| By Lincoln Spector |
Few things are scarier than installing a new version of Windows — at least, few things you can do while sitting at a desk.
The safest route to a successful Windows 7 upgrade is a dual-boot configuration on your PC, letting your old OS and Win7 coexist during the transition.
What you need to start the transition to Win7
Nothing causes PC-induced heartburn faster than upgrading to a new OS and finding out, too late, that some critical program or peripheral no longer works — or discovering that an all-important document was lost in the transition.
Sure, you can (and should) use the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor (download page) before you even buy the upgrade. But the advisor is not perfect — and you could still run into problems during and after the upgrade, anyway.
By keeping your existing OS (which I’m assuming is either Vista or XP) alive while you install Windows 7, you always have a working fallback system, should the unexpected happen.
Before you start the upgrade process, check that your main drive or partition has at least 30GB of free hard-drive space (more is better). You should also have an external backup medium, as well as backup imaging software. (If you don’t have the latter, I offer a recommendation in the next section.)