The Windows 7 migration to-do (and not do) list
Check Hardware, Software Compatability Before Moving Day
Not all your current hardware may be able to run Windows 7 -- or not the 64-bit version -- but it's worth finding out what will, and how much -- or little -- the recommended upgrades (e.g., more RAM), licensing costs, etc. might cost, notes Chuck Brown, Product Manager, Fiberlink Communications (www.MAAS360.com), a SaaS provider of IT hardware/software asset inventory and management tools. (They can't estimate your company's costs for staff or outsourced time, but there's a place you can enter it.)
(FYI, FiberLink offers two free tools and a free trial of its SaaS inventorier.)
Not everybody needs a whole new machine, many may just need more memory, notes Brown. On the other hand, "Many companies have been holding off on hardware refreshes, still running XP with 1 GB of memory or less, and slower processors, which may be too slow even for 32-bit Windows 7."
Check your migration tools
Microsoft has made changes to their migration tools from what you used for Windows XP or 2000, adds mobile maven Chris De Herrera, who's been a sysadmin at various companies. "Be sure to get the newest ones."
Also, consider third-party migration aids, like LapLink's PCmover, which can perform some Windows migrations that Microsoft's tools won't.
Wait out the initial bugs and fixes
The number one thing any savvy IT Manager is going to do is wait, so that problems and bugs can be found, and addressed by the vendors, says Frank Koehl, Founder, Fwd:Vault.
"The types of problems that turn up run counter to the reason for upgrading in the first place: improved workflow and reduced downtime," says Koehl. "Your average overworked, understaffed IT Managers know that these problems can become a huge timesink -- for them, their teams, and the affected employees -- if a serious, previously unknown issue crops up.
Don't migrate without justification
"Even if the major issues appear to be resolved, any major upgrade should come with a clear benefit," says Fwd:Vault's Koehl. "An OS upgrade incurs significant costs: purchasing licenses, possibly purchasing hardware to meet performance requirements, staff time to test and rollout, troubleshooting the inevitable snags. Does the company see a benefit in reduced downtime or increased productivity as a result, and does that benefit more than offset the cost? 'Just because it's the latest and greatest' is a mindset that IT admins need to check at the door, along with their iPad."
Minimize user downtime
"Plan to migrate users from one OS to another," advises De Herrera. "We usually used a spare machine to set the user up with the new OS and then migrated their settings over. That way we minimized their downtime."