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What is the best way to transition from Windows XP to Windows 10?

If you're still on Windows XP, there's really only one Microsoft-supported way you can move from XP to Windows 10.

The only realistic option to move from Windows XP to Windows 10 is to perform a clean installation.

Under the right circumstances, it is possible to perform a leapfrog migration in which you migrate from Windows XP to Windows Vista to Windows 7 and then to Windows 10. But Microsoft doesn't officially support a leapfrog migration, and it locks you into using a 32-bit platform. A clean installation is the only officially supported way to transition from Windows XP to Windows 10.

The prep work that you will need to do to prepare for the transition from Windows XP to Windows 10 will vary depending on how you currently use Windows XP.

The most tedious task that most organizations will likely face is application readiness testing. Your organization will need to compile an inventory of the applications that are in use in the Windows XP environment, and then test those applications to see if they function properly in Windows 10. Although many Windows XP applications do work with Windows 10, you are likely to find that some applications must be updated to a new version. You may even have to replace applications with something different due to compatibility or licensing issues, or missing installation media.

You must also consider hardware compatibility. Windows XP is 14 years old and was designed to run on different hardware than Windows 10. As such, you must evaluate your organization's hardware readiness prior to making the transition.

Finally, you must assess the current state of user data. Is data stored on any of the users' PCs, or is it all on the network? If data is stored on PCs then you must come up with a plan to back up that data before you move forward with the migration.

Next Steps

Pitfalls of the XP to Windows 8 migration path

Windows XP migration best practices

Windows 7 migrations win in XP shops

Dig Deeper on Windows 10

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Is your shop still on Windows XP? Will you jump to Windows 10?
Yes, We would love to use Glassware 2.0 from to transition from Windows XP to Windows 10. Awesome, disruptive technology, simple to use
We might have a few machines here and there still running Windows XP. We've finally got most everyone on Windows 7, but there are no current plans to move to Windows 10.
@ahagel -- i saw another reader comment about glassware 2.0 too -- have you used it yet? do you think it would work in a corporate setting? In my time working on SearchMobileComputing I got the feeling that IT folks don't usually like tech that gets labeled "disruptive!"
We’re primarily running Windows 7, with no immediate plans to adopt Windows 10, other than a few machines that the desktop techs use to play around with. Our desktop infrastructure isn’t too quick to adopt the new versions of Windows as they come out, although I suspect when the time to upgrade does come that we will skip Windows 8.1, and move on to 10. But that’s more than a year away.
leapfrog migration not the only solution - have you heard of Sphere3D's new Glassware 2.0 solution? Simple and cost effective way to extend XP indefinitely on Windows 10.
@stevo99 Have you used Glassware 2.0? Does it work well? Is it a viable enterprise-scale option? And can I ask why you're still using XP? Is to support specific applications or just because you like it? Thanks for reading!