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.)
- 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
- 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.
- 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 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)
- 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.
- 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. In this step, identify the total number of migrated systems; report problems encountered during migration; provide overall migration status; verify licenses.
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.