Windows 7 Upgrade Dilemma. Painless $50. Painful $300

In October, Microsoft will release Windows 7 and from what I’ve seen and read, it’s a much better system than Windows XP and Windows Vista. You can read all about it on Microsoft’s Web site or Walt Mossberg’s review here. The trouble for many of us, as Walt Mossberg also wrote in his Wall Street Journal column is that it is a first class royal pain to upgrade. If you have XP – the upgrade is not easy. If you have many Vista scenarios the upgrade process is also not easy.

Microsoft’s own upgrade chart shows that out of the 66 Windows 7 upgrade scenarios outlined by Microsoft, only 14 are supported by Windows 7 as an in-place upgrade. An “in-place upgrade” means you can upgrade files and programs from XP to Windows 7 seamlessly.

I spoke with Thomas Koll, CEO of data migration and remote access company Laplink and he explained that Laplink’s PC Mover can make this upgrade process much easier and painless. Time consuming – but painless.
PC Mover intelligently takes your files and programs and migrates them to your new Windows 7 computer. If you want to do this process manually, on your own – go for it.

But you’ll lose your sanity.

The best way to start using a new operating system is to start fresh and clean with a new computer, organically and simply migrate your old files to the new system and freshly install the programs you need.
However, for an office of 10, 20 or more computers this process takes a lot of time.

What if you don’t even have all of your original programs to reinstall?

In fact, Laplink’s CEO Thomas Koll, using figures from IT research firms, estimates that the cost could be $300 (or more) per computer when you factor in the loss of productivity and cost for a technician to upgrade your computer.

When you upgrade, ensure that your computer has a fast processor, plenty of hard disk space and RAM. I know that many of you, in a necessary attempt to save money, always perform upgrades on slow and aging machines. If you don’t have a fairly new computer, hold off on the new operating system until you can get a more powerful computer.

Windows 7 is different, fresh and new. With a new computer to run on your computing experience is going to be better – and maybe even fun. What Microsoft initially wanted for Vista.

Ramon Ray is the editor and tech evangelist for