This is the first blog in a series of blogs explaining how to migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7. As the enterprise operating system deployment guy, I often get requests for a "one-page" article on performing desktop deployment or migrating Windows XP PCs to Windows 7. Although I have seen full length books printed on the head of a pen, without using either really, really small font or a really large page, I don't think it is possible to explain the entire set of desktop migration tasks when moving from one operating system version to another within one page. If you are upgrading one PC from Windows Vista or performing a clean installation on your personal computer (coming from any recent version of Windows), there is one-page guidance available here for doing that, but it probably won't satisfy you if you want to perform these tasks more than about five times.
Let's start by stating a few assumptions:
You might be thinking, what about the common process of hard drive cloning or sector-based imaging to just duplicate a reference install?
The good news is that with advances in system imaging, you don't necessarily need to spend hours saving user data off an old computer, cloning a hard drive of a reference computer and then taking the time restoring the data you saved in the first step. While the hard drive cloning process is probably the most common practice out there now to install a customized operating system, it has several disadvantages, including:
There are a few options you have when coming from Windows XP and much of it depends on the size and complexity of your environment. We highlight four primary options for migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 (or Windows Vista) in the "Choosing a Deployment Strategy" article on Microsoft TechNet. In fact, that article will probably go into more detail than I can in a couple of blog posts and it does a great job in pointing to tools and resources.
I'm using quite a few terms interchangeably in the text above and will be throughout this series. When I use the terms like "migrate from Windows XP" or "operating system deployment" or "transition from Windows XP", I am talking about the major steps we cover in any operating system deployment:
I usually refer to this collective process as "deployment" and there are a few other terms we'll define before concluding this series introduction. Subsequent blogs will refer to installation scenarios, so let's define the main ones:
Now we have listed the assumptions for following the series, listed a few reasons why you may want to look at your existing deployment process if it involves hard drive cloning, roughly defined the all-up operating system deployment process and defined the primary installation scenarios. I think I've gone over a page in length, but this provides the backdrop for the upcoming blog posts. In the next blog, I'll describe the options and recommendations for user data and settings migration when moving from Windows XP to Windows 7.
Thanks and stay tuned,
Windows 7 Deployment