It might seem surprising how slowly many companies upgrade their OS, but when you contemplate all of the planning that needs to go into it, it makes sense. Windows 8 is coming out later this year, and many businesses have not even deployed Windows 7 yet. This is definitely something that business owners should think about doing soon as Microsoft has said they will no longer provide formal support for Windows XP after April 2014. So, if companies want to be able to access that support, they will need to begin the implementation process in the near future.
Analyze hardware and compatibility
The initial step for your IT department or external service provider is to evaluate the hardware’s capability to run Windows 7. Businesses can perform this by utilizing the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 7.0; this will enable you to assess your existing equipment. Moreover, your service provider will need to be sure that the company’s applications will work well with Windows 7. Some lines of business applications and custom applications may not handle upgrades as easily as mainstream – or may require upgrades themselves – prior to Windows upgrades. Cloud based applications could suffer as Internet Explorer 9 can also cause issues with older browser-based applications.
What OS images to deploy
The next phase to take before deploying a new OS is to ascertain what applications you’ll need on your computers and the order in which they must be installed. Should you install all of the current applications at the same time as the OS? Should you take time to determine what applications are essential to what departments and only install the required ones after installing the OS? The second choice is probably the best, as it lets users then install whatever programs they believe will be useful later and quickens the deployment process. We believe in piloting critical applications on Windows 7 to test application consistency and stability. Larger organizations might even look at thin-client or virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) strategies to take advantage of central management and easier maintenance in the face of having to upgrade.
Choosing the right image deployment tool
The last part of this process is for your IT department or service provider to determine what tool they wish to use to deploy the system. There are several tools they can choose between; Windows Deployment Service and Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 are a couple. There are also PC imaging tools to create standards to speed deployment, especially helpful once you get past 10 or so PCs.
In the end, upgrading your company’s operating system needs to be done every few years. When it’s time to do it, it needs to be planned for and executed well by people who have taken all of these things into account. Making certain you have a good plan will help the transition go smoothly and with less anxiety.