How to Migrate to Microsoft Windows 7 in Seven Steps

Many businesses are migrating to Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system for its promise of enhanced security, manageability and cost savings. However, managing a client environment through such a complex transition can be a challenging, resource-intensive and error-prone process. Here, Knowledge Center contributor Rick Winford explains the seven steps that can ensure a smooth migration to Microsoft Windows 7.


Many organizations are migrating to Microsoft Windows 7 to take advantage of increased productivity, enhanced security and manageability, and cost savings. As a result, Windows 7 has become the fastest-selling operating system in history. In a recent survey, it was found that Windows 7 will become the new standard for most commercial PCs within 12 months. However, the process of managing a client environment through such an operating system transition can be resource-intensive, challenging and error-prone, particularly if done manually or even semiautomatically.

Migration to the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system presents challenges that IT organizations fortunately don't face every day. It requires careful planning and timely execution to be nondisruptive to an organization. Many enterprises have hundreds or even thousands of PCs in numerous offices dispersed around the world-each having a different set of applications, peripheral drivers and personality settings.

Because PCs have become mission-critical to the business, downtime and disruption are not acceptable. An operating system migration needs to take place almost without the user realizing it has happened. So, what does a smooth migration look like?

You may envision employees turning off their computers at the end of one day and returning the next day to discover that a new, faster operating system has been installed. Everything that employees need to get back to work is on their PC exactly where they expect it to be. Ideally, every employee-specific application, personal setting, access, restriction, connectivity and tool that an employee needs to be productive is where it should be, eliminating the need for them to engage the help desk. The following seven steps can make this vision a reality, while keeping costs down.