As the dust settles around the Windows 10 release and the good, bad and indifferent new features have been picked over, it's time to answer the hard question: how do you move onto this latest version?
While there are multiple answers, let's look at a few possibilities: 1. two vendor's approaches and 2. the Microsoft approach.
“The biggest problem for both personal and business users is getting your old applications and data from the old system to the new system. There are no tools you can do it with. Maybe you can move your files with a stick but you can’t move any settings,” Laplink CEO Thomas Koll told us.
“You have to reapply your settings, set up your screen to suit again, find your favorites, and of course, you have a bunch of applications — a typical user can have between 30 and 50 applications on the desktop — and you have to reinstall them manually.”
Bellevue, Wash.-based Laplink provides a solution to that problem. In the days following the July 29 Windows 10 release, Laplink upgraded its PCmover Professional, which was optimized for Windows 10 migrations.
The latest release offers what the company claims is a seamless integration with OneDrive, significant enhancements in application detection compatibility, migration and improved handling of multiple user accounts, including Microsoft Accounts (MSA).
“We have improved PCmover’s capabilities significantly, but we’re also able to present users with a simple wizard-based approach. Most users will be able to click and go — and leave the heavy lifting to PCmover. Their PC will be quickly updated with all data, settings, and even applications transferred over ready to use,” he said.
And the price is right for many businesses.
“We are charging about $50 to $60 per license for consumers and if you go to certain retailers you might get it cheaper. For an enterprise that is using 5000 we might charge $10,” Koll said.
“Most of the enterprises that we are working with are looking at moving to Window 10 from Windows 7. They generally haven’t gone to Windows 8 so they are in a bit of a rush. I think this time around you will see early migration and before the usual 12 month marker generally associated with these kinds of move,” he said.
Citrix Jumps In
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Citrix was also quick off the mark with Windows 10 migration tools for both personal and enterprise users.
“Moving critical business applications to a new operating system platform can be challenging — downright daunting — if you manually have to move hundreds or thousands of applications across platforms,” Carisa Stringer, senior product marketing manager for the Desktops and Apps Group, wrote in a blog about migration issues.
Citrix app and desktop virtualization software and migration tools offers users access to core business applications on new Windows 10 PCs and tablets. Citrix claims to simplify the rollout of Windows 10 desktops and streamline the business app migration process.
Citrix XenApp, in conjunction with the newly available Citrix Receiver for Windows 10, prevents productivity downtime with the promise of access to business critical apps.
Additional software such as analytics tool AppDNA offers businesses insight into app compatibility, aided by an integration with Microsoft App-V and System Center Configuration Manager to simplify packaging and deployment after validation.
According to Citrix, by using these apps, businesses can reduce the cost and complexity of migrations by as much as 90 percent.
So what does Microsoft recommend? Unsurprisingly, Microsoft is encouraging businesses to move to Windows 10 and offers interesting advice, support and support tools to do so.
However, it is not providing a one stop migration tool for businesses.
As it does elsewhere, it's leaving it to the partner ecosystem to provide the necessary technology. In the past it offered Windows Easy Transfer for moving from one computer to another, but this doesn’t include support for Windows 10 and there's no word from Microsoft whether it will add that support in the future.
Jim Alkove, corporate vice president for Enterprise and Security in the Windows and Devices Group, wrote in a blog post on the Windows site that in these, as in all migrations, evaluating and piloting on the new system is key.
To do this, Microsoft’s latest service packs for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager include support for Windows 10. This allows customers to adopt Windows 10 while using their existing management infrastructure. He also suggests users should try out System Center Configuration Manager Technical Preview 2 for an early glimpse of the new functionality that Microsoft is planning for Q4 of the calendar year.
And when all else fails, Microsoft's Answer Desk is on call around the clock to answer any pressing question you may have with migration.
With enterprises never warming to Windows 8 or 8.1, it seems likely that Windows 10 will replace Windows 7 as the operating system of choice. If you have migrated, let us know how it went.