In my last blog post, I talked about why Microsoft’s latest version of Windows, 10, is the best version of Windows yet. I also covered how the upgrade to Windows 10 is free for any users on Windows 7, 8 or 8.1, even for businesses. Since this promotion is a limited time offer if you want to take advantage of this offer, planning to migrate to Windows 10 sooner rather than later is advisable.
However, like any major software deployment, you should never dive in at the deep-end. If you want your migration to Windows 10 to be successful, there are some crucial steps you must take first. In many cases, you may need to hold off making this transition, at least for a few months. This blog will be part one of two describing what you need to do first before you make the leap to Windows 10.
One important thing to note is that if you are already running Windows 8.1 successfully in your environment, then the number of incompatible applications is going to be substantially less than if you are still on Windows 7. Windows 8.1 has much more in common with 10 than Windows 7, so you’ll find most applications that work fine on 8.1 should be OK on Windows 10. Nonetheless, most businesses are still on Windows 7 (and if you are still on XP, well that’s another story), which means the likelihood of incompatible programs is higher.
The Steps to Migrating to Windows 10
Step 1: Inventory your Applications
The first step then to a successful migration to Windows 10 is to take a comprehensive inventory of all the applications in use in your organization. Once you’ve gathered that information, it’s probably a good time to assess which applications are actually in use.
Before you move onto the next step, retiring unused programs and upgrading everyone to the latest version you are licensed for is a crucial step. You can also consolidate at this stage, since you may have two applications that are used for the same task, and it would be best to only keep using the newest one.
Step 2: Assess Application Compatibility
Once you know which applications you are going to be using, you’ll need to assess their compatibility with Windows 10. The easiest way is to use Microsoft’s Windows Compatibility Center to look up if your programs will work with Windows 10. This should give you a good idea of which applications are going to be potential stumbling blocks. Once you’ve identified which programs are going to be an issue in Windows 10, you then need to see what steps can be taken to rectify this. Keep in mind this tool isn’t going to be able to tell you if any custom applications you have will work with 10.
Now that you’ve determined which programs are going to be a problem, since Windows 10 is so new, your options are going to be more limited at this time, hence our suggestion why you’ll probably hold off upgrading to Windows 10 for now.
Step 3: Decide on an Incompatibility Remediation Path
As of when this blog was written, many software vendors have yet to roll out Windows 10 compatibility updates. You’ll have to decide whether you want to wait for the update, move to a completely new compatible application, or use repacking tools/virtualization to make the program work in Windows 10. As a last resort too, you can also stage your upgrade, and leave users that need access to the incompatible programs on the older OS.
Automation is the Key for a Pain-free Migration
Achieving a successful pain-free companywide migration to a new operating system is no small task, no matter if your company is big or small. In order not to tie up you IT staff, automating as much of this process as possible is the best approach.
Our Lifecycle Management team provides and supports a complete set of tools that do this. For example, our software inventory tools can automatically discover what applications are in use in your environment, catalogue them and also automate rolling out any updates that may be needed to make them Windows 10 compatible.
In Part Two, I’ll go over the next steps to a successful migration, such as describing the tools that can be used to help make older applications work in Windows 10, and the planning and deployment stages of a successful migration.