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How to migrate off XP and make a Microsoft Windows 8 upgrade

Desktop migrations can be daunting, but they don't have to be. With the right tools and some careful planning, migrating off XP or making a Microsoft Windows 8 upgrade can be a little easier.

By now, everyone has heard that Microsoft will end support for Windows XP in April 2014, but that fact isn't making every enterprise IT administrator shake in his boots.

Plenty of IT departments haven't begun migrating from Windows XP or made the jump to Windows 8. If you're in one of those shops, you might consider that the cost of not migrating off XP will soon be prohibitive. Making the jump to Windows 7 or Windows 8 is in the best interests of most organizations, but migrations aren't the most fun part of an admin's job.

To that end, Microsoft and other vendors have come out with some tools that can ease your upgrade woes. Once you move past migration denial and see that it might not be as bad as you think, check out our resources on making a Microsoft Windows 8 upgrade. Despite the many myths around Windows 8's usability and place in the enterprise, it will be a good fit for some companies.

Tools to ease migration

1. Migrating off XP to Windows 7 or 8

Changing to a new operating system doesn't make one company more competitive than another, and Windows XP works just fine for most businesses that still use it. However, customers that don't upgrade to a newer OS by 2014 won't receive security updates or tech support from Microsoft. A Microsoft Windows upgrade can be time-consuming and expensive, but the cost of maintaining an XP PC after support for the OS ends will be prohibitive. It's a good idea to start a migration now if you haven't already. Here are some tools that can make your Microsoft Windows upgrade go a little easier.

  • XP lives despite looming end of life

    Companies continue to delay migrations off Windows XP because of the cost to upgrade hardware, software and applications. Companies have to decide between risk and cost: Is it worth the security risks to stay on XP, or is it better to pony up and migrate to Windows 7 or 8?

    News

  • Microsoft, third-party tools ease XP migrations

    To help with migrations off Windows XP, Microsoft has a few tools: the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit and the User State Migration tool. There are also third-party tools such as Altiris Deployment Solution from Symantec and more.

    News

  • Vendors' support for XP undermines Microsoft's upgrade push

    Vendors such as Google and Mozilla that have pledged continued support for Windows XP are undercutting Microsoft's efforts to get customers to migrate. Many companies see this as another reason to further delay upgrades to Windows 7 or 8.

    News

  • More tools for XP migrations

    Windows XP migration tools such as those from 1E and Adaptiva will help administrators struggling through an upgrade. The tools give IT pros an easy way to deploy updates and let them see a detailed overview of their environments so they can make the right decisions about software licenses.

    News

  • Managing licensed software with KACE K1000

    Dell's KACE K1000 Management Appliance lets IT administrators track their software inventory and determine if company hardware is ready for OS and application migrations. It also identifies which software workers don't use as often.

    News

Life after XP, 7

2. What to expect from Microsoft Windows 8 upgrade

Before you start your Microsoft Windows 8 upgrade, make sure the OS will be a good fit. You can go back to Windows 7 if you hate Windows 8, but it's a big job, and no one wants to migrate twice. Consider what users will think about the OS, how it will fit in your company, what tools you'll need to make the jump and what admin tools will be available to you once your Microsoft Windows 8 upgrade is installed.

  • Will a Microsoft Windows 8 upgrade be a good fit

    IT decision makers considering an upgrade to Windows 8 should look at the management and usability features that come in the operating system first. Look at where the OS fits, how to handle legacy applications, tools for migration and details about licensing.

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  • What's the difference between Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise?

    Windows 8 Enterprise has some features that IT pros might need, such as Windows To Go, DirectAccess, RemoteFX, BranchCache, AppLocker and more. Windows 8 Pro doesn't have these features.

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  • Toolbox for a Window 8 migration

    When you're planning your Microsoft Windows 8 upgrade, consider the tools you'll need for PC refreshes and PC replacements. The User State Migration Tool and Windows Easy Transfer utility should definitely be in your toolkit.

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  • Don't let misconceptions about Windows 8 hamper migration

    Windows 8 is the OS everyone loves to hate, but it's fast and has enhancements that can help employees be more productive. There are lots of myths about Windows 8, such as the idea that it's not secure or it's too hard for workers to learn how to use. Don't let those ideas stop you from migrating to Windows 8.

    Opinion

  • Users don't care if you upgrade to Windows 8

    To many users, Windows 8 just isn't a big deal. Workers are fine with using Windows 7, and many people find the Windows 8 interface hard to use on desktops with traditional mouse and keyboard setups.

    Column

  • Application compatibility in Windows 8 XP Mode

    In Windows 7, XP Mode eased application-compatibility problems, but that's not the case in Windows 8. There is no XP Mode for Windows 8, so restoring backward compatibility for legacy applications requires using virtual machines.

    Tip

  • New tools in Windows 8

    Many of the native tools in Windows 8 carry over from Windows 7, but there are some brand new ones such as File History, ISO support, Sync Settings and the Reset Tool.

    Tip

  • Don't like your Microsoft Windows 8 upgrade? Go back to Windows 7

    Downgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 7 is difficult, but doable. Consider licensing and supportability, perform a hardware and software inventory, make a backup of each desktop configuration (and test it), and reconfigure your machine's BIOS. Voila! You're done.

    Tip