The news about Windows 8, the new Windows operating system, is that it will hit the market later this year. But a surprising number of businesses have not yet launched Windows 7 on their machines. About 70 percent of businesses are still running Windows XP, which was released way back in August 2001. Many businesses, though, are now contemplating upgrading to Windows 7. This makes sense: Microsoft will not offer formal support for XP as of April of 2014. Businesses, then, who want support from Microsoft, will have to upgrade at least to Windows 7 by that date. But before businesses make the move to the Windows 7 operating system, they’ll have to take some steps to make certain their computers are ready for the change.

Analyze hardware and compatibility

The initial step for your IT department or MSP is to evaluate the hardware’s capability to run Windows 7. Businesses can perform this by using the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 7.0; this will enable you to assess your existing equipment. Additionally, your Manage Service Provider will need to ensure that the company’s applications will work well with Windows 7.

What OS images to deploy

Businesses must determine if they should deploy just the Windows 7 operating system and install applications later, deploy the operating system and all apps simultaneously, or take a combination approach, deploying the operating system and the most essential applications that are necessary for all users. Those who take the latter approach can then deploy other applications in the future when needed. This is a suggest route as it is the quickest type of Windows 7 deployment.

Choosing the right image deployment tool

Once these things have been done, the final step in the process is for your MSP to select which tool they would like to use. There are many tools a company can use to deploy the Windows 7 image. A couple being: Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 and System Center Configuration Manager 2007 or 2012. These tools have different advantages and disadvantages that ought to be taken into consideration.

Upgrading your company to a new OS is a process that needs to be planned for. If you are planning on upgrading to Windows 7 or another operating system, just be sure you contact the right people who will help you through this process without too much stress.

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