Windows 7 Migration Done, Now What? 10 Things You Can Do Until Windows 10
The migration of Windows XP has finished, you are finally on one of the latest versions, either Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Now you can get back to working on those other projects that were on hold or delayed until the migration was completed (after going on vacation to the Caribbean, of course! You totally deserve it).
Besides getting back on track, you are maintaining the system and making sure the users remain happy with the change and take advantage of all the new features. But what about the IT personnel? Are you taking advantage of all the new features and tools available to you? With all the knowledge you’ve gain on migrations, are you going to be prepared for the next one? Yes, there will be a new one any time now, no escape.
Now you know the cost of an operating system migration, what it does financially and mentally? Here are some things you should do after a migration, which will keep your mind free of stress.
10 Things You Can Do Until Windows 10
- Support and Training
These are never-ending tasks, and they are the most common ways your IT staff interact with the users, becoming the front-end of the IT department and the selling point of all the services you provide. Not only keeping the issues resolved but also having the users trained in the tools you gave them will keep them happy and asking for more.
- Archive the migrated data
Do not delete the backups of the old systems. Even if the new system is running with no issues and users find everything they need for now, does not mean everything they had in their old computers was moved. You might need to look in those old backups for missing files or to recover files misplaced when you migrated the user. You can archive this old data to an external hard drive, and keep it handy and safe.
- IT Asset inventory
Keeping an inventory of your hardware and software is a must. For the former, it is important to know the different models you have, and their configuration (memory, hard drive, etc.) so you can always validate compatibility with new programs or devices (or operating system). For the latter, you need to keep all the install keys or licenses organized, and know who can and cannot access a particular program, based on the number of licenses you have. If you used System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) as your deployment tool, you can the SCCM client to perform an inventory.
- Virus free
If you have a non-persistent virtual environment, you might not be that worried, but even in a virtual machine malware can cause some damage, remember CryptoLocker? You need to implement some controls, by using Group Policies and Antivirus, to keep your user’s data safe.
- Lock-down software installation and use
After spending all the money and time on the new system you don’t want anyone, internal of external, to damage what you have created, so you better control what happens with the system afterwards. Implementing some policies, like Applocker, will definitely give you a peace of mind, knowing that you are in control of what can and cannot be installed and accessed.
- Backup your workstationsThis one does not need much explanation and I am pretty sure you know the importance of having everything backed up, but I did not want to leave it out of the picture. Having the user data and configuration files ready for restore is a no-brainer.
- Update your workstations and servers
Microsoft regularly releases security patches for its software products on the second, and sometimes fourth, Tuesday of each month, which is commonly referred as Patch Tuesday. To keep the systems running smoothly and securely you should, at least, deploy updates each month. Tools like Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) gives you the power to define what kind of patches are installed and when to install them.
- Backup your Windows Images and keep them up to date
If you used a mass deployment tool, like SCCM or MDT, you might have created Operating System Images to complete your migration, saving time and money. Now that you have completed the migration, you use this tool to re-image computers when there is no other option – easy and fast. The problem is that if you have not updated that image for a long period of time, the computer will spend valuable hours applying software updates before is ready. You should update those images regularly so the re-image process keeps being a viable solution. SCCM 2012, in particular, has a process called Offline Servicing that make this task very easy. Before updating an image, it is always a good practice to back it up, in case you need to revert to a previous version.
- Keep a separated Development and Production environment
Having a separate environment to test new versions or products is highly recommended. Create a “Development” Organization Unit (OU), with a replica of the current Group Policy Objects (GPO), place a couple of computers and users in that OU, and you will have a “Lab” were you can make changes without affecting your production environment. This is also useful for troubleshooting.
- Update your deployment tool
Once you have completed the migration, new software or versions of current software will come along, and it is common to forget to add them to the deployment tool. Maintaining the deployment tool with all the new software and drivers is very important, since you need that tool to be reliable. Create a process to add the new program to the tool once it is packaged, even if it is not going to be deployed by the tool. Then test the re-image process to make sure it works as expected. Also, make sure to keep your deployment tool updated to the latest revision, as new releases not only solve issues but also improve the speed of the image process.
And there you have it, some of the tasks you can do to keep the systems working, and be prepared (or at least less unprepared) for a new migration when the time comes (you might want to read about Windows 10).