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Migrating to Windows 7? Get Started Here

Created: 04 Feb 2010 • Updated: 03 Jun 2014 • 28 comments
Swathi Turlapaty's picture
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The early reviews are in, and it looks as if users who have made the move to Microsoft’s new Windows 7 are giving the operating system high marks.

In one survey conducted recently by Technologizer, more than 550 early adopters were asked to rate their overall satisfaction with the OS. Of all new Windows 7 users, 70% said that they were “extremely satisfied” and another 24 percent said they were “somewhat satisfied” with the operating system.

Reviews of the platform have tended to highlight the following capabilities:

  • Productivity features like Libraries and Federated Search accelerate housekeeping and other routine tasks so users can focus on contributing real value.
  • Security enhancements such as BitLocker and AppLocker isolate and protect critical information and system assets from theft, loss, and corruption.
  • Connectivity improvements such as DirectAccess and BranchCache deliver on Microsoft's promise of secure, trouble-free access across the LAN and beyond.

For enterprises that were put off by the instabilities and compatibility woes that dogged Windows Vista, the predecessor to Windows 7, the time to migrate may be at hand.

That said, migrating to Windows 7 can be a daunting task. Use this Tech Brief as your guide to getting started. For a deeper dive, follow the link at the end of the article.

Seven steps to Windows 7

Having a sound migration plan and an integrated, automated solution are key ingredients of a successful migration. Symantec, which has migrated more than 300 million desktops and notebooks to Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and now Windows 7, recommends the following seven-step approach. (Keep in mind that not all the steps are linear, and often you’ll need to go back to a previous step based on new information.)

  1. Step 1: Asses your environment and plan your deployment. Discover devices across the network and capture inventory. Determine hardware readiness through reports. Prioritize applications to test and migrate. Evaluate costs and SLAs, and identify potential risks
  2. 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 generic image.
  3.  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.
  4. Step 4: Capture user settings and personality. If there’s one thing that makes or breaks an OS migration, it’s the successful transfer of each computer and end users’ unique network, operating system, application, and data settings, along with other customizations. In this step, identify global settings to migrate (printer and network drive mappings, favorites, security settings, etc.); determine applications settings to migrate, including custom applications; include data to be moved or require end users to transfer; and communicate with end users about things that won’t get migrated (e.g., MP3 files)
  5. 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 completes, the next is triggered automatically.) Create 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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. In this step, identify the total number of migrated systems; report problems encountered during migration; provide overall migration status; verify licenses.

Why Symantec?

Symantec solutions automate the Windows 7 migration process from beginning to end, assessing the environment, preserving user settings and data, and removing the need to touch each computer during the upgrade. Migrations with Symantec tools are fast, easy to carry out, and less expensive than other methods. For more detailed information, see the Symantec Windows 7 Resource Center for Business Customers.

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Pascal KOTTE's picture

Must say most our customers plan a mixed scenario, not overall migration, as a step1, for new hardware support & jump to x64 support for clients, bypassing the XP x64 step.
So a mixed clients XP x32 + W7 x64 in end 2010. I think less 30% end 2010 are plan to be W7.
For sure, if we can propose a simple upgrade process using Altiris, for the existing XP hardware, we will be able to upper this %. We work on that, but customers don't really ask for it. They don't want to invest more (time, not only money) for having all PC clients under W7 end this year, & prefer delay 2011 or 2012.

~Pascal @ Kotte.net~ Do you speak French? Et utilisez Altiris: venez nous rejoindre sur le GUASF

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UnitedMike's picture

Windows 7 is much better than Vista...XP has shown that not many companies wanted to move away from it, especially with Vista being so poor. Windows 7 will change that.
Windows 8 is supposed to be out next year though... =(

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Fthanks's picture

Still using XP. I see no reason to upgrade it as long as we still satisfy with the current version. Everytime that we do the upgrade it means need for more diskspace, need of better CPU. If someone tell me that the new version consume less resource and work faster, I will go for it.

Do it today - Not tomorrow. รับแปลเอกสาร

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EdT's picture

Migration from XP to Windows 7 will be a BIG project for any corporate to undertake. As well as the usual compatibility testing that will be required for applications (eg no support for 16 bit apps with Vista or Win 7), there are going to have to be reviews of the packaging processes used to ensure that deployments to the more secure Windows 7 will still work. Issues such as code signing and custom action permissions will need to be worked through.
The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit for Windows 7 also brings in some changes, so there will be a learning curve to go through with that, as well as hardware compatibility testing. Device drivers for PCs, Printers and other devices will need to be checked for availability within the Win 7 framework, and some older devices may need to be phased out.

Of course, the same pain would have been required for a Vista migration, and given the neglible perceived benefits of Vista over XP, Vista migrations were avoided by nearly all companies. Now that XP is long in the tooth and support from MS is ending, Windows 7 finally offers a worthwhile platform to migrate to, as it's able to run effectively on quite old hardware, and has quite comprehensive driver support out of the box.

Those who went through the pain of a Vista migration are well positioned to move to Windows 7, and ultimately, those who go through an XP to Windows 7 migration will undoubtedly find any future transition to Windows 8 to be a far easier undertaking.

Going back a decade, Windows 2000 was followed quite closely by Windows XP, which was perceived by many as being a "finished" version of Win2K.  No doubt there are features that were planned for Win 7 which were not implemented due to time available before launch - if I recall correctly there was much talk about a totally different file system a few years ago, and as security continues to be a big concern, it may well be that MS plan some substantial changes to make future operating systems much more secure by default. Only time will tell.

If your issue has been solved, please use the "Mark as Solution" link on the most relevant thread.

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Jason Short's picture

Below is a link to an example Windows 7 Migration video built with Symantec Workflow and Altiris Deployment Solution.

www.screencast.com/t/ZWI2Yzlh

The video is about 15 min and shows a full Windows 7 Migration.

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Pascal KOTTE's picture

Hi, I see in this video a Workflow (WF7) that is running a DS 6.9 job.
Does the latest Workflow is really able to include DS 6.9 jobs? The API/connector are included to do that easily?

~Pascal @ Kotte.net~ Do you speak French? Et utilisez Altiris: venez nous rejoindre sur le GUASF

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jsola's picture

We were able to see this migration in person at a Symantec event at the Hard Rock in South Florida the other day. This was impressive. Currently we are using WorkFlow internally to automate paper processes that we still do by hand. This has been a huge learning curve but once the process is done then its all uphill from there! It is amazing that you can almost workflow just about anything! Great product!

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jjesse's picture

Workflow can drive DS 6.9 jobs.  

There are two approachs to build a workflow for migration one is to allow the person to schedule the migration themselves, and the other is to build it to do a mass migration.

Depends on how you are migrating your compnay  

Jonathan Jesse Practice Principal ITS Partners

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Phillipe's picture

Windows 7 is a blast, no questions there. I wish that all Microsoft products were so well-designed and executed.

However. We are still not sure about migrating to it because of only one concern... Windows 8! The dilemma is simple -- is it really worth migrating when Windows 8 is already on the horizon? Does anyone know if Microsoft officially announced the release date for Windows 8?

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Terry Mills's picture

Phillipe, there is and always will be a new version just around the corner. 

Windows 7 is slick and the best Windows OS so far.  We are now reaping the rewards of rolling out Windows 7 to our entire company, with just under 300 desktops and laptops.  It took 6 weeks, from inception to all machines built and project completion, this included implementing CMS 7 and application packaging.  We now have fewer support calls and a staff that doesn't feel technologically left behind.  

We used DS6.9 for image deployment and NS7 for applications.  There was very little hardware that required replacement and users needed very little trainining.

I did a quick google and the rumour is Windows 8 in 2012.  That will have given Window 7 three years.  What if Windows 9 is three years after that?

There's always another version in the pipeline.

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jsola's picture

Heads up to a lot of people who want to Migrate to windows 7. We are in BETA currently in our company and have already found issues with SEP MR4 and older. The firewall works sporadically on windows 7. We found the most stable version of SEP to use at this moment is MR5. Also, keep in mind that this is just the antivirus / firewall configuration. we are still working our way to blocking of removable media. We will keep you all posted with the most current updates.

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Chinchilla's picture

I've been using it for months and had only one issue which was mainly Intels fault. If you're using an Intel Mobile 4 series and having trouble running Aero Glass, the problem is with your BIOS virtualization settings. Make sure VT-D is not enabled. Aside from that though, it has been running flawlessly.

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Ernie DeVries's picture

Symantec Anti-Virus Corporate Edition will roll out to a client just fine using the centralized management console, with one exception - the "This is Spam" button is missing. It's impossible to tell if the rest of the package is doing anything at all.  As a non-profit this is unfortunate because it stops us dead in our tracks until we can upgrade to "End-Point Protection" since Symantec isn't offering any kind of upgrade path that I can tell.

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ziggy's picture

Thank you. This was good to review.  Especially since it was a topic of our recent Tech Days event.

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Windows7Guy's picture

Hello SwathiTurlapaty,

I will tell you from first hand experience, all of my systems have been converted to Windows 7. I am not just saying it to say because I am affiliated with Microsoft. I can truly stand behind this product and tell you straight away it works very reliably, fast and extremely stable. The 64bit version is a real powerhouse as well.

Anyways, what to say about Windows 7?

Let's check out the features!
NEW FEATURES:
There are several new features that are available with Windows 7 that will assist you with deployment and management of a large number of workstations. Enterprise IT infrastructures are increasingly complex to manage. The Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) is a dynamic desktop solution that is available as a subscription for Software Assurance customers. The solution suite enhances application deployment and compatibility, increases IT responsiveness and end user uptime, and helps reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) of your desktop software and IT management. To learn more about this package, please go here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/enterprise/products/mdop/default.aspx
Also now available is MDT 2010 (Microsoft Deployment Tool) which will help you create images and automate the OS and application installations, data migration, and desktop configuration process. To learn more, please go here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd744519(WS.10).aspx
Microsoft does have an official Windows 7 Support Forum specifically for IT Pros located here http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/category/w7itpro/ . It is supported by product specialists as well as engineers and support teams. You may want to also check the threads available there for additional assistance and feedback.
Also, if you would like to read what other users have said about their positive experience with Windows 7, you may want to check out the following sites: http://www.winsupersite.com/ and  http://www.edbott.com/weblog/

John M
Microsoft Windows Client Team

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kubasa's picture

Thanks for the good reference articles and thanks for the Microsoft information John M.  Hopefully Altiris will start to incorporate more the Microsoft's tools in it's imaging and image preparation processes and instructions.  Microsoft has a whole set of really great tools with Windows 7 that are free and add a lot of functionality and flexibity.  Once I stepped outside of my narrow "Altiris only" shell and started exploring some of these tools, I was able to add a lot of functionality beyond what Altiris offers.  These tools are worth looking at and they are the future of Windows imaging.

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way_ne's picture

Windows 7 may never be implemented here as Windows 8 is right around the corner. We are still using Windows XP and may upgrade to Windows Vista first to avoid the new operating system fee.
Good brief concise summary of things that would have been needed to do if not for Symantic.

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Jay Strickmore's picture

Thanks for the tips.

Granted, I'm only "overseeing" the administration of 60 machines, I am still happy to report that Windows 7 has been a complete dream in terms of stability and security relative to XP (which we just upgraded about 20 machines from). In my opinion, I would recommend moving away from XP as soon as possible unless your boxes are being protected by a few layers of network security and anti-virus/malware softwares.

Also, before you migrate, Swathi's suggestion about maintaining user settings and personalities is a huge step towards maintaing happy end users. We implemented an online survey after the migration to W7 to check out how people were adjusting and they actually mentioned that they were please to have the settings remain. If possible, I highly recommend the extra step it takes.

Jay Strickmore | goldenrule.com

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jcbrown's picture

Windows 7 is extremely reliable and most efficient operating systems Windows have ever made and the voting figures show that. &0% of the users are perfectly satisfied and the rest few numbers are just satisfied. The reason for this is that Windows 7 is built on the basis of the most successful and widely used operating system the Windows XP. Windows 7 is a right blend of Windows Vista and Windows XP which is released in many entities and hence the migration won’t be so tough.

Brown Erik  |

 

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Constantine's picture

i ve migrated almost 40 % of my clients at work.

works fine than XP btw

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jackst's picture

I was actually looking for more information about Windows 7, so I am happy that I found this article that is providing details about migrating to Windows 7. I hope to find out that Windows 7 is better than Windows XP.

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Constantine's picture

also this OS works more flexible than previous one...

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JoeM420's picture

This was very helpful for me to switch over to Windows 7 So far it was running without any issues.

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UFO's picture

Few days ago Symantec 2010 Windows 7 Migration Study become available.

You can view PDF by visiting this URL:

http://www.industryforge.com/symantec/windows7/Symantec-2010-Windows-7-Migration-Report--Global-Final-2010-10-19.pdf

It contains data from almost 1400 companies around the world which already did migration to Windows 7.

STS: DLP

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JoeM420's picture

I checked out that pdf and it was very helpful. Had some really good things that I was not aware of.

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beatls@sohu.com's picture

1、 backup server is IBM X3650 m3 whichi support VT-D;

2、 tape library is  FC adapter;

3、  can rehat kvm VM connect to FC tape library ?

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nego's picture

 I fully agree with John M.

TCO, ROI are always top of mind as you figure out how to manage your top and bottom lines. As a CIO looking to make a difference for your company, your IT desktop investments is surely one area to focus on, more so given your decisions on Windows 7 and Office 2010 migration initiatives.

Probably many of you might have seen the IBM Client for Smart Work announcement that hit the press yesterday. One of these solutions is on Red Hat Enterprise Linux desktop software. Is it just 50% reduction in TCO. Actually a lot more.

Check out this dynamic TCO calculator from Red Hat here: http://www.compariv.com/lotusonredhat.

The math is simple. You start seeing results by just entering the number of users. Do the math. Share it with your CFO. Save the results if you want to get back to it later on.

Daniel Negoita | 

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