eclipse can barely update from 3.7.1 to 3.7.2, never mind from 3.7 to 4.2.
you're taking the life of your development environment in your hands if you try to make that much of an upgrade to an existing eclipse development environment. i don't know about you, but my development environment is too important to risk upgrading.
always create a new eclipse directory and new eclipse workspaces when you want to change your development environment.
unzip eclipse 4.2 to a new directory, and add your plug-ins one at a time. you can use bananeweizen's method to copy the eclipse 3.7 plug-ins, or you can add them manually. it's probably a good idea to see if the plug-ins you use have been upgraded for eclipse 4.2.
create a new eclipse 4.2 workspace, and copy your project code from your eclipse 3.7 workspace. if you discover a problem later, you can fall back to eclipse 3.7 and your eclipse 3.7 workspaces.
when you have an eclipse 4.2 environment that works, zip it back up and keep the zip file so you can restore your eclipse 4.2 environment in the event your eclipse gets corrupted.
never ever think of changing your working environment.
took me 2 minutes to migrate (longest part is the download ;)):
download the last release of eclipse : http://download.eclipse.org/eclipse/downloads/
extract the archive, launch the new version and select your existing workspace
from the menu file -> import
select install/from existing installation
it will let you choose which extension you want to keep (still compatible)
note: i tested this manipulation from an eclipse 4.2 to 4.3. i'm adding this answer because i think this solution is fast, easy and safe compared to the other answer.
i just added http://download.eclipse.org/releases/juno/ to window -> pref -> install/update -> available software sites
after that you can update your software at help -> check for updates
seems to work fine for me
download the platform runtime binary from http://download.eclipse.org/eclipse/downloads/drops4/r-4.2-201206081400/. that is basically an "eclipse without plugins". run it (on a fresh workspace), select file -> import -> installation -> from existing installation and point the wizard to your existing 3.7 directory. check "install latest versions", hit finish.
that will install the latest versions of the plugins found in your 3.7 installation into your 4.2 installation. sadly most people don't know this feature and install each plugin manually when upgrading.
bonus anwser: with the same wizard you can also export the list of installed features into a file that you can share with colleagues, so you have all installed the same plugins.
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