I have a Lenovo T500 Laptop which was downgraded at purchase from Windows 7 Pro to XP Pro. I was provided with Recovery DVDs at that time. I now wish to upgrade to 7 Pro in order to avoid potential problems with updates and security after April 2014. What do I need to do?
1) Attach a USB drive, then backup the entire DOCUMENTS folder, and other folders if they contain data you need
2) Write down the names of any programs you installed so you can easily restore
3) Write down websites, passwords, etc to help you reinstall
1) First, try the Factory Restore method. Most laptops have a hidden backup Image on the hard drive. You can usually start this via an F-Key on boot, or a DVD. In fact, the Recovery DVD you mention may only be to link you to that.
If this method fails AND the Recovery DVD's are just Windows Install discs, then do it that way.
2) Go to laptop support site and update drivers/software for Win7 once installed
3) Reinstall programs, and copy back missing data etc.
4) Once all sorted out, make a backup IMAGE of your C-Drive to an external USB drive if possible (Acronis True Image or similar. If you have a WD drive there's a free version at their site. Seagate has it as well but it's called DiscWizard.)