What about my files and software?

xpThis is the final blog in a series that began by discussing the impending end of life for Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8, and the possibility of converting to a Mac. The goal of this series is education regarding the end of support for Windows XP and things to consider when purchasing your next computer.

Will your current software run on your new Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer?  Yes, most Windows software should run on your new computer.  Notice I said most.  Some older software may not run on your new computer.  You will need the apple_windowsoriginal software disks to install your software your software on your new computer.  You can transfer the data files to a new computer by copying them, but you must install the actual software programs.  Without the original software disks and accompanying license key, you may need to repurchase the software from the vendor.  If you are missing a license key, hopefully you registered the software, as most vendors will provide your original license key.

One of the notable exceptions to compatibility with Windows 8 is Microsoft Office.  Some of the older versions of Office will not run on Windows 8:

Windows 7 Windows 8
Office XP/2002       yes       no
Office 2007       yes       no
Office 2010       yes      yes
 Office 365       yes      yes

Some peripheral devices, specifically printers that are 3 years or older, may not be compatible with Windows 8.  In order to determine if your printer will work, visit the support website for your printer and see if a driver for Windows 8 exists.  These drivers are provided by the hardware vendor; as a courtesy some drivers are distributed with Windows, but they are created by the hardware companies.

If you are purchasing a new Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer, make sure you create the restore media when you first turn it on.  Your restore disk is usually a CDROM (Windows 7) and a USB flash drive (32GB) for Windows 8.  The restore disks need to be created when the machine is first turned on as they contain the operating system and license key and are used in the event your hard drive crashes must be replaced.  Consider the restore disk a 10 minute insurance policy kept in a safe location.

installThere is one more topic to discuss.  How do you get all of your old software and documents, including your genealogy, installed on your new computer?  There are a few options:

  1. Install your software programs and then locate and copy all of your files to CD or flash drive and then reload on your new computer.
  2. Ask a techie friend or family member to help you with the task.
  3. Many businesses offer installation services and transfer services (Staples, OfficeMax, Best Buy, etc), even if you purchase your computer elsewhere.  Fees and the services offered vary, so stop by and ask for an estimate on setting up your new computer, printer and software.

I hope that reading this series has provided you with information and some of the options regarding the choices involved with replacing your Windows XP computer .

I make reference to specific Microsoft, Apple or other products.  These names are or may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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