I think I read somewhere that this was a separate process.
No, not at all. If that's what you read somewhere, then I'd suggest you no longer read ANYTHING from that site, and do your best to forget anything that was written there. That's not at all correct.
Which is good news, of course.
I have both Windows 7 and Windows XP
Just to clarify, you have TWO computers, yes? One with Windows XP, and one with Windows 7 -- is this correct? Note that the Windows XP "mode" inside Windows 7 doesn't qualify as a separate install of XP, for the purpose of hardware interaction.
One of the best USB2 cards -- and actually one of the best cards, period -- is the ATI 600 USB card. (There are some really excellent internal computer cards available, too, but I get the feeling you're a bit of a computer novice, and that could be a painful journey -- the USB path may be easier to follow.)
Get it from Amazon
for about $50 shipped: http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.ht...reative=390957
Yes, it is used (pre-owned) -- you won't find new ones. Almost ALL of the best video hardware was made from 2001-2006, with a few decent devices here and there from 2007-2010. There slim pickings out there these days, even among pre-owned gear. And you'll almost always be buying it online, the local store will have nothing but low-grade crap.
But it takes MORE than simply a capture card...
The other issue with VHS is that it was a noisy signal. The TV hid this from you, but the computer has no such mask. The incoming signal must be clean and as pure as possible. Otherwise there will be severe quality problems, or possibly so many issues that the computer will refuse to record/transfer it ("capture" it, to use the technical term).
For addressing that, you'll almost always need a good VCR. And by "good" I mean an S-VHS or D-VHS VCR, not something that was used over and over again at home, as bought from a consumer store (Target, Best Buy, Walmart, etc).
And even beyond that, some tapes are so full of errors that a timebase corrector is needed.
I know -- it's starting to sound expensive and complicated -- and it honestly sort of is.
All those cheap little $25-100 devices sold in stores NEVER warn you of these problems. Even the better or pro-end devices come with no such warnings. They either do not care (profit over people), or they expect you'll know enough about video to have already planned for this (assuming things that simply are not so).
You would do best to read these guides on this site:
Full list of related video guides, by indexes:
Also... Plan B:
How many tapes do you have? If you have less than 50 tapes, it's often more economical to simply pay a service to do the transfer work for you. (For example, this site provides transfer services, see the Our Services links
on the menu at the top of the page.) Even at $20-30 a tape, you're looking at breaking even OR having a savings long-term, after considering all the hardware and software needs, to say nothing of all the learning time you'll have to do. And even then, the pro work will likely be better. Just wanted to throw that out there. You don't HAVE to do it all yourself. (Just be sure you don't go to a strip mall, or use somebody like Walgreens or Wolf -- the work done there is often inferior, using the same junk you could have gotten at Walmart or Best Buy.)
Hope that helps clear up some of the mystery of converting your VCR tapes to DVDs. (Or for Youtube, etc.)