This content is part of the Essential Guide: Complete guide to Windows 10 migration

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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

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