Getting ready for a migration to Windows 7? Here are a few tools to put in your toolbox to assist you with that migration!
By Donna Moyer
Perhaps many of you are already considering a migration to Windows 7. While we really don’t like to migrate to a new operating system (remember all the headaches migrating to Windows XP?), we know that hardware manufacturers are moving forward and very little new hardware will be certified for use with Windows XP. So while you may be dreading it, a Windows 7 migration is definitely in your future. Here are a few tools to put in your toolbox to assist you with that migration!
ZENworks Configuration Management
ZENworks Configuration Management is the Swiss army knife of desktop management. Here are four of the many ways ZENworks Configuration Management can help with your Windows 7 migration:
- Applications. ZENworks has long been a prime platform for packaging applications for deployments to end users. You can not only push applications, but also registry settings, copy files, etc. It’s a great tool to have in your back pocket when doing any kind of migration!
- Imaging. You can image those new Windows 7 machines with consistent settings by using ZENworks Imaging. PXE boot, boot from CD … however you’d like to do it. This is also a great tool to remotely image workstations. Let’s say you’ve got a large number of workstations in a lab or a workstation at a remote location that you’ll need to reimage due to problems with the OS. Simply set up a scripted imaging bundle, assign it to the workstation object, and have the end user re-boot the workstation. The imaging operation will take care of all the problems and give you a freshly-imaged workstation.
- Group Policy Management. Lock down your Windows workstations with group policies. Active Directory shops have long been doing this. While many people have done it on individual workstations and then pushed those settings out via images to other workstations, a true policy implementation with ZENworks Configuration Management allows you to centrally manage those policies and control what’s happening on the desktop.
- Dynamic Local User. For all of you Novell shops, this is a great way to get local accounts for your end users. It is especially useful in schools where students use different machines on a regular basis, as it prevents the need for using just one standard login. Plus, you will be able to track activity on all the workstations.
Add ZENworks Patch Management, ZENworks Asset Management, and ZENworks Endpoint Security Management to the above (all of which are available at additional cost), and you’ve got a toolbox to manage your workstations through their entire lifecycle.
ZENworks Application Virtualization
As many of you remember when moving from Windows 98 to Windows XP, there were a lot of application incompatibility issues. Many of us got our applications to work in certain modes on Windows XP, but chances are good that when we migrate to Windows 7, some of those very old applications may not work.
Enter ZENworks Application Virtualization. Application virtualization allows us to package our applications in a “bubble,” isolating them from the OS, and then run them on operating systems where they would normally not function. A good example of this would be running Internet Explorer 6 on Windows 7.
So for all of you who need to run multiple versions of browsers, .NET Framework, etc., this is a great tool to use to isolate applications which require similar programs but different versions and allow them to run effectively on your upgraded workstations.
ENGL Imaging Toolkit
This last tool we’re going to talk about in this article is the whipped cream on top of an already great ice cream sundae! The ENGL Imaging Toolkit works with ZENworks Imaging and allows you to develop a hardware-independent base image.
That’s right – you can get all of those images (which tend in our environments to multiply like rabbits!) down to one OS base image. You simply need to add on images for drivers, the Novell client, the ZENworks agent, and the Imaging Toolkit pieces necessary for doing some VB scripting that allows us to customize the workstation. Applications are then deployed either through ZENworks application objects, which can point to traditional applications, or virtualized apps. You will be able to PXE boot the workstation, answer a couple of simple questions, walk away, and come back with a fully-vetted, brand new Windows 7 workstation: complete with drivers, correct naming conventions, and all the customizations that you need.
Putting these tools into your toolbox, doing some testing, and getting ready will provide you with a smooth and easy Windows 7 migration!
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