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Keep Your Windows 7 Migration from Going South

Created: 30 Mar 2010 • Updated: 03 Jun 2014
Gary T Brown's picture
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A recent survey conducted before and after the launch of Windows 7 revealed that 20 percent of IT professionals polled have sped up their timetable for upgrading to Windows 7. Those polled said the operating system’s speed and user interface are the main reasons to upgrade.
 
But upgrading an entire business isn’t like flipping a switch, and being hasty will make your migration go south quickly. As with any journey, migration to Windows 7 requires a plan and preparation. Here are some guidelines to ensure a smooth ride:
 
Formulate a road map: Before you can successfully migrate to Windows 7, you need to know what is in front of you.  Haste to upgrade too quickly can be like a bird attempting to flee the nest before its wings are ready. Avoid looking for shortcuts, and start by assembling a team that represents key stakeholders such as IT operations, security operations, application testing and packaging, network administration and  procurement. Some early movers report that line of business managers have also come to the table, either to ensure the migration does not impact their core business applications or with the aim of accelerating the move to enable new capability. Armed with a structured migration strategy, you can begin to lay out the steps you need to undertake to complete this project. Be ready for this step to take 1-3 months. During this step, the team can also re-evaluate hardware vendors, software vendors, security strategies and long-term management strategies.
Pack accordingly: Take time to assess your organization’s existing applications, software and other data files. Organizations that don’t do this may migrate far more than is necessary, kind of like packing three full suitcases for one overnight stay. Identify what applications will function on Windows 7 and what applications will not. Start with business-critical applications and work down to the least important. IT departments also tend to produce desktop images like rabbits, and most of them are unnecessary. By reducing images to only the essential standard images, IT can expect less roadside assistance (help-desk calls) and more happy travelers (end users). And if that’s not enough, this step will even save you money.
Do a pre-flight test: Conduct a simple pilot testof the new operating system, applications and custom settings before a full deployment. This will help you see how it goes and let you make any necessary adjustments without needing to break out the oxygen masks or flotation devices. First, make any required network changes (identified in Roadmap exercise) to support the migration. Then, identify a group of test candidates including a variety of departments and user types to ensure organizations are testing the most common variables they’ll encounter. Finally, run the test, and make any needed adjustments to the plan.
Take Flight: When successful test has been completed, you have the all clear to take off. Depending on the number of total clients being managed, as well as the complexity of the environment, this will need to be done in phases.
 
Successful migration to Windows 7 is possible, but it doesn’t happen by chance. Formulate a plan, avoid taking shortcuts, only take what’s needed, and test it out before hitting the road. Taking a deliberate approach may make the journey longer than your organization would like, but it will prevent your migration from going south.

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