By Pavithra Sudhakar, Product Consultant, ManageEngine
As Windows 7 is put out to pasture, it is important to make the switch to Windows 10 in a seamless manner. While there’s the option to pay for Windows 7 support and software updates via Microsoft’s Extended Security Updates (ESUs), this can be extremely costly.
By Jan. 14, 2020, support for Windows 7, which includes software and security updates, will come at a hefty cost. Without these updates, your systems will be vulnerable to viruses and malware. This highlights the importance of either migrating to Windows 10 or shelling out money on paid Windows 7 support.
Compatibility is the key
According to a recent report from NetMarketShare, nearly two-thirds of businesses were still running on Windows 7 at the time of the Windows 10 launch. For this reason, Microsoft has ensured that nearly 99% of Microsoft Store apps will work out of the box after the Windows 10 migration. Before migrating, it’s important to ensure there is a solution in place that can seamlessly reinstall applications on devices that have migrated to Windows 10.
Organizations that rely on in-house applications will have to face the arduous task of ensuring that these applications are compatible with Windows 10. On top of this, nearly every organization has web applications and websites that use legacy technology. For most of them to work, they often require plug-ins that are native to legacy browsers, such as Internet Explorer. However, Microsoft Edge is the default browser in Windows 10. Therefore, in order to render legacy websites without any issues, organizations need a solution that can reroute to a browser that can support these websites and applications.
Before making the move to Windows 10, it is important to identify how many machines are still running Windows 7. Additionally, all target machines should be assessed to ensure they meet the minimum requirements for Windows 10; the target machines should have at least 32GB of hard disk space, 1GB of RAM, and a 1Ghz processor.
User data: The make-or-break element
What good is upgrading if it requires leaving behind large chunks of user data? User account details include the associated user data and user files. Retaining the account details will cut downtime required for migration by eliminating the need to re-customize each machine and reenter user-specific configurations after the migration.
Tackle the swarm of OS and application updates
One of the biggest changes is continuous OS and application updates. Windows 10 checks for updates once every day. It’s no secret that patching everything is a crucial aspect of cybersecurity; considering how critical OS updates are and looking at past attacks, such as Conficker worm, WannaCry, Petya, and NotPetya, it’s important to ensure all patches and updates are implemented the moment they’re released.
For medium to large organizations, doing this manually can be a huge undertaking. Scheduling and automating these frequent Windows 10 updates not only saves time but also ensures no machines are left unpatched by mistake. After all, it only takes one unpatched machine to take down an entire network.
Take stock of inventory
You cannot manage what you cannot measure. Before migrating, organizations should take the time to analyze their applications. Monitor the usage of every application, analyze the usage metrics and decide which applications need to be retained.
Before rolling out Windows 10, ensure that each hardware set has the drivers the system needs to function smoothly. For instance, if an imaging technique is being used, the imaged machine might be of a different make and model than the one the image is being deployed to. Take note of the required drivers for each individual machine to avoid driver incompatibility issues.
The Windows 10 migration all boils down to the strategy that organizations choose. Organizations should learn the different approaches to migration, and choose an approach that works best for their IT environment and organization as a whole. Going one step further, a comprehensive endpoint management solution can help drastically simplify the Windows 10 migration process.