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#1 grrrd

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 11:18 AM

Hi All!

 

So i have the lovely task of migrating about 800 Windows XP machines to Windows 7 without any user interaction.

 

So far i have decided to tackle this by Using GRUB4DOS to boot a WinPE iso to reimage the XP partition with a generic Windows7 image and configure via a mass of different scripts - this i am fairly confident with (thanks to Reboot.pro!)

 

The issue I have come to now though is M$ Office and Outlook. The issue is that across about 500 machines I have a varying degree of different Office installation (from 2003 to 2013) and on the same amount of machines i have Outlook installed with different Email accounts/settings/credentials.

Throughout my googling I have come across 2 products that offer a solution to this issue (Zinstall and PCMover) - both applications promise to be able to move the application in its entirety to a new build without the need of media or user input. The way i see it is that they take a 'backup' of the whole installation and then just apply said backup to the new machine.

 

Does anybody know how they do this? Is there a 'Freeware/opensource' method to do this? Can they actually do what they are promising(1 big thing i can think of is i am moving form 32bit Xp to win764bit)? Does anyone have any experience in these products?

 

 

http://www.zinstall.com/

http://www.laplink.com/index.php

 

 

Thank you!

 

 


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#2 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 12:10 PM

Yep, they are more or less the two alternatives:

http://alternativeto...-easy-transfer/

 

The user state migration tool is capable of transferring "user states" ;) :

https://en.wikipedia..._Migration_Tool

 

but the specific application needs to be re-installed:

https://msdn.microso...2(v=ws.10).aspx

 

But if you have to migrate 800 (eight hundred) machines, you surely can afford to buy a license for each of them and see how they behave.

 

In any case, with suites as complex and as integrated as MS Office *something* may always happen and re-installing is often a good idea, I presume that the tools that do the transfer actually do the transfer  ;) (i.e. they don't perform a system round integrity check for installed application or "repair" anything) so most probably the result will be a "target" as botched as the source (and a several years old install is likely to be botched, one way or the other).

 

:duff:

Wonko


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#3 grrrd

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 02:11 PM

I think this is the biggest challenge for me is that i do not have the install media to do fresh installations and purchasing new versions would cost more than is avalible.

 

Zinstall came back at $19USD per machine and that will migrate the acutall application which to your point above must be a bodge of somesort!



#4 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 05:10 PM

Well it's not like *all* several years old installs are botched, and I tend normally to be an optimist, but it's the GIGO paradigm:

https://en.wikipedia...in,_garbage_out

 

These "migration" tools surely do a good work in the moving of the programs :thumbsup:, but they cannot possibly be ready (or tested enough) to deal with all the "queer" situations that may have been created on a system after years of use. 

 

:duff:

Wonko



#5 life is system32

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 08:46 PM

Hi All!

 

So i have the lovely task of migrating about 800 Windows XP machines to Windows 7 without any user interaction.

 

So far i have decided to tackle this by Using GRUB4DOS to boot a WinPE iso to reimage the XP partition with a generic Windows7 image and configure via a mass of different scripts - this i am fairly confident with (thanks to Reboot.pro!)

 

The issue I have come to now though is M$ Office and Outlook. The issue is that across about 500 machines I have a varying degree of different Office installation (from 2003 to 2013) and on the same amount of machines i have Outlook installed with different Email accounts/settings/credentials.

Throughout my googling I have come across 2 products that offer a solution to this issue (Zinstall and PCMover) - both applications promise to be able to move the application in its entirety to a new build without the need of media or user input. The way i see it is that they take a 'backup' of the whole installation and then just apply said backup to the new machine.

 

Does anybody know how they do this? Is there a 'Freeware/opensource' method to do this? Can they actually do what they are promising(1 big thing i can think of is i am moving form 32bit Xp to win764bit)? Does anyone have any experience in these products?

 

 

http://www.zinstall.com/

http://www.laplink.com/index.php

 

 

Thank you!

I don't know about those but I have used EaseUS ToDo PCTrans software and it has worked very well for me.

Office migrated just fine. I haven't seen any open source alternative yet


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#6 grrrd

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 01:48 PM

I don't know about those but I have used EaseUS ToDo PCTrans software and it has worked very well for me.

Office migrated just fine. I haven't seen any open source alternative yet

 

So EaseUS seemed to have a compelling price point - but after talking to their Sales Support team it seems that you HAVE to have user interaction - you can script the whole thing which i need to be able to do!



#7 TheHive

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 08:46 AM

Ive heard of PCMover but havent used it. I know it can only moves certain apps. As the guy talks about the program here.

 

Have not heard about Zinstall, so i found this thread you might want to read before considering them.

Zinstall - looking for info & experiences

http://www.cnet.com/...riences-616084/


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#8 erwan.l

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 09:01 AM

Question I would ask is : is this scenario safe/cost efficient (introducing bugs/issues has a cost)?

 

My understanding is that you are going for a clean/fresh O.S install (while using scripting to export/import user settings) : very good.

But when it comes to applications, because of one particular constraint (you dont have the medias), you want to "move" the application : tough ...

 

Having managed thousands of computer/user migrations in the past, I foresee troubles : in best case scenario, you will have to spend a huge amount of efforts for a limited result / In worse case scenario, you will encouter massive issues keeping you busy for the next year and ruining your migration (and reputation)

IMHO, you want to use an enterprise solution (right tool + right process), not a consumer product.

 

The ideal scenario would be to go for a clean/fresh install for applications as well (while using scripting as well to export/import user settings).

Actually, I would even recommend to harmonize your office applications first or consider migrating office to one unique/latest version.

 

A computer migration scenario is usually seen from a workplace point of view : you want to upgrade it all (O.S + MS applications) as from a end user point of view, it is all "windows" .

 

Now, I purely appreciate that one has to deal with his environement/company constraints but when it comes to migrate near a thousand users, it might be worth to go for the safest scenario and therefore to challenge your management (we, IT's, tend to sell cheap solutions to our business).

Side note : if your MS office softwares are licensed, you should be able to retrieve the medias?

 

Last but not least, what about spending some more time and money on a long term deployement solution so that next time you have to reinstall a computer, you can re use the solution you used to perform your migration (like a "one button click" solution) ?

For a company your side, it would make sense.

 

On a more technical note:

-I had good success with MS USMT in the past

-Outlook also has some interesting command line flags which could be of interest

-There exists tools that can import (and possibly export) outlook settings (profiles) from (to?) text files (*.prf)

-Imaging a generic WIM file containing windows+drivers+office, with a script on first boot taking care of the customisation bits, would have my preference.

-And if you can do all this remotely / over the network, your users will probably see you as some sort of a super hero :)


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#9 grrrd

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 09:31 AM

Zinstall doesn't get much love - luckily they have provided me with a free key to do some testing in our environment to see how it performs!

 

erwan.l I do get your point, and believe me that i would love to 'reinstall' via new media but there are a couple of factors that are hindering this;

 

1: We have multiple different flavors of office/outlook out there, over a WAN, which i will have to transfer the OS already - so limiting the amount of data i need to transfer would be key!

2: I am not sure of any license keys used and any Outlook credentials used.

3: Automation is primary concern. This has to be completed over night without anyone realizing. End user leaves office at night, comes back in the morning and everything is the same (just its on windows 7 and not XP anymore!)

 

What would be lovely is if there was a M$ routine to do a in place upgrade (like 7-->10)



#10 erwan.l

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 09:39 AM

Moving applications where licences are unknown will be tricky and challenging!

And even if you achieve that, remember that you will still have that issue next time you want to migrate again.

 

Make sure you have proper backups and a scenario to roll back (i.e image the whole system before migrating?) as even if you manage your scenario in a lab, there are probably dozens of unknown combinations out there waiting to make your life miserable :)

 

Exporting/Importing outlook settings should be achievable (if you decide to reinstall outlook).

 

I guess it is all about tackling a root cause issue versus applying a workaround for that issue.

I aggree thus that's it's not always black or white.

 

Good luck :)



#11 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 10:01 AM

 

3: Automation is primary concern. This has to be completed over night without anyone realizing. End user leaves office at night, comes back in the morning and everything is the same (just its on windows 7 and not XP anymore!)

Next step is:

4. Make sure that on that morning you are very far away and unreachable.

:whistling:

 

More seriously, it is - with all due respect :) - the most senseless approach :w00t: to a migration I have ever heard about.

 

Nothing will go wrong of course, but you have the potentiality to put your whole organization on their knees for an unknown amount of time. :ph34r:

 

Of course I don't know the details, but it is not like you are migrating "much" (since you are keeping "as they are" most programs), it sounds like a "political only" upgrade in order to have an underlying "supported by MS" Operating System, if this is the case, it would be more logical to spread the migration in several groups, let's say for the sake of the reasoning 8 groups, two initial "test ones" of 25 workstations each and then 6 groups of 125 workstation each.

 

Of course if the two tests groups migrate without any issues you can go for bigger later groups.

 

The ONLY way IMNSHO you could afford to do a migration "all in one" would be if you had a proven, tested, verified, 100% failproof backup/imaging system so that the user of the workstation could in a simple way (in case of trouble) revert in no (or nearly no) time to the previous OS and setup.

 

:duff:

Wonko



#12 erwan.l

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 10:08 AM

Risk matrix example ...

 

In your case, IMHO: probability shit happens? Most liklely ... / Impact on your business? Major if not Disaster ...

 

Human beings have a natural tendency to minimize the probability to avoid thinking about the impact.

 

Using a consumer product to address an enterprise challenge while not addressing the root cause will be challenging and will definitely raise your likelyhood to face major issues.

 

Not saying it is impossible, only saying you are taking a big risk for your company.

 

Would be like trying to stick a nail in a wall with a screwdriver only.

Possible (I have done it...) but watch your fingers...

 

 riskmatrix.png



#13 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 11:20 AM

@erwan.l

What is the sense of the nicely coloured green to red picture? :unsure:

 

Should we collect resources to make a (mostly senseless like all of them) PowerPoint presentation? :w00t: :ph34r:

 

If this is the case, here are a couple more (small) contribution:

risk-management-strategies.png

f0601-01.jpg

 

:duff:

Wonko



#14 erwan.l

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 12:39 PM

@wonko : Point taken :)

 

I was merely trying to help grrrd to understand (and assess the risk) and encourage him to address the issue for good.

I will not give technical advices to / encourage grrrd on how to achieve what he is trying to achieve since I believe it is a wrong idea.

 

And powerpoint presentations can be useful in some occasions ;)

 

I rest my case for now.

That discussion, aside the "enterprise" challenge, already brings an interesting topic : how to move (settings and licences) an app without reinstalling it.

From a "consumer" point of view, it will be of interest for me.



#15 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 02:36 PM

@wonko : Point taken :)
 
I was merely trying to help grrrd to understand (and assess the risk) and encourage him to address the issue for good.

I know you are well meaning :).

And powerpoint presentations can be useful in some occasions ;)

Sure :thumbsup:, they are very useful during meetings, the issue is more about how much useful are the meetings ;).

And now, for no apparent reason :w00t:, a PowerPoint presentation (but viewable in flash) about PDCA and RPI (and SMART goals):
http://www.powershow...pt_presentation

:duff:
Wonko

#16 erwan.l

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 03:09 PM

And now, for no apparent reason :w00t:, a PowerPoint presentation (but viewable in flash) about PDCA and RPI (and SMART goals):
http://www.powershow...pt_presentation

:duff:
Wonko

 

Thats more or less my daily material !

The presentation does not touch on KPI's (key performance indicator's) : a must have ...

 

But I feel we are disgressing and grrrd is still left with 800 computers to migrate over night :)

 

At least he now has a risk management tool, a PDCA and RPI template, S.M.A.R.T goals to define AND KPi's to set  :cheerleader:



#17 IAmTheTrueMeaningOfCovfefe

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 01:33 AM

I would say that is is better to simply reinstall all your applications rather than trust some software to (hopefully) migrate everything successfully. Windows has changed so much since XP, it's quite likely that something wont work correctly.

#18 grrrd

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 11:23 AM

Well thank you all for your feedback.

 

it wasn't ever going to be 800 machines overnight. It was going to be 20 at a time :)

 

The idea solution for me is that the entire estate moves to Office 365 E1 and then i Don't have to worry at all. But costs comes into it where someone will say 'But i paid £100+ for office 2003, why do i now need to pay£x a month for it?!'

 

I tried Zinstall and already have my doubts on it. Used a Wim image of 7.2GB to clone a machine in my lab. Ran the Zinstall application and it 'container' created a file 19GB in size!
 

Laplink and Easus both have only GUI interfaces. There is one more i found 'PickMeApp' but this hits all AVs for they are marketing supported (ie CrapWare)



#19 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 05:15 PM

 

I tried Zinstall and already have my doubts on it. Used a Wim image of 7.2GB to clone a machine in my lab. Ran the Zinstall application and it 'container' created a file 19GB in size!

At face value those don't seem to me "strange" values, if they include the OS upgrade :unsure:.

As a reminder a "clean" install of XP (with SP3 but no later updates) is in the 1.5-2 Gb range while a Windows 7 SP1 one (if I recall correctly) is in the 16-20 Gb range.

 

:duff:

Wonko


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#20 life is system32

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 05:48 PM

At face value those don't seem to me "strange" values, if they include the OS upgrade :unsure:.

As a reminder a "clean" install of XP (with SP3 but no later updates) is in the 1.5-2 Gb range while a Windows 7 SP1 one (if I recall correctly) is in the 16-20 Gb range.

 

:duff:

Wonko

yea, WIM is compressed, when you uncompress all of it its like 3 times the size so that makes sense. Maybe EaseUS will add scripting in the next version



#21 grrrd

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Posted 21 January 2016 - 03:05 PM

So Zinstall say they act very much like Ghost. So it is an uncompressed disk image. They do believe they can add an exclusion list to the capture process. So instead of 'only back up this' it is a backup everything except this.

We will see what they can offer.






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