Coping with Windows 7 Migrations

Frank Ohlhorst

When it comes to migrating an enterprise to Windows 7, IT managers fall into one of two groups. Group number one views Windows 7 as an opportunity to improve operations, offer improved desktop services, advance security, and solve many of the problems associated with earlier OSes. They see Windows 7 as evidence that Microsoft can make their lives better and deliver on the promises of the past. They understand that Windows 7 delivers a new and improved experience and Microsoft has created the tools and procedures to make a migration as easy as possible.

Group number two views Windows 7 with suspicion. A general migration could be good or it could be bad. However, for them, the situation isn't fifty-fifty, because deep down, they feel that whatever happens during a migration to Windows 7, they will be on their own to solve migration problems, saddled with ineffective tools and hampered by inefficient support, and that fills them with fear.

Surveys show that group number one is already adopting Windows 7 and quickly learning the tricks to make migrations go smoothly. The real challenge comes with group number two, who are most likely delaying any attempts to migrate to Windows 7, using either budgetary arguments or technical arguments. Both of those arguments may have some basis in fact, and therein lies the real problem. How can IT managers make the leap from group two to group one?

While there are no magic bullets that can solve the issues of budget, those in group number two can strike technical difficulties from their list, at least when it comes to the mechanics of the migration process. Microsoft has put a great deal of effort into smoothing migration issues with its latest tool set. Tools exist to capture user settings, data files and other information from the user's earlier OS and transform that information into something that Windows 7 can effectively use. However, the process is still far from perfect, prone to problems and can lend credence to group number two's fears.

The true answer to that dilemma comes from third-party migration products. There are dozens on the market, and all come at a price-except one, the Viewfinity user migration tool.

Viewfinity is offering the user migration tool at no charge, at least until the end of March. What makes Viewfinity's solution different (other than the 'free' status) is that it works hand in hand with Microsoft's user state migration tools. Ideally, administrators can leverage Microsoft's own free tools and then enhance those tools to perform mass migrations, all with a little help from Viewfinity. Viewfinity conducted an analysis based on a 1,000 PC migration and found that administrators will spend up to 83 percent less time migrating users with its User Migration product. I'm sure in practice, results will vary-but that significant time savings, along with zero cost, may move a significant number of IT managers from group number two to group number one.

So now those IT people in group number two no longer have to feel all alone!

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