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What's the best method to upgrade from Windows XP to 10?


What's the best method to upgrade from Windows XP to 10?

Hello, I have a few questions regarding a Windows upgrade, that I hope the community could help me sort out. I have a notebook (a small 10-inch PC) still running on Windows XP Home. This PC is used only occasionally, but my plan is to start using it more and I would like to upgrade the operating system before I do that.

I believe that the notebook hardware fulfills the system requirements for Windows 10 as well as Windows 8.1, but of course I cannot be 100 percent sure. If possible I would like to upgrade Windows XP to 10. How should I proceed to make this upgrade? Should I do it in two separate steps, first upgrade Win XP to Win 8.1 and then to Win 10? Or is there a way to make the upgrade directly from XP to Windows 10 and how would I do that?

Another question: Which Windows, 8.1 or 10 puts the toughest requirements on the hardware? Now let's assume the worst-case scenario, that my notebook with Win XP cannot meet the either system requirements for an upgrade. What can I do with the notebook?

My best regards.

--Submitted by: Hakan

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Flog your XP machine and buy a Windows 10.


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That does not answer the question

A pointless reply, a waste of time response

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But if you read other posts in this thread,

then you will see that "upgrading" from XP to Windows 10 will fail.

Installing Windows 10, (that is, removing XP entirely then installing Windows 10 as a fresh and clean, new install), seems to be the only alternative.

However, since most XP machines are now likely to be 10 to 15 years old, hardware problems are most likely going to compromise the install. It will fail.

So, Dafydds answer, as unpalatable as it may seem to some, is really the most direct answer.


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Just saying what most are thinking Mark.

Why go to the trouble of tinkering with such an old machine? If it was just a see if it works thing fine, but for a workaday machine no. Time to move on folks.

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Win10 on an old laptop might not be good value, but . . .

. . . "Flog your XP machine . . . simples" is quite facile.
If his machine really were as worthless as implied, then how on earth would it ever be saleable? It's pretty clear that OP's 10" netbook is not a workaday machine. Nevertheless, he would like to use it, not dump it as intimated by so many answers.

"upgrading" from XP to Windows 10 . . . will fail."
It might have been wiser to have inserted the word "probably".
A re-install of XP is probably the best all round solution to extend its useful life and that is what I would do. However, if OP still has XP disks, then no harm in trying out Win10 (if you really think it worth investing that much money in an old machine) and, if it fails, then revert to a fresh install of XP. Almost anything is better than just dumping it.

Between us, my wife and I have two netbooks and three desktops , all running XP very well and all are 3 to 6 years old. I guarantee we will not be either dumping them (along with a huge amount of incredibly useful software) or trying to sell them. What an incredible waste!

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More Helpful

Would it have been better if he said that Microsoft does NOT provide an upgrade path from Windows XP to Windows 10? or even to Windows 7? As others have pointed out, the best "upgrade" procedure is to first run compatibility tests and then flatten (i.e., reformat) the system drive. I don't think that it is what the OP was asking for. Also, there will be driver issues that must be addressed to see if the OEM hardware can be run on Win 10. That is, if Win 10 drivers are available. I know they are not available for my ACER netbook.

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More Helpful

Would it have been better if he said that Microsoft does NOT provide an upgrade path from Windows XP to Windows 10? or even to Windows 7? As others have pointed out, the best "upgrade" procedure is to first run compatibility tests and then flatten (i.e., reformat) the system drive. I don't think that it is what the OP was asking for. Also, there will be driver issues that must be addressed to see if the OEM hardware can be run on Win 10. That is, if Win 10 drivers are available. I know they are not available for my ACER netbook.

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Haven't read of such an upgrade.

It reads to me that you want to have such without you doing the work of checking on drivers and apps for this un-known laptop.

That said, everyone has a ready backup so why not test install Windows 10 today? You don't need a license to do this and since all Windows users know that it's so fragile we all keep a full backup and disaster plan. Here's a recent post where I share how to get a full Windows 10 download (no license but we don't need that yet.)


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XP to Windows 10

If your machine is that old it may not be a good cadidate for Windows 10. I havee. 5 yr old HP that came with Windows 7, and cannot be upgraded, lack of drivers. I brought it to Microsoft and they couldn't do it. Maybe buy a copy of Windows 7, probably 32 bit, unless you have a lot of memory, 4 GB or more, and load that in. You can try to upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7, but if that fails, Windows 7 is still very good and will be supported another 5 yrs.i am running Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 on 3 different machines. There's not much Windows 10 can do that the others can't.

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Upgrade to 10 probably will not work on that system

Most likely that system does not meet the requirements of Windows 10, the requirements for WinXP were half of what is required for 7, 8/8.1, 10. It is best to just get a new system that is already loaded with 10, with back to school specials currently the rave, you could probably get a pretty good deal. Also, you cannot do a upgrade jump from XP to 10, the upgrade will only work on 7 and 8.1. You have to upgrade 8 to 8.1 before you can upgrade to 10.

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Windows 10 upgrade

Here is a link to the Win 10 upgrade on an Atom powered (Acer Aspire),

My best guess is that downloading the ISO from Microsoft would be the best way to upgrade. Last I heard is that XP does not get the free upgrade, but that may have changed. Install from the DVD made from the .iso Windows 10 disk (32 bit) (To do this skip the request for a license key as the install happens.) At the end of the installation you need to will need to activate and it and if it won't let you, then you need a license. You can get it from Microsoft on line or better deals can be had through local "built it yourself" dealers.

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XP to 10

save yourself - go from XP to Linux Mint !
get out of the MS traps and cash flow.

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Agreed. I use Mint Linux after XP too.

Less learning curve from XP to Mint Linux than from XP to Windows 10!

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Steep Win 10 Learning Curve

I agree with James Denison: I was a Windows 10 "Insider" tester, starting about 10 months before the release date -- it defiantly had a learning curve (however, some if the issues were based on my limited Windows 8.1 experience).

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(NT) I concur.
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I agree with tedlks -- go with Mint !

I agree with tedtks ... I have three windows 10 machines: a six-year-old Samsung laptop with an Intel I5 processor; a 7-year-old custom machine with a quad processor Intel Core (something?); and a Dell Optiplex 745, about 10 years old, with a Intel Core 2 Duo processor. All work fine for what I do (office chores + web development). I don't do games. I also have a HP Mini 1030NR "netbook" with a small screen and very small processor. It worked OK with XP (which came with it) and sorta OK with Windows 7, but I put it aside for a while and later tried several Ubuntu variations. I then erased the machine and used the Windows 7 license to upgrade my Optiplex. The HP netbook sits with a wiped hard disk (really a SSD on this machine, as I recall) waiting for time to put Linux Mint on it. I have Mint on an old Dell laptop junker, and am quite pleased with it. I'm reasonably certain the Linux Mint will be a good fit on the netbook when loaded with Libra Office and Thunderbird. That will give me all the apps I would dare to run on it. I did load Photoshop when it was under Windows 7, but it was to sluggish, and I immediately took it off. It is good for casual browsing and light office tasks, but nothing more.

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Running Mint on older machine. House Plan = Dump Microsoft.

I've got Mint installed. It's nice.

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Too big of a leap?

Going from WinXP to Win7 worked well on my ancient MPC laptop, although I installed Win7 in another partition so I have a dual boot (WinXP/Win7) computer. I can still read files off the XP partition from applications on the 7 partition, so using old data files doesn't seem to be an issue.

The only problem is the fact that the old machine is slow - single core CPU, 2 GB RAM that can't be expanded, PATI hard drive - but it will still run. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the 7 installation loaded drivers that work with the old hardware, and I then did some online investigation to find more up-to-date drivers!

However, jumping all the way to Win10 may be too much of a leap to make if your machine is too old. You may go the route I did by installing Win10 in another partition (if you have enough hard drive space), booting in that OS, and seeing what happens. The worst thing that would happen is it won't boot at all, and if that happens, reboot into the XP partition and delete the 10 partition to recover that space.

Don, y'all

Post was last edited on August 21, 2015 10:29 AM PDT

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Windows 10 upgrade failures on older HP laptops.

I tried upgrading two older (7 to 8 years old) HP laptops without success. One is a HP DV4 1551us with Windows 7 Home Premium, 64 bit 8GB RAM. I got the message that Windows 10 upgrade was unsuccessful and it uninstalled. I tried updating Windows with all recommended and optional updates three more times before trying to upgrade to Windows 10. No success. The other was an HP DV6 1200t, 32 bit machine. I even tried to upgrade Windows 7 Ultimate to the 64 bit OS first with no success. Eight other machines (5 years old or newer) upgraded flawlessly in both English and Portuguese.

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try manufacturers website

go to the manfacturers website and see if it has the drivers for the os you want to upgrade to. If not, then don't upgrade. One thing to note, it is harder to upgrade a laptop/notebook/netbook than it is for a desktop. In order to fit everything in a small case there are hardware modifications which require speciality drivers that is only available from the manufacturer. In addition, IMO, it would be a waste of money to upgrade to win8 or 10 if you get the os legitimately. the os would cost more than your notebook is worth.

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Sounds Like an Older Machine

There are several issues here. First, this sounds like an older computer. Just because Microsoft says that the base hardware is supported, that doesn't mean that Windows 10 will run very well. We usually get two lists for any OS (and many items of software). One is the minimum requirement and the second is the "suggested" configuration.

You probably know that there is no "upgrade" path from Windows XP to Windows 7 or 8 (or probably 10), right? You would have to format the system partition and reload the software. The other downside to what you want to do is that you will need to go to the website for the make and model of your notebook and get the Windows 10 drivers. They would also need to be the same bit length as the OS that you are going to install. So, if you are planning on going to Win 10 32-bit, you will need the Win 10 32-bit drivers and, if you wanted to go to 64-bit , you will need the Win 10, 64-bit drivers. All may be available on the OEM website. In my case, I also have an old ACER netbook that won't run anything beyond XP so I'm not going to try. (I heard some of the same model were later available with the "sample version" on Win 7).

Also, the "free" upgrade to Win 10 is only available to users of Win 7 and higher, not XP.

So, to get away from my negativity, here is what I would suggest. Microsoft usually has a compatibility checker for each new OS. You should run that and see what it says for the Windows 10 checker. The next thing I would suggest is to make sure you have a FULL backup of your current system preferably with backup software that has a boot-able CD image to be able to completely restore your system. Then, at least, you can try things out and be able to completely restore your system. As for your "other" software, I'd make sure you have the install CD/DVD media but, there is no guarantee that software designed for XP will run on Windows 10 at all.

So, to summarize, even though your base hardware may be compatible according to what you read, you may need a bit "more" oomph to run well on a newer OS. The key is going to be if you can find Windows 10 drivers for your make and model (laptops usually require a lot more OEM-specific drivers then most desktops). If you are going to run tests, make sure you have a perfect backup. Check all of the software you bought or downloaded for XP to see if there are Win 10 versions available. Since you can't really "upgrade" XP to anything beyond Vista, you will probably find yourself doing a clean install. Good luck.

Post was last edited on August 21, 2015 10:30 AM PDT

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Ruined my HP laptop

My computer is an hp Itried to download windows 10 and now my computer dosent work at all. I dont reccomend using free software, Microsoft duped people into thinking they can download it but never warned of the consequences for doing so . First off Win is now unsupported When I tried to update IE ( internet explorer it would not download or accept it. older systems are rendered useless by an unsupported OS. you dont mention whether your system is 32 or 64 bit that is important when you try to upgrade if you don know check your system, which version you have also know that some of your files will not work depending on what you change the operating system to.Win 10 as I found out rendered my computer useless I wasnt not aware that win10 would not back up my previous operating system when I tried to download win 10. Ive spent hours trying to restore my xp operating system to no avail, My windows xp could not even download to a new windows IE ( internet Explorer when it was still working Microsoft has blocked any updates to IE for XP they have made it impossible to upgrade your system if you have windows XP. be awaare ,Know they dont care.

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Get Re-install disks or Linux

See if you can get some original installation disks for your machine. It should be easy to restore your compuer back to the way it was. Also with many hp compuers, pressing F11 before it boots allows it to reinstall back to orginal facory settings. If your machine is running Windows XP you probably won't get any updates.

Another thing to try is Ubuntu, or Mint from the Linux stable. You will be able to web surf, use word processing or spreadsheets, it's free and may work well. You go to the Linux distronof choice, burn a Dvd rom, and install. Good luck.

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CPU Features or lack thereof may stop you

When Microsoft gives the requirements for a new version of Windows, they typically give CPU speed, Memory size and disk space necessary, but rarely, in the marketing data, the CPU features that are mandatory. Be aware that any figures they give are minima and, rule of thumb, double them for a medium to heavy load system. If you are happy with your notebook's performance with XP, then you probably meet the minima for 7, 8 and 10 (my XP machines ran slightly faster on 7).

But what may stop you is the requirement for certain hardware CPU features, such as PAE (called NS or NX by some manufacturers) which was introduced to help guard against malware exploiting the buffer overrun vulnerability. This requirement was made mandatory in Windows 8.1 and carried through to 10. Three of my machines don't have it, Centrino Banias, Centrino Sonoma and Pentium 4 with hyperthreading, and so cannot run 8.1 or 10. There are utilities on the web that will analyse your machine and tell you more than you ever wanted to know about it! I use CPU-z CPUID, which is free but a better option would be to run the Microsoft compatibility checker for 8.1 or 10 , which will also check your software applications.

From the size of your machine, I guess it could be a Netbook, which would have an Intel Atom processor, some of which will run 10 but some older ones won't - check as above before spending anything on the notebook or the software.

Assuming you pass the tests, your best bet is, as others have said, to download the Windows 10 ISO image from Microsoft and burn the image (not the file) to a DVD or flash drive, then do a clean install from it in the normal way. As has also been said, you can skip the product key while you are checking it out - it apparently puts a "Not Activated" water mark on the screen until you activate it.

If all this works and you decide that 10 is what you want, you can either buy a product key from Microsoft or your favourite retailer (XP doesn't qualify for a free upgrade) or you can look for a Windows 7 installation disk and Key, which may be cheaper than a 10 key. I know there are a couple of online retailers in the UK offering 7 Home Premium OEM at an attractive rate, so check where you live. BEWARE, if you do buy a 7 OEM, get it from a reputable dealer, NOT off some random EBay seller, OEM versions are tied to the first machine they are installed on and it's not unknown for some disreputable sources to sell used ones that are useless! You might want to try the 7 route if your machine doesn't pass the 10 test, at least you'd have MS security patches until 2020!

There are alternatives. You could, as others have suggested, try Linux, it's come a long way since the "geek feast" it used to be! Installation is very easy, even easier than Windows in some cases but do make sure your Windows backup is good and secure before you start. Mint is a very popular, easy to transition to distribution; I use OpenSuSE but that's just a personal preference. Linux is free and there are equivalent (but not identical) applications that are also free and as good or better than the Windows versions. Community support is excellent. If you want to try it, download a live CD/DVD from the distribution site and boot it up without changing anything on your machine.

If you want to stay with Windows, now might be a good time to pick up a "back to school" PC with Win 8.1 at a good price and upgrade for free to 10 but you'll also probably need to buy some newer versions of your applications.

Or there are Chromebooks, lightweight laptops that have limited storage space locally but keep all their data in "the cloud". They are relatively cheap, quite fast with their solid state disks and good for general computing use with Google Apps and such like but don't expect them to edit movies or run Photoshop! There are "Cloudbooks" coming on to the market also, which are Windows equivalents. The downside to all these is you need to be online to get to the cloud.

So some options for you to think about.

Good luck!

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Apples and oranges

PAE has nothing to do with NX flagging.

One is for addressing larger amounts of memory than could otherwise be supported. It has become obsolete with the transition to 64-bit processors.

The other is to designate what can happen in specified areas of memory to prevent hidden malware from running. This was long found in mainframe and mini systems but was regarded as too costly in transistor real estate to put in microprocessors until a few years ago.

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XP? Use Linux instead of Win 10

On a laptop that old, honestly, I'd either stay with what I had, or move to a less demanding Linux platform. I'm not a huge fan of Linux, but on the other hand, I've found that there's nothing I can do in Windows, that I can't do just as well (with fewer hardware demands) using, say, Linux Mint (free).

"Free" is hard to beat, and you don't get all those noisome required updates. The GUI is very much like Windows, anyway. No learning curve.

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Replacing expensive software could be the decider

Excellent post - really!
" . . . but you'll also probably need to buy some newer versions of your applications."
That is the REAL turn-off. In my case, that would mean replacing Photoshop on several PCs. (Yes it runs just fine, if a little slowly, on two Atom powered netbooks). That is why I will try to keep XP running for as long as humanly possible and it might well be the best all-round decision for the OP, depending what he already has on his.

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Laborious but basically easy.

Assuming that your system does meet the minimum requirements for running Windows 10, you will first need to purchase the product from the Microsoft Store for $119. The free upgrade is only for users of Windows 7 and above.

They you have little choice but to do a completely clean install. Your applications as installed under Windows XP will not work under Windows 10 and will have to be reinstalled after you update the operating system (which is why I have so far held off from updating my wife's Vista machine).

First, back up all of your data to an external device or media. Also make sure you include your application data folders (a hidden folder that is not displayed by default in Windows Explorer -- you will have to configure the folder view to see it).

Then install the Windows 10 as a fresh install. I suggest reformatting your C: drive prior to installing Windows 10 from DVD media.

Next, reinstall the applications you want from distribution.

And finally, restore your application and user data. Note that the folder structure for the application data will differ from the simpler way it was in XP, so this may prove to be a laborious process.

That ought to do it.

HOWEVER, I strongly suspect that your old notebook does NOT meet the minimum system requirements for Windows 10. In this case, you can play around and convert it to a Linux box and/or get a new PC, which is probably a good idea anyway.

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You can try and then play

If this is some netbook mini and at least 2gb of ram, try the win10 install. Anything else, just forget it and get a more capable PC. I did this to a HP mini and it did work, but overall it just wasn't any great improvement other than running win10. I need some win10 PC to remain win10 ready and prove it works. The netbook is capable but nothing to brag about.

There are still XP users out there, so you're not alone. BUT really if you have a system that was win7 capable then it will also should for win10. Thus, look for a win7 capable PC and forget Vista as well, finding drivers maybe become any issue plus not supported by the win10 upgrade to include XP. You can try but again that's all on you.

tada -----Willy Happy

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