Microsoft has already spelt out, there is NO easy upgrade option for Windows XP users. While Windows Vista users can directly use upgrade DVD to change from Vista to Windows 7 without data lose – same is not possible for Window XP users. They need to backup files, settings which should be transferred after manual Windows 7 upgrade. Here is 3 steps procedure:
1. Copy Files using Windows easy transfer
– Insert Window 7 DVD on XP computer. Close any install screen or prompt.
– Right click Start button and then click on Explore.
– Browse to Support\Migwiz directory in DVD & click migsetup.exe
This will open Windows Easy Transfer wizard. You need to connect external hard drive or USB drive where you can copy files and settings of your XP computer. Follow onscreen instructions and transfer files, settings as per requirement.
2. Install Window 7 on XP computer
– Open Window 7 DVD and double click setup.exe
– Accept license agreement and follow on-screen instructions.
– Select drive to install Window 7 (preferably C drive).
3. Copy backed up Files & Settings
– Goto Start > all Programs > Accessories > System Tools
– Then click on Windows Easy Transfer.
– Connect external hard drive or USB drive with backed up files.
– Select that drive and start the files transfer.
More details here – Windows XP users for sure got little complicated process while upgrading to Windows 7 and keeping data safe. You can skip above procedure if you do not want to backup settings. You can simply copy your data on a external USB hard drive, perform Windows 7 install and then copy back data.