Upgrading Advice


I’m trying to decide whether to upgrade from Windows XP Professional to Windows 7 Professional.  While I’m no hardcore techie, I can follow directions well and I built my own system a couple of years ago with the thought of having a system ready for a future OS upgrade. My system is an Asus P5E Deluxe, an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 at 2.66GHz, and 4GB of DDR3.  I have Windows XP installed on a 150GB Western Digital Raptor, as well as a 500GB secondary drive.

Although I have some programs installed on the C: drive (ones I can reinstall), most of my programs have been installed on the secondary drive.

I have plenty of room on the C: drive to partition and install Win7, but I’m thinking about buying an SSD to install Windows 7 on. I use Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Painter 11, as well as Adobe Premiere Elements 8, and I think I would benefit from installing 64-bit Windows 7 and adding 4GB to 8GB more RAM.

I’m really unsure as to how to go about this and not sure I really want to—I’ve read a number of posts on different forums and it seems to me there are mixed feelings about the upgrade.

Also, since my programs are installed on a drive other than my OS drive, if I make a change by partitioning or installing Win7 on a new separate OS drive, would I be able to use the programs already installed on the D: drive without reinstalling them?

—Tom Helinski

Tom, you’ll generally want to reinstall your programs every time you change operating systems—they may be unstable otherwise. However, we’ve found that sometimes programs installed on non-OS drives function fine without a reinstall. You’ll definitely want to reinstall your Adobe suite, though—just remember to deactivate your old install before you upgrade.

As for your question, if you have the money to install Windows 7 on an SSD, we say, go for it—as long as you have an SSD with TRIM support for clearing deleted blocks. You’ll have to think hard about where you want your scratch disk for Photoshop and Premiere Elements, though—lots of random writes will cause some SSDs to stutter and slow down. Look for an SSD with an Indilinx Barefoot controller and TRIM support. Also, multilevel cell (MLC) SSDs can tolerate fewer read/write cycles than SLC SSDs, although a quality MLC SSD should still last at least as long as your average mechanical hard drive, even with steady use.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at doctor@maximumpc.com for advice on how to solve your technological woes.

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