ZInstall XP7 - For a painless upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 Review

By Kshitij Sobti | Updated Feb 01 2010
ZInstall XP7 - For a painless upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 Review

ZInstall XP7 - For a painless upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 detailed review

 
Due to the disaster that was Windows Vista, many Windows users would have been left stranded with XP as the time came for an upgrade to Microsoft's latest Windows 7. This was since Microsoft did not leave users with a clear upgrade path between Windows XP and Windows 7. This is despite the fact that Microsoft claims Windows 7 is more compatible with Windows XP applications than Vista.
 
Here comes ZInstall XP7 which takes away the pain from upgrading your Windows XP system to Windows 7 and with no loss of data or installed applications! Using virtualization technology, it ensures that your older copy of Window XP continues to run without problems as you switch to Windows 7. It is different from installing Windows 7 in parallel to Windows XP on your computer in that it allows you to run both operating systems at the same time, without reboot; and it is different from running XP in a virtual machine in that it is more integrated with your system and retains your settings.
 
With an upgrade coming nearly eight years after the release of Microsoft's last favoured OS, Windows XP - for many users it is not a matter of choice but one of necessity to upgrade to Windows 7. Eight years is too long in this industry to be using any technology, especially one as integral as an operating system. That is quite like using Windows 3.1 in 2001 after the release of Windows XP!
 
Windows 7 comes with Windows XP mode, which is near-guaranteed to run any Windows XP application that is out there by running it on a virtual machine. However, the reason that an upgrade is preferable to this approach is that an upgrade retains the older applications' configuration and settings, some of which cannot be transferred even using the Microsoft Easy Transfer wizards.
 
Since ZInstall XP7 is also based on virtualization like Windows XP Mode, it offers the same benefits. It however lacks the closer integration with Windows 7 which you get with XP mode, wherein files can open in virtualized Windows XP applications and application installed in the virtual mode will have entries in the Start Menu, etc. Oddly enough, while the application is called ZInstall XP7, Windows Vista is one of the supported operating systems, and it is possible for you to migrate from Windows XP to Windows Vista, or from Windows Vista to Windows 7.
 
Even so, ZInstall XP7 offers some significant features which make it better than using the bundled and free Windows XP mode, and might be worth the $89 price. To begin, Windows XP Mode is only available as a free download for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate, others need to own a copy of Windows XP, and install that in their VM -- of course, if you’re thinking of upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7, it is assumed you have a Windows XP license in the first place!
 
Another important thing about ZInstall XP7 is that it even supports running without hardware virtualization which is essential if you wish to use Windows XP Mode with Windows 7.
 
Most importantly, ZInstall XP7 does not give you a fresh new install of Windows XP in a virtual environment on which to install your old applications, instead it converts your entire old system into a virtualized instance with your applications, settings and files intact! So as soon as you are done migrating your old computer with ZInstall XP7 all its applications are ready for you to use.
 
While the entire procedure of converting your physical machine into a virtual one takes quite some time (and space), it is quite effortless, and takes only a few short steps.
 
The ZInstall XP7 application is a single large (nearly 250MB) EXE file which launches the migration guide and install the virtual machine. You merely run the executable to begin the process, and after a short loading period, you are asked to accept the licence terms and activate your product. This requires an internet connection. 
 
Once you are done activating, you are asked to specify your migration scenario, whether you have only the computer you are using, or you are migrating from an older comp on a network. In our case, we performed a migration on the same computer. After this point, you can select if you want to perform an in-place migration or migration from another hard-drive. 
 
In the case on an in-place migration, you need to have installed Windows 7 on the same hard disk partition as the one with Windows XP installed. This renames your old Windows installation system to windows.old. ZInstall XP7 will then gather all this data to construct your new XP virtual machine. 
 
Migrating from another hard drive is done when you have installed Windows 7 on a different hard drive than the one with Windows XP. If you have purchased a new computer and installed Windows 7, you can connect your old hard drive and use this method. We performed an in-place migration.
 
This was all the information ZInstall XP7 needed, and it then set about finding our old Windows XP installation, and its final resting place. After it is done, you see your migration scenario, with the source Windows XP hard drive and the destination drive to contain the virtual machine. A destination drive with enough space needs to exist of course, and since it retains your entire old machine it will need considerable space. 
 
At this point, your work is done! The following procedure takes quite a lot of time, however it requires no intervention, and you can leave the computer to its task.
 
In the case of a migration over the network, you need to have both computers switched on and on the same network. You then run the application on both computers and choose "I am moving between two PCs." After this point you are asked to select which computer is your old one, and which is the new one. 
 
Once the migration is done, you will see an icon on your desktop and one in the system tray which will allow you to start your virtual Windows XP instance. Switching to your old computer is as simple as double-clicking on the icon in the system tray which will start the virtual machine and boot into your old Windows XP. After you have used it once, the virtual machine can continue running in the background and you can easily switch to it in less than a second by double clicking on the system tray icon. Once your virtual XP installation is fully booted and the VM tools are activated, switching between your old and new computers really is as simple as changing TV channels, as the software makers claim.
 
The virtual Windows XP machine will also have the ZInstall XP7 tools installed which will allow you to instantly switch back to your Windows XP install by double-clicking on a similar icon in your virtualized install.  In your old computer, drives from your new computer are accessible via a shared drive.
 
While it might seem too much to pay for Microsoft's mistakes especially after you have paid for the OS itself, ZInstall is more than just a migration guide, it is a product which continues to run on your computer. Being quite a powerful product it is quite sad that it is limited to just migration between Windows versions, such a solution would have been quite awesome if it could allow you to arbitrarily run multiple OSs with the ease of switching between them at any time.
 
In the end, for those who want to retain their applications, data and settings without losing productivity as they ease into the new OS, ZInstall is a brilliant solution, however if your needs lie in just running you old Windows XP applications with full compatibility even when you have moved to Windows 7, you might be better off with the greater integration provided by Windows XP Mode.
 
Furthermore installing a fresh OS is a much better and less buggy solution than upgrading your XP to Vista to 7, and ZInstall XP7 lets you do that without losing your old desktop experience.

 


The ZInstall Wizard unpacks ZInstall takes a little time to load and activate Now you select a Migration scenario. We selected "I only have this PC" Now you can select whether you are migrating from the same hard disk or an XP installation on an old hard disk. We selected "No, I am doing an in-place migration"
The Zinstall wizard now searches for an old installation of XP as per your migration scenario. It will then display the old installations detected by it, and will allow you to detect a destination for the virtualized install. The migration process begins by analyzing the selections. The analysis and migration process takes quite some time.
The migration will retain your old disk structure, thereby retaining all your old data in the new install. The migration process itself will take a couple of hours as an image of you old systemw ill be made and adjusted to work on the new virtualized hardware. And you're done! The new system will have an icon in the system tray which will allow you to switch between your Windows 7 and XP machines at any time. The ZInstall system tray icon gives you access to your old or new systema and its files.
Your old system files are accessible in the new Windows 7 system, and your new system's files are visible in the old XP system as network shares.

ZInstall XP7 - For a painless upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 Key Specs, Price and Launch Date

Release Date: 01 Feb 2010
Market Status: Discontinued
Kshitij Sobti
Kshitij Sobti

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ZInstall XP7 - For a painless upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7

ZInstall XP7 - For a painless upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7

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