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In January 2020, Microsoft will cease providing support for Windows 7, which means it’s time for organisations still using this OS to upgrade. If your organisation is one of those that will be making the switch, it makes good sense to start getting the work done now, rather than leaving it all to the last minute. These tips should help you get things started, and help make the process less stressful.
1. Planning the Migration
Every successful migration should start with a plan that details what’s happening, when, and how. In the initial planning stages the first step is to decide what your organisation will upgrade to. Windows 10 isn’t necessarily the only choice, as Windows 8.1 is still an option. However, we’d recommend Windows 10 as the most sensible long-term option, since Windows 8.1 has only a couple more years of official support before it, too, is retired. For long-term support—and to give you the maximum amount of time before upgrading again—Windows 10 is definitely the way to go.
Migrating to Windows 10 isn’t a quick task, even for a smaller organisation. It may take several weeks to assess the organisation’s needs and plan the project. Once you know what needs to be done, it can be helpful to create a simple checklist, so that you can check tasks off as you go, and keep track of the project as it proceeds. (See the end of this article for a checklist you can use as-is or modify to suit your needs.)
2. Build Your Team
The size of the team you need to manage the migration will depend largely on how large your organisation is, and the size of your workforce. In a larger organisation with a dedicated IT department it’ll mean picking a handful of people, including a project leader and one or more Windows specialists. If the organisation uses any custom or non-standard software, the team might also need a software developer or consultant to provide some additional insight.
In smaller organisations it may be prudent to outsource the work rather than trying to complete the migration in-house. It might cost a bit more, but in the long term it’s the best option to ensure the new system is stable and secure.
3. Assess Your Current System
The team’s first job is to audit and assess your existing IT systems, including hardware and software. This is arguably the most important step in the whole process, especially in larger organisations. In a large and complex system, with numerous devices, peripherals, and applications, rushing through the planning process may have devastating consequences during or after the migration.
4. Test Extensively
The vast majority of Windows 7 apps run on Windows 10 without any problems. In most cases, your IT department won’t need to make any modifications to ensure that apps still work after the migration.
However, there’s always a chance that one or more apps will fail somehow. This is more likely to happen if your organisation uses any custom software, but either way, testing is important to minimise the risk of problems after the migration. So, in some cases, your team will need to investigate options for replacing software, or updating any custom apps the organisation uses.
Testing is important for another reason, too: it may highlight problem areas where employees might need training after the migration, to help them learn the new system.
5. Communication is Key
Migrating an entire organisation to a new operating system isn’t just a logistical problem; it can be a practical issue for staff, too. The learning curve isn’t necessarily steep in switching from Windows 7 to Windows 10, but many organisations will find that staff experience some trepidation about the process. Effective communication is essential to ensure staff know what’s going on, and that everyone is able to get up and running with the new system efficiently.
6. Don’t Forget to Back Up Data
Finally, don’t forget that each Windows account-holder will have their own user data, settings, and preferences that will need to be backed up before the migration. Backing up this data will help ensure a smooth transition to the new system.
Windows 10 Migration Checklist
- Build your team
- Internal team, or outsourcing?
- Project manager or team leader
- Windows specialist
- Software consultant or developer
- Assess your system
- Identify machines that are running Windows 7
- Assess Windows 7 machines for software that may cause compatibility issues with Windows 10
- Assess for hardware compatibility issues. Do any machines need to be upgraded?
- Migration Options
- In-place upgrade vs. re-imaging vs. hardware upgrades.
- Testing the System
- Check for apps that need to be updated or redeveloped to work with Windows 10.
- Identify potential problem areas that may pose a learning curve for employees.
- What do staff need to know about the new system?
- What do they need to know about the migration timeline? Are there any key dates or deadlines they need to be aware of?
Need help migrating to Windows 10? Contact ACUTEC today.