I was given the opportunity of installing Windows 7 Ultimate (32bit edition) to 2 laptops:
Toshiba Satellite A45-S121, 1.25GB RAM, Intel Celeron 2.8GHz
Dell Inspiron E1505, 512MB RAM, Intel T2050 1.6GHz
These 2 originally came with Windows XP.
Had a very good experience in general though the Dell had issues with the DVD ROM drive. I tried to extract and use the Toshiba DVD ROM but with no success so I have to give credit to the website:
for doing a good job, step by step information on building a bootable SD card (with my external multi card reader) and was able to coax the BIOS to boot from USB followed by CD / DVD ROM (which would be useless anyway since it was not detecting the DVD ROM. My only pet peeve about the Dell BIOS was the fact that they did not let you choose which order the boot sequence would be, it was just a select yes or no and top most option is Floppy, IDE, USB, CD DVD, and lastly LAN / NIC.
It was a clean install and in general the hardware was in good condition (especially the hard drives) which pretty much made it a breeze installing the OS. I wouldn't be surprised if I had simply done an upgrade, the installation would probably be flawed. Upon checking the Microsoft website in general, yes they recommended for XP systems, you need to do a clean install.
All data / information on the HDD wasn't needed / salvaged so that was definitely a time saver.
The Toshiba had some issues though, because it doesn't have an integrated WiFi NIC, the product key for the Windows 7 was not authenticated and at the bottom right it had indicated that the copy of Windows was not authentic. That went away as soon as I got it plugged online and registered. The sound and video cards did not have the proper drivers, so I had to do an update driver and seems like windows was able to find the audio driver (probably a generic one) but not for the video driver.
For older systems, this is as good as it gets. Still one more chore / task, will probably have to share the Toshiba DVD drive and do the MS Office 2010 install for the Dell, else I'd definitely check out ways to install once again from USB.