Upgrading my PC's Windows XP to Windows 7 ... do I need to use "OEM pre-installation tools"?

I'm upgrading my WindowsXP machine to Windows 7 using an OEM version I bought from Tiger Direct. But the packet says I need to use "OEM pre-installation tools." Can someone let me know if I need to install these tools before I try to upgrade (i.e., I thought I would just be able to run the CD to upgrade my PC). If I do need them, can you please let me know where I could obtain them?

Thanks for any help
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  1. Best answer
    Unfortunately, Windows 7 does not support installation as a direct upgrade from XP. You can upgrade from XP >Vista>7 but that would require a copy of Vista too.

    What you will have to do is a fresh install. First, back up your data onto an external drive, or else it will be lost. Boot off the Windows 7 DVD (place the disk in the drive, reboot the PC and press the function key needed to access the boot menu. The exact key depends on the system, though often the key needed is indicated on the startup logo. Otherwise, common keys are:

    F12 (dell, toshiba)
    F9 or ESC (HP)
    F10 (gateway, acer)

    Just keep pressing the key as the computer starts up until you get a list of boot options, then select the DVD drive. Windows setup will start and ask you to press any key to boot (press a key within 5 seconds). Click through the options up to this screen:

    Click "drive options (advanced)" at the bottom right of the window to get to the option to format, format then click Next. Windows will install on the disk. At a certain point it will ask for the license key, this is found on an insert in the Windows 7 packaging.

    After installation, you will need to install the needed drivers to get the system to work with all the devices. First, check what you need in the Device Manager. Go to Start, right click Computer and click Properties. In the left-hand pane of the window that comes up, click Device Manager. Devices not installed will appear under "Other Devices" with yellow question marks. Also check under "Display adapters." This should list a specific make and model of video chip. IF it says "Standard VGA graphics" it is running off of the basic Widows driver (which does not fully support the features of your GPU). Windows also uses a generic sound driver, rather than the specific audio driver for that chip.

    First though, if you could list your specs (including model of video chip) that would help us determine compatibility with your system. Many older systems can run 7 but may need RAM upgrades, and many do not have graphics chips supported by Windows 7
  2. Thanks so much for your reply (and such an incredibly detailed response, I really appreciate it)! :)

    I did run the "Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor" which says I have 2 GB of RAM and 199.4 GB of free space available on C. It also says I need to do a "custom installation of 32-bit Windows 7 and then reinstall my programs" ... just wondering if reinstalling my programs and devices (such as a printer) would give me the needed "drivers" (my apologies if this is a dumb question). I still have all of the CDs for my devices.

    I was able to find "Display Adapters" in the device manager, and it says there are two that have the same name: Mobile Intel(R) 965 Express Chipset Family.Both are listed by the "Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor" and it says they are compatible with Windows 7 (so seems like good news). Not sure if this is helpful, but my PC is only about 6 years old (bought it in 2008, but asked Dell to put XP on it instead of Vista).

    On a related note, Tiger Direct didn't send me what they showed on the website (i.e., it looked like the type of box you get when buying a software program at a retail store). I only got a small cardboard envelope described as "WIN HMPREM 7 SP1 X32 ENGLISH 1PK DSP OEI DVD LCP"... will I be able to use this type of software as a consumer?

    Thanks again for your help. Any additional help/information would be greatly appreciated.
  3. Can you show the listing from TigerDirect? The package should have come with a DVD, which you'll need to perform the fresh installation. Is there a DVD in this envelope? There should also be an insert with a product key somewhere - that's a string of 5 blocks of 5 digits each. It does sound like your PC will be compatible with Windows 7.
  4. Thanks again for your help!

    I'm afraid to open it in case I bought the wrong software (Tiger Direct says no refunds if opened), but here is a link to what I purchased:

    Do you think this will work on my PC?

    Thanks again for any help/info :)
  5. That appears to be the correct item. The only restriction to "OEM" Windows package is that the key will be tied to one PC ("retail" keys officially support transfer from one PC to another, as long as it's only used on one PC at a time).
  6. Thank you so much ... so if I use the (very detailed!) instructions in your first message, I should be able to do the upgrade? Will I also need to download and drivers or the "OEM pre-installation tools" ... or does your solution eliminate the need for that?

    Thanks again for your help :)
  7. Once Windows 7 is installed, check the device manager to see if any devices aren't installed. If there are any, you need to instal the driver for it. To get the drivers, browse to the manufacturer's website and find the support link, and look up your model number. The page will ask for your version of windows (Win 7 32 bit) if it doesn't detect it automatically, then you should get a list of drivers for your system.

    My instructions will do a fresh install, which means a completely new copy of Windows. As I said in the first reply, Upgrade installation for Windows 7 is only supported from Vista so you need to do a clean install, meaning you format the hard drive and Windows installs a brand new copy. You'll then need to install your software again.

    Also, back up any information you want to keep before doing this (on an external drive), since it will get deleted by this process.
  8. Thanks again for your help ... got Windows 7 installed in about an hour and all of my old software (even some that the "Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor" said would not work)! You are so awesome to help me ... I'll be sure to pay it forward. :)
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