But migrating to a new OS, particularly in a business scenario, is a complex process fraught with obstacles. Additionally, there are ancillary things to consider as you step back and look at the entire plan from top to bottom.
Here are some suggestions on issues you may encounter, and some ways around them, as you embark on planning your migration to Windows 7.
Times change, applications change, and if youre not looking at moving to a more modern OS platform as your base right now, it should absolutely be priority one for you.
In addition, newer hardware has much better management features and power usage, so your running cost of operation may decrease. This brings me nicely to the next point, which is
By centralizing your users desktops on a cluster or farm of terminal services, you have much more control over the update and refresh cycles, which makes an OS migration much easier it removes hardware, for one, from the equation, and gives you a known base against which to test. This tip may not pay off immediately for you in your XP-to-something migration quest, but it would most assuredly make future moves simpler and cheaper.
The good news is that today, there exist solutions that allow these applications to be virtualized and run in their own legacy operating system and delivered alongside a more modern platform like Windows Vista or Windows 7. Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) is one, and others are available from Citrix and other virtualization providers.
This way, you can continue running only your stubborn LOB application in a legacy sandbox and still get the appreciable benefits of a more contemporary, and supported, operating system for everything else.
Dont forget about Internet Explorer 8 versus whatever browser you are using. If youre coming from Windows XP, your users may depend on intranet applications that were designed in the age of Internet Explorer 6, with its various compatibility tricks, special layouts, use of popups, and more. IE 6 definitely was non-compliant in many of its display areas, where IE7 and later versions really tried to bring the browser into a world of properly applied web standards.
The only way around this particular niggle is to make sure you verify these web applications perform as expected on a Windows 7 test system, or perhaps use a different browser or consider writing the web app in a way that supports compliance with proper HTML standards.