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Well, now I work on a laptop with Windows XP. Due to interest in Azure development I'm thinking of migrating to Windows 7. Yes, I know I can install something on a VM but that's not always comfortable.

How is it better to migrate?

  1. Upgrade XP to Vista, then upgrade Vista to Windows 7
  2. Clean install Windows 7

And which edition is preferred - 32 or 64 bit?

Or possibly you would advise to use Windows 2008 R2? I'm using it only for development and listening music, very rarely films(not HD)?

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migrated from Jan 21 '10 at 19:58

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

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Well, this is really more of a superuser question, but I'll bite.

Windows 7 64-bit is really the way to go if you're not concerned about compatibility issues. As with any install, you really should test things before deploying it into a production environment.

I would do a clean install of Windows 7 if you have that option. You can not upgrade a 32-bit install with a 64-bit install.

That's the technet article directly from MS on this issue.

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Thank you for the reply. So, 64-bit edition is preferable? – flashnik Jan 9 '10 at 2:27
Yes because it doesn't have the memory limitations that the 32-bit version does. That said, you need to make sure you use 64-bit drivers. – Mr Furious Jan 9 '10 at 2:33
Well, my laptop has the ability to carry only 4 GB so anyway I won't have problem with memory limitation. Despite this, are there any other reasons to choose 64 bit? My CPU supports 64 bit. – flashnik Jan 9 '10 at 3:06
The problem with x86 is that MS is only releasing x64 OSes from here on out (2008R2 is x64 only for example) and certain software (Exchange 2010 being the biggest current example) is x64 only. I wouldn't be surprised if many other new MS software releases were x64 only as well. Driver support is very good and the price is the same, so there's no compelling reason not to go x64 if you can. – MDMarra Jan 11 '10 at 16:35
Ideologically, I'd like more people to run 64-bit versions simply because that means we're more likely to see 64-bit versions of software become available. The majority of applications are written 32-bit. You'll probably be less likely to run into incompatibility problems with older software if you run the 32-bit version. That said, to get Windows 7 certification your software must be fully compatible with 64 and 32 bit installations. That's good news since it means that we'll eventually see a switch over. – Mr Furious Jan 11 '10 at 18:17


For an optimum experience it would be best to perform a clean (custom) installation to migrate from Windows XP as opposed to have XP code and Vista code present in your Windows 7 installation.

Please note that when migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 you will not have an "in place upgrade" option. You will however have the option to select "custom" install when prompted. The Windows 7 install process will then copy all of your data in "My Documents" over to a Windows.old folder within Windows 7 itself. All applications and documents stored in other locations will have to be reinstalled / transferred manually.

For more information on the Windows 7 Upgrade, please read Installing and reinstalling Windows 7.

Jessica, Microsoft Windows Client Team

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I was in the same position a few weeks ago. I decided not to go with the unexpected and did a clean Windows 7 install and since my system had 3GB of RAM I went for 64bit Windows 7.

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Do you have any problems with development software? Is it possible to compile C++ for 32-bit edition platform? Which applications could be run in XP mode? Can I run a service in XP mode? Or several applications simultaneously? – flashnik Jan 9 '10 at 2:34

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