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Windows 7: Best way to upgrade XP to 7 on mulitple computers in a business?


15 Jul 2012   #1

Windows 7 Professional 32bit, 64 bit, Windows XP Professional
 
 
Best way to upgrade XP to 7 on mulitple computers in a business?

I am part of the IT department in the business i work for. We just closed a deal with microsoft and (to my best knowledge) will be needing to upgrade all computers to windows 7 professional(or ultimate, to make it easier for the IS dept).
*bear with me, this is my first ever forum post
I just recently began with this employer so i don't have alot of real world experience. Most of the things i have done was in college. The business i work for has many different branches in many different locations and states.

I have done some research on the subject so i have a few ideas on how to do this upgrade, but i am not sure which will be 'easier'. I need a solution that will not require alot of man power, bc we are kinda thin in alot of our locations to have 'boots on the ground' to do this project.

Hardware:
Dell computers (varying on models)
most computers have (at least) 2GB memory, 80GB+ HDD
most computers only have a CDROM drive
computers are either running XP SP3 or 7professional

My thoughts:
I have experience with making an image of a computer and saving it to a server(from a previous job), and believe that to be the best option for this project because we use alot of programs with specific settings, and there are quite a few users out there(like managers, dedicated security camera computers, etc)that also require certain hardware, software and network configurations.
This would be the best decision if all the locations had the same(not sure if this is the correct terminology) bandwidth. There is too much of a chance the data would corrupt because of the bottleneck that would occur at the hub.
ex: My location --data--->hub ----data-->location

One of my peers in the department, has suggested we install 7 and setup a hdd like we would a new PC, pull the hard drive, then go to each location and swap out the hard drives, do a little configuration and we should be good.

so, since the above is clear as mud, here are the idea being tossed around the dept:
1. install 7 onto a hdd then swap them out for the 'old' hdd at each location
2. deploy image
3. create boot disc install/setup desktop at each location for each user

Before doing any of this, i know we would have to run the windows 7 upgrade advisor and make sure all the current hardware is capable of even running windows 7. After that is finished and all the hardware is upgraded to the recommended settings to run windows 7, would be the installing of 7.

At each location there is, user computers and a computer used solely to scan documents. It is sent either to the user's email or a file that is shared to the user's computer from the scan computer.

I know you can deploy images over the network, so i thought we could store the necessary files on this scan computer and deploy the windows 7 image to each computer on that location's network.
If you can't do it from the scan machine, i have heard of, the fog project and wondered, it would be easier to install fog onto a laptop, have the image of windows 7(1 image for each of the different models and an image for the users who need special programs that are licensed) on an external hdd attached to the laptop, then deploy the image to each user's computer(or group of user's computers) from the laptop so it doesn't stop user needing access to the scan computer.

not sure if that all made sense, or if it was an information overload, but like i am still green with alot of this stuff, and this is the first time i have ever posted in a forum.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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15 Jul 2012   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower
 
 

Hello hrhardist Welcome to the Seven Forums!

Apparently you are in contact with an MS rep and are familiar with volume licensing to get that out of the way first off. A volume license allows you to use one disk on many machines. Or you could use an external hard drive to run the setup files extracted from an iso you download direct from MS to see a clean install of 7 on each machine. Install Windows 7 FAST without a DVD or USB device

The next guide explains how to perform a clean install once a drive is first cleaned off entirely to insure the best results since there is no upgrade path for 7 when moving up from XP. Clean Install Windows 7

A bootable iso image you create from a 7 installation dvd is another method. Bootable ISO - Create from Installation Files

And one more option available that even seems to speed up the install time a bit is the use of a usb flash drive your tech would carry in a pocket made up as a USB Install Key. USB Windows 7 Installation Key Drive - Create

As you can see there are various options to consider. The USB Install Key does seem to see 7 install faster over running the installation while booting live from the dvd. Mounting a bootable iso image is the other alternative to speed things up a bit.

Without the upgrade path the start up of the setup.exe file can still be seen while booted in XP. The drawback would be swapping out drives with a clean install of 7 being perfomed on only one machine while the hardware combinations are varying between each machine unlike having all the same with identical hardwares. Each machine would have a different hardware profile along with the need for differing drivers to start with.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jul 2012   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 

Personally, I'd replace all the machines with identical models, if the budget will allow it.

Otherwise, I would make one image and clone it to new drives. Newer drives are faster, so you'll get a slight performance boost.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/w...nd-imagex.aspx
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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16 Jul 2012   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower
 
 

The problem with cloning is not seeing identical systems in use making that option obsolete to begin with. If every machine had matching specs a single system image from one machine would work as far as seeing all matching driver sets for the same chipset, video card or onboard depending whether or not expansion cards(video all same) or onboard integrated graphics are used.

The other things like printer drivers of course are added on once each machine's OS is up and running properly. That along the network configuration if any are the last minute items for the finish.

For various machines with a variety of hardware differences however you would need to plan a clean install for each unless opting to buy all new systems all the same across the board at the expense of course rather then considering the option to simply upgrade the OS. That might prove to be the better choice on several however due to what driver support(7) is available when going to move up from XP. If any system is too old and lacked even Vista updates which can be used on 7 and only saw 2000, XP support those would need to be replaced or remain with XP as the OS.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jul 2012   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Night Hawk View Post
The problem with cloning is not seeing identical systems in use making that option obsolete to begin with. If every machine had matching specs a single system image from one machine would work as far as seeing all matching driver sets for the same chipset, video card or onboard depending whether or not expansion cards(video all same) or onboard integrated graphics are used.

The other things like printer drivers of course are added on once each machine's OS is up and running properly. That along the network configuration if any are the last minute items for the finish.

For various machines with a variety of hardware differences however you would need to plan a clean install for each unless opting to buy all new systems all the same across the board at the expense of course rather then considering the option to simply upgrade the OS. That might prove to be the better choice on several however due to what driver support(7) is available when going to move up from XP. If any system is too old and lacked even Vista updates which can be used on 7 and only saw 2000, XP support those would need to be replaced or remain with XP as the OS.
Have you ever used sysprep?
From your post, it sounds like you haven't.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jul 2012   #6

Windows 7 Professional 32bit, 64 bit, Windows XP Professional
 
 
model clarify

When i meant different models, i should have clarified a little better. We have old models to new models ranging from Dell Optiplex 270 - 390. we we are ordering 390/3010 to replace things that die out. But (for the most part) the specs are relatively the same.

But, each location has it's own budget and if they opt in for new computers that would be so much easier, but alas that darn money thing.

I was swayed towards the bootable usb, because i glanced at a tutorial to make one, and they mentioned in the first few paragraphs on the same usb you can put the drivers on it. So putting the chipset and network driver for each of the models would be good.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jul 2012   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower
 
 

One thing I did here when making up the latest install key was create a separate folder on the flash drive once the 7 iso was already written to it for various video, sound, board drivers as well as SP1. If you go to buy any 7 edition now of course SP1 would already be included while that extra driver folder can be a real help on location.

You would likely need to see few install keys made up since there are different models would varying driver needs. But the convenience is being able to carry not only the installation media on a key chain along with drivers but the same key serves as the repair medium as well. The repair tools like Startup repair are right there when booted lilve from the flash drive.

Another item to mention here which can be a large help depends on having a second drive per machine however but can save a lot of down time. The option for a complete system backup in the event of a drive fail or other problem each machine could have it's own full system image backup available on either a second drive or network location even. Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

Generally a business will tend to see more frequent data backups anyways while a full system image is able to restore the OS, drivers, programs, data, etc. in one process. An image only takes about 20min to 35min. while booting live from the 7 media used.

As for the SysPrep method that seems to work best with the Windows PE embedded type installs. Sysprep a Windows 7 Machine
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jul 2012   #8

Windows 7 Professional 32bit, 64 bit, Windows XP Professional
 
 

ok, i have been checking out all the great links that have been put up here, and i am going to pitch it to my supervisor with the imaging and everything. so, last question on this.

when creating the boot usb(i successfully did btw, thank you for the link to it)is there a way to make a bootable image off of an updated(like os hotfixes and such)OS? Say, that i use a test computer or after i finish updating a new computer we got today, is there a way after running all the updates, (windows, and even the installed dell updater)that i can take the updated OS and create the iso to boot from it?
or would i just have to make an image or something?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jul 2012   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jul 2012   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower
 
 

Note that will still require each system maintained to be seeing the identical hardwares if the image is made with all drivers and updates installed. If you have 10 Dell XPS #2012 whatever model number as an example each having the same board with the same chipset, sata and ide controllers, video card when a separate card as sound card are added, and using the same network adapter you wouldn't expect to run into any problems.

For other individual machines where the hardwares vary having a full image created for each fresh install once each machine is set would be the ideal option to maintain them at the individual level. Otherwise the guide there is a great reference to consider.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Best way to upgrade XP to 7 on mulitple computers in a business?




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