As Microsoft ramps up enthusiasm for Windows 8, University College London (UCL) is a reminder that many major organisations are still using an OS three generations behind the current incarnation of Windows .

UCL is now in the process of migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7, a migration that will involve the creation of a new Citrix data centre stack as well as the upgrading of over 5,000 Windows XP physical desktops to Windows 7.

To help with the migration UCL is deploying the AppSense User Virtualisation suite to aid moving user profiles and data stored within legacy environments, and avoiding the complex scripting usually associated with moving users to a new domain.

Once migration is complete, AppSense will be used to manage new desktop environments, including application policy and user profiles, for up to 33,000 users across the university.

The project will enable UCL to manage its physical and virtual desktop estate "far more effectively", said the university, and in the future it will enable students to use their personal laptop, Mac, tablet or smartphone to securely access their desktop, applications and data from wherever they are - on or off the UCL campus.

Steve Atkinson, project desktop architect at UCL, said the university would be able to provide "staff and students with a single, personalised user experience wherever they are, and in future from any device to meet ever increasing bring your own device (BYOD) demands".