I've finally gotten all of the apps that I've been using on Windows XP installed on my new Windows 7 laptop and that required that I buy new 64-bit versions of some of them. I also discovered that about half of the printers that I used to be able to get to don't have Windows 7 drivers, so they are out of the mix. The hardware industry has got to love Microsoft for forcing hardware upgrades in other areas, such as printers, too.
Getting data over was relatively easy, using a large external disk as the go-between from system-to-system; except for old emails from Outlook Express. Getting them over and into Windows Live Mail is still a work in progress, it is do-able, but the process requires a lot of manual intervention, since the folder structure from OE doesn't quite come across.
There are also surprises galore when trying to use the new Office 2010 apps against the old Office 2004 data files. I'm not sure if the pain would have been less had I not skipped the Vista experience. The basic problem is that the apps people, in their enthusiasm to add new features sometimes obscure or remove the old features that I was used to seeing and using. I'm having a dickens of a time figuring out how to get the stuff that I do every month in Excel done on the new 2010 version. I can find most of the features that I used to use, but it takes a long while of sloughing through their new Excel interface to find them. My files from the old XP versions don't come over cleanly either. I'm not sure if there's a translation step that I'm missing, but it is frustrating right now.
I'm sure that once I get through this painful transition phase that I'll start to appreciate some of the new features; however, many of them I just don't need or want getting in my way. For now, in order to get stuff done; I've gone back to my old XP laptop. I can't let this upgrade just stop what needs to get done. So, for now anyway; the new machine is for testing and learning (when I get time) and the trusty old XP machine is for getting real work done.