One of the first e-mails I got after last week's blog entry about upgrading to Windows 7 in the enterprise was from LapLink's public relations agency, letting me know that it was possible to do an enterprise-class upgrade to Windows 7. You just need to use the enterprise version of their PC Mover product. PC Mover Enterprise, which you use to move everything from your XP machine to Windows 7, including installed applications, settings, registry entries and the like.
What's most important is that you don't need to move to a new computer to accomplish this. You can use PC Mover to do an in-place upgrade, and you can use an external storage device or network storage to support the move. But of course, there are limitations.
The most obvious limitation is that your PC needs to be able to run Windows 7, so just as I described last week, you will need to run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to find out whether the machines in your enterprise can make the change. This means they need to have a fast enough processor, enough memory, and a compatible video card. In a lot of older computers, it's the video card that's the sticking point. Upgrading an embedded video card is possible, of course, but you need to install a new card, which in turn means you need to go inside the computer. And that translates to staff hours.
The same thing is true of memory, of course, and while both memory and video cards aren't necessarily very expensive, the process of performing a physical upgrade on an obsolete machine may be questionable financially. This is where we were going last week, and the rationale is the same. There are many situations in which it makes more sense to replace your computers as you've already planned to do, and then make the move to Windows 7.
But then there are all those machines that were sold with the available downgrade from Vista to Windows XP. Those machines are designed to run Vista, which generally means they will Windows 7. But because there's no upgrading XP to Windows 7 without a clean install, you were then faced with hours spent reinstalling applications and transferring data. Not a great choice, and in some cases a powerful disincentive to make the move.
This is the problem that LapLink's PC Mover was designed to solve. If you want to make the upgrade, but don't want to spend untold staff hours doing it, now you have a choice. Of course, you can also use PC Mover to migrate everything when you do decide that you'd rather buy new Windows clients instead of upgrading, a feature LapLink has been offering for years.
However, there is still one other issue that will affect your possible upgrade to Windows 7-your mission-critical applications. PC Mover can move your stuff and install it into Windows 7, but that doesn't mean your applications will work. There are, after all, applications that are simply incompatible with Windows 7, just as there were applications you couldn't run using Vista. While Windows 7 does have a compatibility mode that works for a lot of stuff, it doesn't cover everything.
The bottom line is that while there is a solution for some of your XP computers, it's not a panacea. You will still find that there are clients that can't be upgraded for a rational cost, and you'll find that there are some that can't be upgraded at all. The only way to find out is to spend some time and do some testing. After all, making a move like this without testing would be insanity. But you already knew that.