Tactical Advice

7 Steps to a Successful Windows 7 Migration

Follow these seven steps for a successful Windows 7 upgrade.
7 Steps to a Successful Windows 7 Migration

With official support for Microsoft's Windows XP operating system set to end in 2014, many businesses are making the switch and upgrading to Windows 7 now. But what's the best way to go about upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7?

According to Swathi Turlapaty, an online community manager for Symantec, the keys to a successful Windows 7 migration include a sound migration plan and an integrated, automated solution for speeding the implementation process. Turlapaty recommends the following seven-step approach for companies as they devise their plans.

Step 1: Assess your environment and plan your deployment. Inventory devices across the network and determine hardware readiness through reports. Prioritize applications to test and migrate. Evaluate costs and service-level agreements, and then identify potential risks.

Step 2: Build standard Windows 7 images. Create standard images with settings and configuration for multiple users. Include applications that are required on all computers in the base image. Create a generic image.

Step 3: Prepare and verify applications. Identify the applications supported on Windows 7. Test applications on Windows 7 and with each other to ensure compatibility in your environment. Remediate issues through policies, packaging, virtualization or — if absolutely necessary — debugging and code changes.

Step 4: Capture user settings and personality. If there’s one thing that makes or breaks an operating system migration, it’s the successful transfer of each user’s unique network, OS, application and data settings, along with other customizations. In this step, identify global settings to migrate (printer and network drive mappings, favorites, security settings and the like); determine applications settings to migrate, including custom applications; include data to be moved or require end users to transfer it; and let users know about things that won’t be migrated (such as MP3 files).

Step 5: Assemble and automate. Now that the pieces are in place, you need to hook them together and encapsulate the templates and files into an automated job or a workflow sequence. (This ensures that when one task is complete, the next is triggered automatically.) Create a single process flow that includes the following steps: Deploy the image (Step 2); install prepared applications (Step 3); capture personality settings (Step 4); restore personality settings (Step 5).

Step 6: Migrate systems. Position any additional servers purchased as part of the deployment plan in Step 1. Make any required network adjustments, such as enabling multicasting. Identify test candidates. Document test cases. Create a phased pilot. Perform migration.

Step 7: Measure and report. Post-migration reporting and analysis will enable your executive team to track the migration from a distance and help you analyze key aspects of the migration. Identify the total number of migrated systems; report problems encountered during migration; provide overall migration status and verify licenses.

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About the Author

Alan Joch

Alan Joch

Alan Joch has been an independent business and technology writer for more than a decade. His expertise includes server and desktop virtualization, cloud computing, emerging mobile applications, cybersecurity and green IT. Follow him on Twitter @alanallegro


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