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I am planning an upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 and am currently at the stage where I've finished copying my files on Windows XP. I am sceptical about moving on to the next stage (installing Windows 7) and have some questions to ask:

  1. Does Windows Easy Transfer act as a back up for your computer?
  2. Once I have finished installing Windows 7, how can I access the files from the old computer from my external hard drive? How do I open those file from the local disk (C:)? I want to transfer everything from Windows XP to Windows 7 on the same computer safely.
  3. Can Windows Easy Transfer migrate my programs as well? If not, is there a program that can transfer my Windows XP programs onto my Windows 7 installation?
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Hope you don't mind @Allen - I've edited the question so that hopefully it's a bit easier to follow. If I've missed out anything important feel free to edit back in! – 8088 May 2 '11 at 22:21
    
(If in doubt, make a second or third backup of your important data.) – therube May 20 '11 at 0:03
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Windows Easy Transfer backs up your user profile and documents. It also makes a list of applications that are installed on your Windows XP installation. When you install Windows 7 and complete the Easy Transfer process it will migrate your documents and as many settings as it can. Then it will give you a list of programs that you will need to install. I'm not aware of a program that will migrate your installed applications in a scenario like this.

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I just want to be sure that you're copying your easy transfer files to an external drive if you're installing 7 on your current XP hardware. I'd hate to have you lose data. – dkwiebe May 2 '11 at 22:44

The Windows Easy Transfer utility can be used to back up data from a Computer before performing an upgrade or clean install of the Windows 7 Operating System and then restore the data to the Computer after the Windows 7 Operating System installed.

Windows Easy Transfer can automatically transfer User Accounts, Documents, Music, Pictures, E-mail, Internet favorites and Program settings.

When the transfer has been completed, a report will show you what data was transferred and provides a list of programs you may want to install on the new Computer.

Reference: How To Perform Windows 7 Easy Transfer From XP

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