Transitioning from Windows XP to Windows 7

Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. Faculty, staff and labs currently using computers running Windows XP need to upgrade to Windows 7. The ITS Spring 2014 Windows 7 standard image configuration is available and offers the latest software to the Northeastern community.


Microsoft officially retired Windows XP on April 8, 2014. For those still using Windows XP there are the following implications:

  • No support: Microsoft support, including online and phone-based technical support, will end for Windows XP. As a result, ITS will not be able to support Windows XP. Click here for a list of ITS Supported Computers and Operating Systems.
  • Security risks: Critical security updates will stop, making machines much more vulnerable to viruses, as hackers are waiting to take advantage of this insecurity. If your computer gets a virus your machine will not perform properly; it may shut down entirely; you are at risk for losing files and having your personal information stolen. Newer Windows operating systems offer much better security. If your machine represents a security threat to Northeastern’s networks, your network access will be revoked.
  • Software issues: Many vendors will no longer support products that are running on Windows XP. Additionally, ITS will no longer continue to develop and test applications for Windows XP.
  • Old technology: Windows XP was released 12 years ago, and was replaced by Windows 7 in 2009. It does not support HTML5 or the newest version of Internet Explorer nor does it support many modern hardware devices such as USB 3.0.

Verifying the version of your Windows operating system

Microsoft provides a page that will automatically check your computer and display which operating system you are on. Additionally, the page has instructions for manually checking. Determine your Windows operating system by clicking here.

Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7

**Note: All computers must be backed up before the new operating system is installed.**

I have a Northeastern-image PC: Contact the Service Desk at 617.373.4357 (xHELP) to schedule an appointment to have your computer re-imaged and upgraded to the newly released Spring 2014 Windows 7 standard configuration. This will take a few hours.

I have a Northeastern-owned, non-imaged PC: Contact the Service Desk 617.373.4357 (xHELP) to get Windows 7 for local installation.

We are encouraging faculty and staff members to upgrade from Windows XP to Window 7 as soon as possible to ensure that we can accommodate requests in a timely manner. Please call the Service Desk at 617.373.4357 (xHELP) to schedule an appointment.

The reimaging process

Migrating an existing Northeastern-managed Windows XP computer to Windows 7 is an involved process requiring significant preparation and pre-planning:

  1. Prior to imaging, data must be backed up.
  2. The computer is wiped clean and the operating system re-installed with the NUnet image.  (approximately two hours)
  3. Data is then restored from the back up after the image is configured. (30-60 minutes)

Backing up your computer

Under normal circumstances it should take no longer than half an hour to back up a computer, although anomalies could run several hours. i.e. user has a lot of pictures, videos, etc.

Contact the Service Desk at 617.373.4357 (xHELP) for backup recommendations specific to your situation. Please be aware that there are certain security processes that must be followed for sensitive information.

Non-ITS labs and research equipment currently using Windows XP

To upgrade these machines, please contact the Service Desk at 617.373.4357 (xHELP) for assistance with upgrading multiple computers or for assistance with research equipment.

Recommended specifications for running Windows 7

  • 1 GHz or faster 32 bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor.
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 50 GB hard drive space
  • A DirectX 9 compatible graphics processor, with a Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) driver 1.0 or higher.

New computers

If you require a new computer, please directly contact the administrative staff member who handles purchasing for your department. They will assist you with the procurement process.

Relevant Articles:

Microsoft – Windows XP retirement page
CNET – Windows XP starts countdown to end-of-support on April 8
Lynda.com – Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 tutorial
PC World - Making the transition from XP to the Windows interface
Computerworld - XP’s retirement will be hacker heaven

Updated June 2014