Are you thinking about migrating to Windows 7? It’s not hard, but due diligence and good planning are paramount for a successful migration. You need to follow best practices, which includes tapping into Microsoft’s readily available — mostly free — tools and resources.
To start you off on the right path, our top seven tips will tell you everything you need to know for a smooth transition to Windows 7.
1. Determine which of your existing PCs will support Windows 7
Many small businesses will wait until they’re ready to buy new PCs before migrating to Windows 7. But if you’re considering upgrading to or installing Windows 7 on existing PCs, then you need to know which of your machines have what it takes to support the new operating system.
Microsoft offers two different tools — both free and downloadable — to help you make the determination.
If you have only a few PCs, you will probably want to use the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. You download and install the software tool on each individual PC. It analyzes the resources available — processing power, memory, etc. — and tells you if the computer will support Win7. Or the Advisor may recommend a memory or hard drive upgrade to bring the computer up to minimum specifications.
If you have many PCs on a client-server network, consider using the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit for Windows 7 Enterprise. It automatically and remotely probes your computers over the network to determine Windows 7 readiness.
“It surveys all the computers on your network and tells you which ones are ready and which ones are not,” says Mark Tauschek, a lead research analyst at small-medium enterprise IT research firm Info-Tech Research Group Inc.
2. Determine which of your applications will run under Windows 7
This is a critical step. While Windows 7 supposedly offers improved backward-compatibility compared to previous operating system versions, there will be some programs and device drivers for hardware peripherals that do not work or do not work properly. You need to know before you begin a migration.
Microsoft again provides tools for both small businesses and enterprises. But any size company can use either tool, notes Sandrine Skinner, a senior director in Microsoft’s Windows client group.
If you have relatively few applications and devices to worry about, and few PCs, consult the Windows 7 Compatibility Center, an online database of products and applications that have been tested and certified to work under Windows 7. It’s updated in real time — as new products are certified, they appear immediately.
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