2006 3:43 PM PDT
In reply to: Maybe...

I don't know what kinds of drivers you are missing, most of the common drivers can be handled by Xp, update Xp SP2 may a little help.

For early Xp version, the major problems are the mainboard chip INF file, VGA driver and sound card.

Check your hardware device in control panel, if there is any "question" icon, record down and go search from internet to get the latest drivers or go directly to the manufacturer web site. But do alert that there is possibilities no Xp OS drivers if the hardwares are old enough.

Anyway, there is no way fpr you to skip the above procedures because Xp is not a superman, it can't do everything for you. Some kinds of headache for newbie...

For two OS, since your existing hardware already fully occupied by WinME, add a new hard disk into your PC, boot up Xp install CD , when it prompts you where to install, select the new hrad disk and go on rest of the steps. After Xp is installed and computer boot up, a config menu will prompt you select which OS you want to start, you can pick WinME or XP either.

Note: If you format the new Xp partition in NTFS format, start WinMe can not see it, therefore, during Xp installation, do not format as NTFS. If your new hard disk is not more than 20G, Xp only allows you format FAT32, and that's OK for both OS to see each other.

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Missing driver...
by PKsteven / July 28, 2006 10:27 PM PDT

Windows may in fact fill the driver gap and I don't deny that, however, many times the device in question will not work as it should, and the correct drivers will need to be placed. So I understand what you mean, but as stated in many cases windows drivers are a temporary until you can update\download the correct one.


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Missing drivers
by satishkhode / July 29, 2006 10:00 PM PDT
In reply to: Missing driver...

Device with question mark tells you Xp only install the last driver which is known to it. Sure this only proide the basic operation.

Since your PC is Compaq, go to HP web site for your model, you may try the URL below:

If you still can not find the suitable drivers, send email to HP support.

But if your Compaq is to old enough and no more new drivers are released. Consider my suggestions:
1. Let the WinME alive although Microsoft no longer support, but microsoft web site still has existing patches for WinMe.
2. Find out which devices in question mark and you can not find the lastest driver for Xp, if the device is on board, disable it, the device is stand alone, remove it. Then buy a new device (I means the interface crad, e.g. VGA card, Network card etc), new one will contains proper Xp drivers.

DIY needs to try-on-error in order to get technical knowledge and experience, it's a long way to run.


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Only takes a bit of time- you can do it....
by adkmom / July 28, 2006 8:23 AM PDT

Hi "Gail"-

If you're semi-PC literate (you don't give your own experience) it isn't a huge ordeal- just some details you'll need to keep track of...

First of all- you do NOT want to install XP on top of ME- I don't care what anyone else has to say on that. ME uses an older file system (FAT32) that is not what XP was meant to run on- & it also causes more "slack" or unusable space on the hard drive (& is less secure) than the default XP file system (NTFS).

If you know how to view files in My Computer, you can drag the data off to a thumb drive or CD, assuming she has a burner.

Getting to the address book & mail accounts is trickier- & depends on what she uses for her email...

The process is much better if you can have a geek there with you- the 1st time around. If you need a hand-holding, get me at adkmom*at* & I'll help.

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After I upgrade to XP from Me I have 3 Partions!
by alandobson / July 28, 2006 11:33 AM PDT

Ok I had Windows Me I was sick of it crashing on me. So I went on ahead an upgrade it to Windows 2000 Pro it would not work then I went on ahead and install the Xp and it work. Now my qq is this I have 3 Partions now and it will not let me delete out the Windows Me and the Windows 2000 at all. So the Xp works ok on my system. I do not like it cause it has way too many folders that is duplicated for some unknown reasons. Xp makes you go thru all of these folders to find your cookies and what not to delete out. To me its too much work. So now I have another tower a new one and I am goin to wipe out the hard drive smoke it and put it in the new tower so there is 2 hard drives and take my ram too and add to what its in the new one.

The old tower I have is the Compac Presario and my new one is a Compac Presario as well. Yes, I have cd burner on this old one to do my own back up as well and the new too and the DVD too.

I have the Belarc on my system to tell me anything to whether to upgrade the Ram or any other thing that needs to be on here and what is wrong with the pc within its self.

The Xp Pro to me is hard to understand to regulate and to use in my own opinon. I have trouble finding things in folders like windows and the stuiped thing called winne parts of XP! You have to go and fish out to delete out crap that needs to be deleted out. To me XP Pro in my opinon is crap. I do not care if its suppose to be stabled or what not. Who came up with this must not thought the thinking process throughly at all.

On my new tower I am not installing the XP Pro at all I am going back to Windows 2000 period at least you can handle in the system folders an where to go and its easy to access and delete out what you have to instead of fishing and what not.

Do not say to read book either that is in another language that does not make sense at all they do not explain nothing to where you can understand it. Then you call them to ask them qq an they make you out like an idiot and they them selves can not explain it either. To me it comes with experiences with crashing and knowing your own computer and how it runs and what to do about it.

Anyways its own opinon on the XP Pro. I really have issues with the XP Pro even though when something is not running an it stops then you have to wait for another box to appears click it out then more comes even though you are running one program ackkkkkk what a bite that is! Then you have to reboot! I will be glad to get rid of this program and never have it again! That is my two cents worth!

Mary Johnson

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