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Windows Client Migration

Six Migration Decisions

Discover six decisions that must be made before embarking on any migration, according to PC World writer Logan Harbaugh.

    Recently, PC World writer Logan Harbaugh wrote an article that was picked up by several websites called “How to Migrate from Windows XP to 7, Windows Server 2003 to 2008 R2” which caught my attention.

    In the article, Harbaugh addresses the current difficulty in finding suitable drivers for newer equipment that work with Windows XP, or older equipment that work with Windows 7 or 8. He even suggests abandoning the ageless wisdom of waiting for Service Pack 1 before installing anything!

    But then, Harbaugh offers six decisions that he feels must be made before embarking on any migration.

    1. The 32 vs. 64 Bit Question

    Alright, I’ll admit that this has never seemed like much of a question to me. Reminiscent of the earliest days of 16- and 32-bit processors, where you always ran 16 bit until they had truly obsoleted it, the common wisdom is to always prefer 32 bit unless you’re not given a choice. Harbaugh agrees with this, correctly pointing out that there is no 32-bit version of Windows Server 2008 R2, though you can run 32-bit apps on it if you configure it to do so

    2. Compatible Device Drivers

    There are a few cottage industry companies making small fortunes providing new drivers for old equipment and compatible drivers for old OS versions that need to talk to new equipment. Harbaugh invokes fond memories of serial and parallel ports. Does anyone even remember what “Centronics” was

    3. Application Upgrades

    It’s important to be realistic (something long-time users can easily be allergic to) about what apps will run well on which OS versions. Harbaugh aptly emphasizes the importance of training on the apps and the new OS version. Also, remember that “reverse compatible” cannot be a uniformly applied expectation. Before embarking on your migration, it’s critical to take an application inventory and determine what will not run on what.

    4. In-place Upgrade? Or Fresh Start?

    Harbaugh breaks the bad news that everyone must eventually come to face — that applications will need to be reinstalled in most cases. He also reminds us that hardware running XP or Windows Server 2003 will very likely not be sufficient to run Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2, so in-place will likely not be an option very often

    5. The Virtual Desktop question

    This might better be titled “Define Expensive.” While configuring for VDI incurs initial expense, long term it provides far easier migration to new OS versions without the need to upgrade hardware, plus far simpler support and management of the desktop.  Be sure to compare initial price with long-term cost when evaluating the VDI strategy for desktop application delivery and management. 

    6. Migration Tools

    We have covered many migration tools here in the Migration Expert Zone, and will continue to report on new ones as they emerge. The more users you are migrating the more valuable these tools become.

    Do you have any key steps or decisions you make sure are included in your migration best practices?  Share them with us here in the Zone!