A friend of mine got a new Windows 8 system and was running
it along side of his old Windows XP box so that he could get used to Windows 8
yet still be able to run his older applications in Windows XP. Everything was
going fine with this set up until recently when he called and told me that his
Windows XP computer died and wanted to know if I could help him rescue his XP
system. After talking with him for a while I discovered that the power supply
on the old system had bitten the dust. While the old system would not power on,
he said that the last time he used it, the system worked fine and he had shut
it down like he normally did.

Suspecting that the hard disk was still intact, I told him
that we could probably retrieve his data and put it on the new computer. He
said that while that would be great, what he really wanted was a way to revive the
Windows XP computer. We initially discussed replacing the power supply, but
when I told him about Zinstall
and how you could use it to move a Windows XP installation from a hard
disk into a virtual environment that could be run in Windows 8, he liked that

Later, we took IDE hard disk out of the old computer,
connected it to his new computer via an IDE to
adapter, and verified that it was still accessible and in good
condition. We then used Zinstall XP7 to move the entire Windows XP installation
into his Windows 8 system. The entire procedure was very easy and the end
result provided such a slick way to switch between operating systems that I
thought I should revisit this product and show you how it works in Windows 8.
(Back in 2010, I wrote an article about using Zinstall XP7 to perform an in-place
of Windows XP to Windows 7.)

In this article, I’ll show you how get and use Zinstall XP7
to move your Windows XP installation from a hard disk to your Windows 8 system.
As I do, I’ll explain each step in the procedure.

Note: Even though the
product name “XP7” implies a Windows XP to Windows 7 path, it works
perfectly in Windows 8.


Keep in mind that while you can use Zinstall XP7 on two
computers and move Windows XP into Windows 8 using a network connection, I am
going to cover moving Windows XP into Windows 8 using just the hard disk.
Furthermore, while I used an IDE to USB adapter to move my friend’s Windows XP
installation, on my example system for this article, I simply removed the SATA
hard disk from my Windows XP computer and connected it to the second SATA
connector in my Windows 8 system.

Getting and installing Zinstall XP7

is a commercial product which sells for $89. You can purchase and download
the product from the Zinstall

Since I’m going to be moving Windows XP into Windows 8 using
just the hard disk, I’ll download and install Zinstall XP7 on a Windows 8
system. Once the download is complete, just run the executable file. In a few
moments you’ll be prompted to enter the serial number you received along with the
email address you used to purchase the product, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

You’ll be prompted to enter the serial number you received
in order to activate Zinstall XP7.

Performing the transfer

As soon as the installation is complete, Zinstall XP7 will
launch and prompt you to identify your migration scenario. Since I am running
the program on my Windows 8 system with the Windows XP hard disk connected, I
will identify the migration scenario by selecting I only have this PC and the selecting Yes, I am migrating from another hard drive, as illustrated in Figure B.

Figure B

In this scenario, you select the migrating from another hard
drive option.

You’ll then see a Zinstall window that will begin searching
for the Source and Target computers. When it finds them, the Go button turns
green, as shown in Figure C, and you
can click it to begin the migration procedure. Here you can see that Zinstall
found the 160GB hard disk that contains the Windows XP installation and will
migrate it to a folder on my Windows 8 system.

Figure C

When the Go button turns green, you can click it to begin
the migration procedure.

The actual migration is a lengthy process involving multiple
operations, as shown in Figure D,
and can take several hours depending on the size of your Windows XP installation.
For instance, my 160GB hard disk took a little over an hour to finish.

Figure D

The actual migration is a lengthy process that involves
multiple operations.

Working with the two systems

Once you complete the migration step, you’ll see a Zinstall
icon in the system tray of you Windows 8 system. To access your Windows XP
installation, you can just double-click on the Zinstall icon. You can also
access your Windows XP installation by right-clicking on the Zinstall icon and
selecting the Switch to Guest Desktop command.

When you are in Windows XP, you’ll also find a Zinstall icon
in the system tray. To go back to your Windows 8 installation, you can just
double-click on the Zinstall icon or right-click on the Zinstall icon and
select the Switch to Host Desktop command. This process, which Zinstall refers
to as switching channels, is illustrated in Figure E.

Figure E

You can use the Zinstall icon in the system tray to switch
between Windows 8 and Windows XP.

You’ll also find several shortcuts on your Windows 8 desktop
that allow you to initiate the desktop switch and access Windows XP’s My
Documents folder inside of Windows 8; however, I found both of those shortcuts
much more time consuming than simply double-clicking the Zinstall icon and
changing to the Windows XP channel.

You’ll also discover that Zinstall XP7 places shortcuts to
all of your Windows XP applications on Windows 8’s Start Screen and each one is
prefixed with a Z^ to make it easy to identify. If you find that this makes the
Start Screen overcrowded, you can remove all the shortcuts using the Advanced

Right-click on the Zinstall icon and select the Advanced
command. When you see the Advanced application, select the Remove shortcuts on
Exit check box, as shown in Figure F,
and click OK. Then, shut down Windows XP and restart Windows 8. When you get
back to Windows 8, you’ll see that all of the shortcuts have been removed.

Figure F

You can Remove the Windows XP shortcuts from the Start

To make working with the two systems as easy as working on
one system, the Windows 8 and Windows XP environments are fully integrated.
This means that you can copy files and text between the two systems just like
you copy files between two folders and text between different applications. For
example, to copy a file from the Windows 8 environment to the Windows XP
environment, just right-click on the file, select Copy, switch to Windows XP,
and paste the file.

For larger-scale file copy operations, access your Windows
XP environment and go to My Computer where you will find a drive letter Z:
under the Network Drives section. When you open it, you will find links to all
of the drives on your Windows 8 system as well as a link to the Documents
folder on your Windows 8 system.

Network and Internet access is automatically enabled. If
Windows 8 has access, so does Windows XP. This works with any kind of
connection, wireless included.

What’s your take?

Will you use this Zinstall XP7 to migrate your Windows XP
system to Windows 8? As always, if you have comments or information to share
about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the TechRepublic Community
Forums and let us hear from you.

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