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How to: Windows 7 upgrades for businessses

Third-party alternatives to Microsoft's tools

Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 isn't easy, but Microsoft does have an abundance of tools to make the transition as smooth as possible. However, there's plenty of alternatives out there. We've taken a look at some of the choices available.

Laplink PCmover: The time-saver

This product provides the ability to move single users (or your enterprise users with the Business or Enterprise versions of the software) to Windows 7, either by upgrading an existing system or migrating to a new PC with full selectivity of programs, files, and settings.

Compatible with multiple profiles and domains, the key focus is on the user personality, which carries over completely without a worry.

This includes IE settings, cookies, .ini files, ODB Connections (including ERP reporting add-ons and other client/server application add-ons), wallpapers, screensavers, and other personality items. The enterprise edition also includes some great rule enforcement and automation through the PCmover Policy Manager.

Note: You may wonder why you would spend a little extra for the Laplink PCmover tools if you can purchase a Belkin Easy Transfer Cable for about £20.

While the Belkin cable works with the Microsoft Windows Easy Transfer utility and can migrate all the standard user personality aspects, Windows Easy Transfer does not support the transfer of applications or programs.

For a little extra money, £20 or so, you don't have to go scouring through your old CDs looking for every application and every product ID.

Also, PCmover works over a network, so you aren't limited by the distance of the cable as you are with the Easy Transfer Cable (which is about 8 feet long). Why put the two systems side by side if you don't have to?

Why go with Zinstall with its secondary virtual XP and not just use PCmover? It may come down to the applications you are dealing with. If they all work with Windows 7, the PCmover option may be better.

However, if an application is not Windows 7-ready (and some may never be), you may need to consider reinstalling the application in a Virtual PC with Windows XP Mode (which means the system will have to support hardware-assisted virtualisation) - capabilities that only the Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions of Windows 7 support.

By contrast, Zinstall works with all versions of Windows 7, including 32 and 64bit, and does not require that you have PCs that support hardware-assisted virtualisation.

Small business IT advice

NEXT PAGE: Kace Kbox

  1. We look at third-party alternatives to Microsoft's tools
  2. Laplink PCmover
  3. Kace Kbox

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