You definitely want to make a full system backup before making these changes. A lot of folks like Acronis, but I had some really bad experiences with the 2010 version. I've been using Norton Ghost for the last 9 years without the first problem. Another one I've had good experience with in the last year is Easeus Todo Backup Free, which you can download from http://www.todo-backup.com/products/home/free-backup-software.htm . After making the backup, the best option in my opinion is to partition your hard drive and installing the Windows 7 upgrade in the new partition. This will give you dual boot of both XP and Windows 7 without destroying anything on the XP partition, and both partitions can access the same data.
I have checked my DELL Latitude 6500 laptop running WinXP Pro using the Windows 7 upgrade advisor tool, and everythihng is a go. I also know that I need to do a good backup of my critical files and the pictures I want to keep.
I have had many people tell me that before I make such a change in operating systems, do a backup first, because Windows 7 requires a clean startup, because there is no upgrade from XP to Win7.
Is there an easy way to keep these work related files, and .jpg pictures using a simpler backup process than the software backup program called Acronis?
I have also read that there is a program that will run at the same time as Windows 7, like a separate operating system called XP Mode. As I understand it, XP mode runs in a separate window on the Windows 7 desktop, much like a program, except it's a fully functional version of Windows XP. In Windows XP Mode, I think you can also access your computer's CD/DVD drive, install programs, save files, and perform other tasks as if you were using a computer running Windows XP.
I have a question:
I am not sure Acronis can be installed on this DELL Out-of-Warranty Win XP laptop, if I am currently using it for my desktop with Win 7 Ultimate. Once the critical files and .jpg photos are saved on an external hard drive, can I bring them back onto the laptop on the same harddrive with the new operating system Win 7 files, or do I need to partition the laptop harddrive, or does it matter if I use them with Win XP Mode?
Maybe my questions are more complicated than I think?
Thanks for any help you can send my way, or if you can point me to any locations that will answer my questions.