Upgrade Dell Inspiron 531 to Win 7?

October 15, 2011 at 08:11:29
Specs: Windows XP
I want to upgrade my refurbished system from XP to Windows 7. The Dell Website does not list the Inspiron 531 as a system that is compatible with Windows 7. It DOES list the 530 as able to provide basic functionality. I'm not sure what this means. I have already bought and downloaded the Win 7 Upgrade Package. I have never tried to upgrade an OS but I know I can be asking for big trouble. What can anyone tell me about my chances of a successful conversion?

See More: Upgrade Dell Inspiron 531 to Win 7?

October 15, 2011 at 08:20:45
You didn't list your system specs. There are many variations of the Inspiron 531. You should have at least 2GB RAM for decent performance in Win 7, more would be better. You should also have a decent graphics card. Also, you can't "upgrade" from XP to Win 7, it's not a viable upgrade path. You will have to wipe the HDD & do a clean installation. All your data, programs, & files will be lost, so make sure to back them up before proceeding.

Try running this: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/...

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October 15, 2011 at 08:27:59
"You didn't list your system specs. There are many variations of the Inspiron 531."

Go here for how to find the Service tag "number":

Tell us what it is.

If you have changed how much ram you have installed, tell us how much you have now.

If you're not sure, Start - Run - type: msinfo32 (click OK or press Enter) .
What does it say on the right side of the resulting window beside Total Physical Memory ?

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October 15, 2011 at 09:22:19
Just to be sure I cover it all.....here's a benchmark report. Also, I was told by a rep at the Microsoft Store that I need to choose "Custom Install" and this will allow my upgrade. MS does sell an Upgrade version of the program. Uh oh.....maybe that 's intended for a Vista-to-XP Upgrade.....what do you think? Here's the Belarc report.....I did edit it some because therre was soooo much!

Computer Profile Summary
Computer Name: Yellowstone1639 (in MSHOME)
Profile Date: Saturday, October 15, 2011 10:18:12 AM
Advisor Version: 8.1p
Windows Logon: David

Plan for your next computer refresh...
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Operating System System Model
Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 3 (build 2600)
Install Language: English (United States)
System Locale: English (United States) Dell Inc. Inspiron 531 00
System Service Tag: D8QTCF1 (support for this PC)
Chassis Serial Number: D8QTCF1
Enclosure Type: Desktop
Processor a Main Circuit Board b
2.80 gigahertz AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core
256 kilobyte primary memory cache
2048 kilobyte secondary memory cache
64-bit ready
Multi-core (2 total)
Not hyper-threaded Board: Dell Inc. 0RY206
Serial Number: ..CN6986179205F7.
Bus Clock: 200 megahertz
BIOS: Dell Inc. 1.0.13 02/09/2009
Drives Memory Modules c,d
553.05 Gigabytes Usable Hard Drive Capacity
490.15 Gigabytes Hard Drive Free Space

TSSTcorp DVD+-RW TS-H653B SCSI CdRom Device [Optical drive]

Hitachi HDS721616PLA380 [Hard drive] (164.70 GB) -- drive 0, s/n PVD341Z2UX2DLK, rev P22OAB3A, SMART Status: Healthy
TEAC USB HS-CF Card USB Device [Hard drive] -- drive 1
TEAC USB HS-MS Card USB Device [Hard drive] -- drive 3
TEAC USB HS-SD Card USB Device [Hard drive] -- drive 4
TEAC USB HS-xD/SM USB Device [Hard drive] -- drive 2
WDC WD50 00AAKB-00H8A0 USB Device [Hard drive] (500.11 GB) -- drive 5 3008 Megabytes Usable Installed Memory

Slot 'DIMM_1' has 1024 MB (serial number 06167411)
Slot 'DIMM_2' has 1024 MB (serial number 0616D616)
Slot 'DIMM_3' has 512 MB (serial number DC1B3A43)
Slot 'DIMM_4' has 512 MB (serial number DC1B3A42)
Local Drive Volumes

c: (NTFS on drive 0) 52.65 GB 33.70 GB free
i: (NTFS on drive 5) 53.70 GB 41.82 GB free
j: (NTFS on drive 5) 446.41 GB 414.35 GB free
k: (NTFS on drive 0) 296 MB 293 MB free

Network Drives
None discovered
Users (mouse over user name for details) Printers
local user accounts last logon
David 10/15/2011 9:53:20 AM (admin)
Family 10/13/2011 7:04:49 PM (admin)
Kevin 10/14/2011 6:51:05 PM (admin)
UpdatusUser 10/15/2011 8:52:28 AM
local system accounts
Administrator never (admin)
ASPNET never
Becky never (admin)
Guest never
HelpAssistant never
SUPPORT_388945a0 never

Marks a disabled account; Marks a locked account hp psc 1310 series on USB001
Microsoft XPS Document Writer on XPSPort:

Controllers Display
NVIDIA nForce Serial ATA Controller (2x)
Primary IDE Channel [Controller]
Secondary IDE Channel [Controller]
Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE nForce 430 [Display adapter]
Acer X191W [Monitor] (19.1"vis, s/n L950B0293910, February 2007)
Bus Adapters Multimedia
Standard Enhanced PCI to USB Host Controller (2x)
Standard OpenHCD USB Host Controller
VIA Rev 5 or later USB Universal Host Controller (2x) Realtek High Definition Audio
Virus Protection [Back to Top] new Group Policies
AntiVir Desktop Version
Virus Definitions Version Up To Date
Realtime File Scanning On
None discovered
Communications Other Devices
Conexant D850 PCI V.92 Modem

NVIDIA nForce 10/100 Mbps Ethernet
primary Auto IP Address: / 24
Dhcp Server:
Physical Address: 00:1A:A0:64:01:B6

Networking Dns Servers:
HID-compliant consumer control device (3x)
HID-compliant device (2x)
USB Human Interface Device (4x)
hp psc 1310 series
HID Keyboard Device (2x)
HID-compliant mouse
NVIDIA Network Bus Enumerator
USB Composite Device (2x)
USB Mass Storage Device (2x)
USB Printing Support
USB Root Hub (5x)
psc 1310 (DOT4PRINT)

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Related Solutions

October 15, 2011 at 10:08:09
One more thing.....the Service Tag is D8QTCF1
AND....I checked again with Microsoft....Upgrade from XP to 7 is perfectly OK.

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October 15, 2011 at 11:01:48
"....the Service Tag is D8QTCF1"

Drivers & Downloads for Inspiron Desktop 531
Service Tag: D8QTCF1

The software for devices may be specific to your service tag specific configuration (only the devices your model came with are listed) , or not (there may be more possible devices listed than your model has).
Look in Device Manager in XP to see what it's listing for hardware devices, or find that in the results of a program such as the one you provided the results of running. Vista and Windows 7 has more built in drivers for devices than XP does, so there may be more drivers for devices listed for XP on the Dell site than are listed for Vista (or Windows 7).

Since the model has either XP or Vista software / drivers downloads available, you should have no problem with installing Windows 7 on it.

Since Windows 7 is essentially what Vista should have been in the first place and most things in it are identical to the same in Vista, if you can't find Windows 7 specific drivers for something, usually Vista drivers work fine.

One thing it's often important to do BEFORE you install the Upgrade....

NOTE that sometimes the resident module(s) of anti-malware programs - a part that runs all the time scanning for suspicious activity in the background - - will interfere with the proper installation of software, the software will not install properly, and you may get no indication of that at all while installing the software.
To avoid that possibility, you should always DISABLE the resident module(s) of anti-malware programs, BEFORE you install third party software (software other than most Microsoft Updates, etc., that did not come with Windows ), especially when it's a major or complicated software package.
E.g. if you are using the free or paid version of AVG, you should disable the Resident Shield in AVG's 's settings in Windows.
If you don't know how to do that, tell us which anti-malware software you are using.
When you are sure the software has installed correctly, re-enable the resident module(s).

If you're installing the 64 bit version of Windows 7, uninstall all installed anti-malware software BEFORE you run the upgrade !

Also, your anti-malware software may be a specific version for XP 32 bit only (all versions of XP except Pro 54 bit are 32 bit).

If you're not sure whether it's compatible with Windows 7 32 bit, uninstall all anti-malware software BEFORE you install the Windows 7 upgrade !

Your computer presently has 3gb of ram installed according to your info. That's sufficient to run Windows 7 well.

"NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE nForce 430 [Display adapter]"

If that's a graphics card installed in a mboard slot, that's the better situation.

If it's the onboard - built into the mboard - video adapter, your video and your 3gb of ram installed in the mboard will perform better if you install a graphics card in a mboard slot instead.

You haven't said whether the Upgrade DVD is for Windows 7 32 bit or 64 bit.

If it's for the 64 bit version of Windows 7, you can install up to and including the max amount of ram you can install in your model's mboard, but you MUST use drivers/software that are meant to be used with the 64 bit version of Windows 7 (or Vista).

If it's for the 32 bit version of Windows 7, 3gb of installed ram is an ideal max amount to have.

The 4gb virtual memory address limit for 32 bit operating systems.
An example of 3gb working better than 4gb in a 32 bit operating system.

See Response 6:

jam's explanation refers to links on other sties:


A better explanation I've seen.

If you have a 32 bit operating system and you have installed 4gb in the mboard, the amount of that ram available to Windows and the user is
4gb minus the amount of ram your devices require or have.
- minus the amount of ram shared with onboard video if you're using that
- and/or - minus the amount of ram your dedicated video card installed in a slot has.
If you have more than one video card installed in a slot,it would be minus the ram for all of them.
(and = Some mboard main chipsets have Hybrid video capability. If you have a PCI-E X16 video card installed in a mboard slot that is supported by that feature, it's often the default for both the onboard video and the video on the card to work at the same time, unless you change default bios Setup settings. In that case it would be minus the ram for both of them.)
- minus the amount of ram your sound adapter has, if that applies - e.g. sound cards installed in a mboard slot often have ram
- minus the amount of ram any other devices have,other than hard drives and optical drives,if that applies.

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October 15, 2011 at 11:59:52
Thanks Tubesandwires! Your Guidance looks right on! Although I haven't actually tried anything yet. Here is the other half of the Belarc Report....maybe you can help even more. And I'm not sure but I think I'm dealing with shared video memory.

Here's Belarc Pt 2......

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IP Device Type Device Details Device Roles Router Qwestmodem,
qwestmodem.domain.actdsltmp, Actiontec / PK5000 / #CPAA0041501605 DHCP Server, Gateway, Domain Name Server, Web Server Roku Windows XP Workstation Yellowstone1639 (in MSHOME),
yellowstone1639.domain.actdsltmp, Dell

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These required security hotfixes (using the 10/11/2011 Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary) were not found installed. Note: CIS benchmarks require that Critical and Important severity security hotfixes must be installed.
KB2572073 - Critical (details...)
KB2572078 - Critical (details...)

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Microsoft - Internet Explorer (Key: DYWP4-VDTPJ-R8292-7BPHC-4PCHQ)e
Microsoft - PowerShell 89383-100-0001260-04309
Microsoft - WebFldrs XP 12345-111-1111111-21373
Microsoft - Windows XP Home Edition (Key: DYWP4-VDTPJ-R8292-7BPHC-4PCHQ)e

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i Adobe Systems, Inc. - Shockwave Flash Version 11,0,1,152
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Installed Microsoft Hotfixes [Back to Top]
.NET Framework 2.0 Service Pack 2
KB958481 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB979909 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB2418241 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
KB2518864 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
KB2539631 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
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.NET Framework 3.0 Service Pack 2
KB958483 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB976769 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
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.NET Framework 3.5 SP1
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.NET Framework 4 Client Profile
KB2468871 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
KB2473228 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
KB2478663 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
KB2518870 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
KB2533523 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
KB2539636 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
KB2572078 on 10/12/2011 (details...)
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KB2468871 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
KB2487367 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
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Q832483 on 10/5/2011 (details...)
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KB968930 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
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KB973686 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB892130 on 10/6/2011 (details...)
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WM817787 (details...)
Q828026 on 10/5/2011 (details...)
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KB954155_WM9 on 10/6/2011 (details...)
KB973540_WM9 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
KB973540_WM9L on 10/6/2011 (details...)
KB975558_WM8 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
KB978695_WM9 on 10/6/2011 (details...)
KB979402_WM9L on 10/6/2011 (details...)
KB2378111_WM9 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
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KB909520 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
KB971961-IE8 on 10/8/2011 (details...)
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KB982381-IE8 on 10/7/2011 (details...)
KB2447568-IE8 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
KB2510531-IE8 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
KB2544521-IE8 on 10/11/2011 (details...)
KB2559049-IE8 on 10/11/2011 (details...)
KB2586448-IE8 on 10/13/2011 (details...)
KB971513 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
KB2564958 on 10/13/2011 (details...)
KB811113[SP] on 10/5/2011 (details...)
KB888111WXPSP2 on 10/6/2011 (details...)
KB936929[SP] on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB923561 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB946648 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB950762 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB950974 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB951376-V2 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB951748 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB951978 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
KB952004 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB952287 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB952954 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB954550-V5 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB955069 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB955759 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB956572 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB956744 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
KB956802 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB956803 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB956844 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
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KB960225 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
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SP4 (continued)
KB960803 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB960859 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
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KB967715 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
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KB969059 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB970238 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB970430 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB971029 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
KB971468 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
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KB979559 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB979683 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
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KB980195 on 10/6/2011 (details...)
KB980218 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
KB980232 on 10/9/2011 (details...)
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KB981322 on 10/10/2011 (details...)
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a. Processor clock speed is measured at computer start-up, and on laptops may be impacted by power option settings.
b. Data may be transferred on the bus at one, two, or four times the Bus Clock rate.
c. Memory slot contents may not add up to Installed Memory if some memory is not recognized by Windows.
d. Memory slot contents is reported by the motherboard BIOS. Contact system vendor if slot contents are wrong.
e. This is the manufacturer's factory installed product key rather than yours. You can change it to your product key here http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?Lin... for Windows, or here http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=... for Office.
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October 15, 2011 at 13:36:42
If the monitor is plugged into a video port up high on the back of the case where most of or all of the ports are, it's an onboard video adapter it's plugged into and it's sharing the ram installed in the mboard.(An onboard - built into the mboard - video adapter IS NOT a video CARD ! )

If there is a video port further down on the back of the case in a card slot by itself that the monitor is plugged into, that's a video card (a video adapter on a removable card), it has its own ram, and the ram installed in the mboard is probably not being shared with it.

If you have video ports in both locations, your mboard has onboard video but usually installing a video card in a PCI-E X16 slot causes the mboard's bios to automatically disable the onboard video and the ram installed in the mboard being shared with it - in that case the onboard video port produces no video whern there's a card in the PCI-E X16 slot.

There are drivers listed for video cards on the Dell site for your model, but I'm not sure whether your mboard also has onboard video.

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October 15, 2011 at 18:46:02
"Upgrade from XP to 7 is perfectly OK"

Depends on what you mean by "upgrade". As I stated, XP is NOT a viable upgrade path to Win 7. A Custom Installation will result in you losing all your programs & data. Nothing will transfer over. Your programs will need to be reinstalled from scratch & it's possible that some of them will not work at all. Did you download & run the Win 7 Upgrade Advisor I posted in response # 1?

This was taken from following Microsoft link. Read what I put in bold:

"To upgrade your PC from Windows XP to Windows 7, you'll need to select the Custom option during Windows 7 installation. A custom installation doesn't preserve your programs, files, or settings. It's sometimes called a "clean" installation for that reason.

A custom installation is more complex, and it can sometimes take a couple of hours to complete."


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October 15, 2011 at 20:59:45
OK, rider. I guess I have grown accustomed to the total wipe of my system every year or so. Losing all my programs and having to start from scratch is routine for me. I guess I'm not good enough to pull off a reinstall with full functionality afterwards. So I will do a "clean install" and see what happens. Wish me luck.

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October 16, 2011 at 15:38:43
Go to the Microsoft web site and read everything you can find regarding using the Windows 7 Upgrade DVD, THEN decide what you need to do.

If you do need to do it, copy or backup all the personal data that you DO NOT want to lose to some other location other than the hard drive partition you are going to install Windows 7 on, BEFORE you do the upgrade.
You DO NOT need to copy or backup programs or data that you can easily install again.
In XP, ALL of your personal data is saved here by default, unless you saved it to a non-default location :
C:\Documents and Setings\(your user name)\(your user name's files and subfolders)

XP has a Files and Settings transfer wizard program, but I have not used it. It's results may be useless if you are installing Windows 7 64 bit.

If the upgrade is for Windows 7 64 bit, you may need to obtain Windows 7 64 bit compatible versions of programs that you were using that you want to install again.

The Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor will tell you at least some of which programs you have installed in XP that are not compatible with being used in Windows 7.

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October 16, 2011 at 18:57:38
Thanks again tubes. I am still disturbed that the Dell site does not show my model (Dell Inspiron 531) as compatible with Win 7 but I'm going ahead anyway. I'm installing to a newly created partition. We'll see what happens.

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October 16, 2011 at 20:44:38
"I am still disturbed that the Dell site does not show my model (Dell Inspiron 531) as compatible with Win 7 but I'm going ahead anyway"

They're only listing the model series they have TESTED. The 531 series not being on the list doesn't necessarily indicate it's not compatible with Windows 7. Since it IS compatible with Vista, and Windows 7 is merely what Vista should have been and most of it is identical to Vista in the background, I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't be.
If Microsoft's Upgrade Advisor says it will be fine with Windows 7, then it will be.

Similarly, when you have a retail mboard model, they usually have a list of ram modules they have TESTED with the model, but it's a rather limited list. You can use any ram that is listed when use your retail mboard or brand name system model number to look up which ones can use on a ram manufacturer's or ram distributor's web site that has a ram configurator or similar, which gives you many more to choose from.

If you can't actually do an upgrade (use your existing settings etc.) from XP to Windows 7, then you would have been better off buying the OEM version of Windows 7, which is always a FULL version, from a local place that has computer parts and software that has it available. It's required that you buy hardware along with it but the hardware need not be major. The OEM version is cheaper than the retail FULL versions because you provide your own support - there is no limited time free support from Microsoft.

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October 17, 2011 at 13:56:02
Don't waste your money upgrading that old computer. Just keep it as xp. When it no longer works then buy a new system with windows 7 on it.

1/3 of highway deaths are caused by drunks. The rest are by people who can't drive any better than a drunk.

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