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Mitch Irsfeld

TechNet Flash, Volume 13, Issue 15 - July 13, 2011
TechNet Flash Editor's Note from Mitch Irsfeld

Windows 7 Offers a New Day for Desktop Deployment

In the not-that-distant past, desktop deployments could quickly become desktop derailments, but new tools help keep the wheels on the track. In this week's TechNet feature we take a closer look at the new sets of tools available to facilitate a deployment tailored specifically for your environment. Joshua Hoffman provides an overview of these evolved toolsets in his Top Tools for Deploying Windows 7, which takes a look at everything from Windows AIK for Windows 7 to the Application Compatibility Toolkit and the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit.

One thing you'll notice about these deployment tools is that we tend to throw a lot of acronyms at you. It may look like alphabet soup with ACT, MAP, AIK MDT, and so on, but that's because each has a rather long, descriptive name that illustrates its function. To cut through this alphabet soup, a recent Springboard video, Understanding MDT, WDS, MAP, ACT, SCCM, and USMT, provides a deep dive into Microsoft's package-based imaging tools. Spend an hour and learn how the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit, Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT), Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT), Windows Deployment Services (WDS), User State Migration Tool (USMT), and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) will allow you to seamlessly categorize which applications you currently have, tell you which ones are supported with Windows 7, assess application compatibility, and help you move your users from Windows XP to Windows 7, along with all their data.

Right Tool for the Job

With many discrete tasks within the deployment process, Microsoft has a slew of deployment tools to choose from. So how do you know which one is right for you? The Springboard team comes to the rescue once again, with this article: Microsoft Deployment Tools - Choose Your Weapon Wisely. The article gives reasons why to choose one tool over another, and how to integrate multiple tools to get the right deployment solution for your environment.

Just getting started? As with any IT project, plan to plan and know what to plan for. Microsoft provides a free tool for you to use to plan your Windows 7 deployment. The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 4.0 (MAP) is an agentless inventory, assessment, and reporting tool that will simplify your Windows 7 deployment planning. Jorge Orchilles of TechNet Magazine goes through the pre-deployment inventory and assessment process in Windows 7: Follow the MAP.

OK, let's handle some of the dirty work first. We're not just sticking in a disk and upgrading an operating system. You also have to migrate users, files and settings to Windows 7. You have to make sure the existing applications are compatible and continue to work the way they are expected to work. Click over to this month's TechNet Magazine where Jorge Orchilles helps us once again. In Windows 7 Migration Magic, he spends some time on the Windows Easy Transfer tool, the User State Migration Tool, and the Hard-Link Migration store.

Whether you have dozens or thousands of desktops, using deployment images is the best way to roll out Windows 7. In the June edition of TechNet Magazine, Brien Posey's Deploying Windows 7 details the steps in creating an image, creating an answer file for unattended installations, building a Windows PE boot disk, creating the SYSPREP image, capturing the image, and mounting the Windows image file.

One of the challenges around deployment of a new operating system has always been application compatibility. Also from the Springboard team, Using the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit to Assess and Mitigate Compatibility Issues walks through each step of using the ACT.

Finally, a big project like an enterprise desktop deployment can sometimes present surprises, and we've documented many of the tips and tricks for quickly solving common issues with Windows deployments, both with core setup tools and with deployment solutions like Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager. Check out Inside Setup - Troubleshooting Windows Deployment Issues in the Real World.

Thanks for reading,

Mitch Irsfeld
Editor, TechNet Flash

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