Why can’t I use my data from Windows XP in Windows 7?

Anonymous February 27, 2014
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I switched from Windows XP to Windows 7 and when I restored all my data from a backup drive most things didn’t work anymore. I got an error message telling me that the file was changed or moved and the shortcut no longer pointed to it. When I go to my program list to run it from there, same thing. What happened and why, and how can I fix it?

  1. Jan F
    February 27, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    As Oron pointed out most Windows applications cannot simply be "moved" or copied to another PC.

    Basically anything that comes ready to run in a ZIP or other archive file can be copied.
    If they are fully portable they will retain their settings and data.
    If they are not you might have to scavenge your User folder or even the registry for settings.

    Things that come with an installer usually have to be re-installed as they often place certain components or dependencies in folders outside of their own e.g. within Common Files etc. or even install some framework e.g. .NET, Visual C++, which is required to run.
    In addition they often create various registry keys pointing to those dependencies, to store settings, licenses etc.

    This limitation/necessity is also pointed out in the Upgrade information from Microsoft.
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/help/upgrading-from-windows-xp-to-windows-7

  2. Oron J
    February 27, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Windows XP and Windows 7 are structured differently, so you can't just transfer applications and most application settings from XP to Winodws 7. You need to move the data only (documents, pictures, audio and video files).

    If you want to move everything, you need a specialised product such as Laplink PCmover (see http://www.laplink.com for details), but even then, not all applications will move, and not all applications that run on Windows XP will run on Windows 7, so be prepared to download/buy some new software.

  3. Hovsep A
    February 27, 2014 at 9:40 am

    how you did backup and restore operation?