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Originally I wanted to move several programs from a very old Windows XP system. Though after doing some research (How do I transfer programs from my old computer to my new Windows 7 computer?) that seems unlikely.

So now I am interested in one of two options:

  1. Move XP and all Programs, files, etc. off of the old box and transplant them to a newer and faster box.
  2. Backup the system and virtualize it on a newer faster box that has Windows 7 on it.

Which option should I choose? Consider ease, cost and performance.

Also, are there any good tutorials or articles to walk me through the process?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

2. It's much faster, much easier. In my experience that is. Later, you can implement everything that runs on Windows 7 fine, but just virtualizing the old system is much faster and easier.

  1. You will need an application, called Disk2VHD.
  2. Then, after you have the image, you will need to transfer it to the new PC (external storage, LAN cable. Something fast.)
  3. You will need a Virtualization Software. My choice is VirtualPC in this case. Why? It's well integrated with Windows 7 and XP. It's easy to switch back-and-forth, and the additional resource usage is really low. (However, if it won't meet your need, you can try "VMWare Player", "VirtualBox" too.)
  4. And, that's it. If you encounter any error, due to the transition on your guest OS, make a new question and we will help you out.
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My personal experience with xp in the past was that you just need to copy the entire drive to a new formatted bootable drive, restart, and let it redetect hardware. If the computer failed to boot because of some major change in disk IO architecture, you then pout in the WINxp setup disk, choose the SECOND R recovery option, and make sure you install into the same windows folder. When to process is done, you probably need to service pack it, but your programs, settings, etc. will be pretty much the same as when you made the switch. – horatio Mar 15 '12 at 20:55
Thanks for the comment horatio, you should just edit my question. :) – Shiki Mar 15 '12 at 22:27

uhh 3 :-( reinstall them. Looking at it from the inside out (registry and changes in system) I did not feel there was any full proper way to accomplish this, even with some magic program that attempts it.
Think of it as an opertunity to clean-up , replace old stuff with better, and find the portable items.

Virtualizing is not a solution (for me) it is a workaround for stuff that simply will not function in windows7. Most programs when properly re-installed into the windows 7 system from XP will function, if they do not there is the compatability modes. My system had all the virtualising ability, many of the programs responded slowly, didnt have tight fast links to the hardware, and it was "virtual" :-) cause that is what it is.

Find the programs that are "portable" (sorta), programs that do not rely on many parts and pieces, they can make thier own few registry entries on run, and can sit alone in a nice little folder you make for them. Later these "portable" programs can be transported again, to 8 for example. Most of the "portable" like programs I used in XP worked portable again in windows 7, and without many compatability issues.

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