All in all, most modern PCs running NT 4.0 or 2000 should be easily upgradeable to XP. Unlike the 9x/Me upgrade, the NT/200 does not offer any uninstallation capabilities, so it's a one way street: Once you begin the upgrade, the only way back to your previous OS is to wipe out the hard drive and reinstall from scratch.For this reason, I advise carefully backing up your files and settings before proceeding with the upgrade.The most meticulous of users can’t guard against all the stray files, drivers, and registry entries that creep into a system through normal use. Far too often I’ve heard an operating system badmouthed as being an unstable nightmare when the fault is with the upgrade process.Of course, it’s not always possible to do a clean install after wiping the disks, but if it’s feasible, the rewards are well worth the extra time and effort.Tip: Updating drivers yourself is not difficult, but there are programs that will more or less do it for you.See my List of Free Driver Updater Tools for reviews of the best ones out there.
Well, on that note, XP is really NT 5.1, a version number that should conjure up images of a relatively minor upgrade. This is because, at its heart, XP is simply Windows 2000 with a new task-based user interface, improved application and hardware compatibility, and other small features.A driver update isn't always a fix-it task, either.An updated driver might enable new features for the hardware, something I see on a regular basis with popular video cards and sound cards.If this walkthrough paralyzes your hamster or causes you any emotional distress, we never spoke and I don't know you.You found it on the intertubes for free, so what do you expect. My relative has a nice basic Dell desktop with a gig of RAM and a 100 gig HD.You might need to update drivers in Windows when a new piece of hardware you've installed doesn't work automatically or maybe after upgrading to a new version of Windows.Updating drivers is also a great troubleshooting step when the device is having some kind of problem or is generating an error, like a Device Manager error code.During the development of Windows 2000, Microsoft did all the hard work of making the NT 4.0 upgrade as seamless as possible, and this work is carried over for XP.For 2000 users, the upgrade is even simpler, because there are relatively few changes under the hood.This is a screenshot heavy post, so bear with me, this is a tale best told with pictures.Disclaimer: I do work for Microsoft, but I don't work with the Win7 team so this is just one dude's opinion.