Microsoft Deployment Services FAQ
The first thing you need to consider is whether or not you currently own Volume Licenses for Windows or Office. If you are one of our clients, we most likely have this documented for you and can answer this question. Once you've determined whether or not you currently own volume licenses, through Microsoft's VL program, we can then determine how many licenses you will need based on the number of machines you would like to upgrade. Here are the decisions you will need to make or things you will need to know about.
- How many workstations do you want to upgrade? In order to acquire volume licensing from Microsoft, you need to purchase a minimum of 5 licenses.
- Do you also want to Upgrade Microsoft Office? If you would like to upgrade Office you have two options, Standard and Professional Plus. Check out this handy matrix for information on the difference between the two.
- Would you like to be able to upgrade to the latest version of both Windows and Office should a new version come out in the next 3 years? If so, then you will want to purchase Software Assurance. Click here for more information on Software Assurance?
Windows 7 has some real basic requirements that are detailed below. If you're not sure about a particular machine, just ask and we will be happy to help you determine whether it can or should be upgraded.
- As a general rule, if the desktop is older than 4 years or the laptop older than 3 years, we do not recommend investing in an upgrade, but rather replacing that machine with a new one.
- Here are Microsoft's recommended specifications for upgrading a machine to Windows 7
- 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
- 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
- 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
- DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
Depending on your environment and the number of applications that will need to be evaluated for migration, setup can take as little as a day to up to a week. The reason for this is mainly due to the application compatibility evaluation. There may be some applications in your environment that will not play nice with Windows 7 and as part of our setup process we see to identify those before doing the upgrade so that we can mitigate any potential problems or downtime for your business. Once the setup is complete and we have all the applications ready for deployment, the rest of the process goes fairly quickly. It really depends on schedules and timing of the deployment.
The general rule is whether or not the application can be deployed from a central location to multiple users without having to install different versions for each user, or going desk side to finish the installation. The way we keep the cost down for you is through the use of centralized deployment of the operating environment. Through the use of Volume Licensing, we can ensure that the deployment of Windows and Office can be performed consistently. The more variation you have in the operating environment, the more expensive it will be for your upgrade. Most software allows for central deployment and we can work with the vendors of your specific applications to determine the best method for deploying after an upgrade to Windows 7.
Because there is no direct upgrade path from Windows XP to Windows 7, the way we perform this process takes the following path:
- We first backup all of the user's local data and settings to your deployment server (the server we use in our initial setup).
- After that is complete, we remove Windows XP and all the applications on the workstation, and install Windows 7 back onto the machine.
- We then deploy all of the applications back into the new Windows environment through the deployment server
- Finally, we restore all of the user's data and settings back to the new Windows 7 environment.
That is the basic description. There is obviously a lot more detail and planning that goes into the overall process, but the goal is to make the experience as seamless as possible. There may be some minor differences with settings and of course the Windows Experience is drastically different, but this is the basic process.
Microsoft has put together some really great resources, and we recommend you check them out. We've provided links below to point you to some of the more important information we feel will help benefit you and your users.
If you have any questions that are not listed here, please provide your feedback or just ask us!