The hardware part of the upgrade went surprisingly smoothly. A bit of footering around in the bios was required to get my ram set up correctly and hard disks recognised but nothing too scary.
Getting the software setup was not so easy. Windows 7 does not allow a direct upgrade from XP so I had to do a clean install and rebuild everything from scratch. That meant re-installing drivers followed by key programs followed by porting over my user data.
Unexpectedly porting over my personal data turned out to be the biggest headache. I thought I had this covered because I installed my old hard disk in the machine right next to the brand new windows 7 disk figuring to copy everything over at leisure. I had reckoned without NTFS security restrictions unfortunately which decided that I didn't own the old files and therefore wasn't authorised to look at them. Sure I can get around it with administrator privileges but that is incredibly tedious because I have to change to ownership of every file individually. I have thousands of personal files so that isn't going to happen.
I find it hard to believe that there is no Administrator mode over-ride that just lets you see everything without having to change permissions every time but there doesn't seem to be. A normal administrator account doesn't work even the secret hidden administrator account doesn't work and the tantalisingly named "God Mode" turns out to be not quite so powerful as you might imagine.
I did come up with a solution in the end though - I booted up Puppy Linux from a CD and it was not so fussy about permissions. I used Puppy to copy the files I wanted over to my new disk and it handily left them visible to everybody. Puppy is just a beautiful little operating system that runs entirely in Ram at lightning speed. If you have never tried it I recommend doing so just to see your PC in a completely different light. Sadly I have never found a use for these live CD operating systems other than as repair kits but this one is mighty purdy.