I have been really pondering this issue since the beginning. I have a relatively new machine that I installed less than 2 months ago: It’s working pretty nice in Windows XP land. However, it was a futile effort, because it was going to be assimilated to the new version once it came out. So the preparations were taking place since day 1.
The biggest thing was to back up the system. Now the old machine was cleaned up, and now it serves as part of the backup process. I also use an online service to backup important files off-site. It does the backup in the background and like I said – It’s off-site, so if the drive dies, or anything happens in the home, I can restore that data.
Finally, I used an Imaging program to make a duplicate copy of the C: drive as it is. The C: drive is only the Operating system. The data is on the D: drive, which is backed up via the off-site and old machine. This will just allow me to bring the computer back to the last thing I did on XP.
However, there is one more step here: I will switch out my C: drive with a fully blank hard drive. A SATA 80 GB drive is where the OS gets housed. By swapping the drive, I will have a clean drive separate from the XP partition. Further, I don’t want Windows7 to do anything to the XP side just yet – therefore I will be disconnecting that hard drive completely.
There is another partition I have, and that is a Ubuntu setup. Next week, the newest version of Ubuntu will be coming out, therefore I will be creating a new partition at that time. 3 separate hard drives for 3 Operating systems.
Now you might have a different setup, or don’t care to do 3 Operating systems, but I would highly suggest that if anything – get another drive to replace the one in your computer. It’s a great way to keep your old OS intact and when it’s all done, it can be added to another machine as a spare hard drive.
There is one more thing about this install – 32 bit or 64 OS. The new version of Windows7 comes with both. I got a computer that will work in 64 bit mode, the reality will boil down to whether the programs and hardware I run will work in the 64 bit OS. I will be starting with the 64 bit version and make the assessment to whether it will satisfy my need. Further, if I put on the Virtual XP mode, I should be able to run the programs that don’t work right in Windows7.
This process will be happening in the next 24-48 hours, once all the scheduled events will be taken care of. I don’t foresee any problems, but if I do have them, I have a full backup system in place. I also have a way to get back to normalcy if I need to.