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Decent Sized K-12 District Migrates

Created: 18 Jul 2010 • 1 comment
ablumhardt's picture
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Given the task of migrating our 3600 computer environment to Windows 7 sounded easy enough... 

Last October I was asked to begin the exploration into the realm of Windows 7.  I found very quickly that if we thought we were bleeding edge before it was nothing compared to being early adopters of Windows 7.  After several very late nights of troubled syspreping and failed image creation/deployment.  I finally made our first succesful images of windows 7.  We began migrating our test users in late November, and eventually an entire school by December.  It was rocky to say the least... We managed to take the problems one by one and eventually it has led to today.  As of right now we are a District running about 90% Windows 7 and we couldn't be happier.  Most every user finds that it runs faster than Windows XP, and even comment on its stylish new looks.

Well thats the short summary of our story of migrating to Windows 7.  Now for a short list of recommendations before/after/during your migration.

GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS
1.  Make sure you know how you're going to license your copies of Windows 7, if its going to be KMS, be sure to have that server up and running. (This server can double for Office 2010 KMS as well)

2.  If its possible in your organization, begin seriously thinking about upgrading to a 2008R2 Domain, there are so many awesome Group policy features etc. that become available with this upgrade.

3.  If you are using Deployment Solution, I recommend making sure you have the newest service pack available, I found that upgrading as I went along made it easier and easier.

4.  Print Server, I went ahead and moved to server 2008R2 it makes it a lot easy to work with Windows 7 once you get used to having x64 and x86 print drivers. (Make sure you do a GUI install, core server is nice and worked for a while but failed miserably later on.)

IMAGE BUILDING SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS
1.  If you use Deployment Solution, make sure you learn how to use the scripted OS install, its amazing for building Win7 Images with sysprep answer sheets.

2.  When you are actually deploying windows 7 images research all of the configuration possiblities with sysprep, it has a LOT of configuration power.

I know there are a ton of hurdles then this that we came across but these were the big ones that stopped us dead a few times.  Just remember it's going to be a frustrating migration, but it is greener on the other side of this fence.  We have zero plans to ever downgrade back to XP, and attack plans for the remaining 10% of our districts computers.

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kubasa's picture

Interesting to hear.  We are a school district with about 2900 systems and going through our migration right now.  Our biggest hurdle was our curriculum software.  When we started planning for Vista with our curriculum staff, we realized that a lot of our ancient curriculum software packages were not going to make the jump so we ended up skipping Vista to give curriculum time to update their software and that plan worked our extremely well.  Curriculum is happy because they could update their software and we got a better OS.

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