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Upgrade of OS across a company at different sites

I am doing a project management report for a degree and I am confused as to how an update of operating system is applied. With an individual user, its a simple few clicks and an upgrade is complete in an hour or 2..
I have to fully understand the process of updating laptops, desktop computers and visual aid devices from Windows 7 to Windows 10 across 2 company sites within an organisation. Does the process require just the server to be updated or does every separate device need its own TLC?

I have started the steps and need to understand how it would be completed..

1) Clarify devices to update
2) Check devices can be updated
3)... (how would it be implemented) - I know these things take weeks so how is it done? - would the system be wiped and then restored? would there be a backup? does the servers need touching? etc.. Would it be done all at once or one site at a time?

I need someone who does this for a living and can explain the whole process.

I hope you guys can help and I would be very grateful!

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All Answers

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Usually you make a plan and test it out.

In reply to: Upgrade of OS across a company at different sites

Most companies NEVER change the OS once deployed so the issue doesn't come up.

As to the reality, we don't upgrade the OS in the field for many reasons. Partly because we have about 100 different model PCs. Some companies standardize to avoid that.

So the plan if we were to do this is to make it a depot level system. At no time would we do this in the field. Only fools would push an OS update on company machines remotely.

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Re: upgrade

In reply to: Upgrade of OS across a company at different sites

First of all: "update" is the wrong term here. Your subject line is OK, but in the post itself it's wrong. Make sure your inal report is correct.

Indeed, every device has to be upgraded separately. Microsoft tells about it in especially in case the company has an Enterprise contract.
The company where I work uses the switch from 7 to 10 to give employees a new laptop next year, since the old ones are some 3 years old. That's a quite good alternative.

Preparation, planning, support, courses etc are totally up to the organisation, so - in this case - to you. There's no unique best way overall. There even is no best way for any individual company. So start talking with the IT manager about his ideas. He might even be able to tell you how they switched from XP to 7 and what should be done better this time.

Basically, you can (a) update, (b) do a clean install on each PC, (c) put a standard image on each PC or (d) give everybody a new PC.
In case of the last 3 options, backup and restore of individual data (such is the favorites and the users Excel personal macro files) and reinstall of PC-specific software (not everybody had Visio 2016 or SQL Server Management Studio installed) have to be carefully planned and executed. Backup, of course, wouldn't harm at all in case of option a) and would even be strongly recommended.

In case of an update:
- How about a "Windows 10 morning" for the whole organisation? Give everybody a USB-stick with Windows 10, let them start the upgrade from it, and then have that 3 hour meeting where the management tells about the plans for next year, or the yearly Christmas party. Probably a bad plan, because a big risk.

- Or take two months and let the IT staff upgrade 5 PC's/laptops each morning and afternoon, while the employee gets half a day paid leave. That was more or less how it was done a few years ago at my work. In fact, they used that time to copy the personal data from the old XP desktop to the new 7 laptop (that already had the standard company image), and install the authorised software needed on each PC from the network. Quite a job with 1200 employees.
- Or ...
- Or ...


Post was last edited on December 8, 2015 12:43 PM PST

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In reply to: Re: upgrade

Wow that has clarified a lot and I would like to thank you for taking time in explain this to me.

So with the 'update' method, would the IT staff simply install it through a pen drive via the admin settings? Also how much would 1 person be able to complete in a day? And would there be any changes to the servers or would they just simply be used to download files back to the PC?

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Re: 'update method'

In reply to: Kees

Making an image backup before you update takes a lot of time, depending on:
- how much data is on the local drive you install Windows 10 on
- does the PC have a USB-3 port or only USB-2
- can you image (and restore!) across the network, and how fast is that if you make 10 images of 100 Gb at the same time?

When that's done, it takes some 2 hours as you said yourself, but of course, 1 person can start a couple (5, 10?) parallel and then start doing other things like the paperwork involved. Some companies have a lot of paperwork.
It might be better to have a team do it in the evening; bring it at 5 PM, and get it back with Windows 10 at 9 AM. I'd start with a 2-person team and 10 PC's per evening and evaluate soon.

Planning, preparation and test is essential.
Hardware compatible? Software compatible? Upgrade to Office 365 at the same time? Policies for installing Windows 10 apps by employees clear and enforcable? What standard applications can be uninstalled or must be updated? Use local login or e-mail login? Changes in Active Directory? Standardise on IE11 or Edge for the company's internal websites?. Server software (need or prefer an upgrade to latest version of Windows Server?). What new settings (privacy settings for example, authorisations, group policies) are necessary and how can they be applied automatically in stead of manually?

Use a few of the companies spare devices (including spare servers) for a very thorough test before beginning a pilot roll-out to a selected user group.


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my company will upgrade with new computer purchase

In reply to: Upgrade of OS across a company at different sites

the biggie is you need to know what the need is for every department and location before you even start an upgrade migration or deployment. A lot of software will not be compatible with the new os especially if it was custom written. for example, you do not want to shut down manufacturing because of issues with software or drivers. I have actually seen this happen where I worked. They had to return the old computers with the old os until the issues were fixed. At the same time, there will be a lot of training because of the differences between the new and old os.

you said you know it would take weeks - more likely months, maybe years. My company took almost two years since it required a lot of testing prior to even starting the deployment.

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Well my compnay just went through a

In reply to: Upgrade of OS across a company at different sites

massive upgrade from XP to Windows 7. Our plan was to purchase new pc's for all users with computers older then 2010 and apply the Windows 7 image to the newer PC's. We have an basic image with an the standard software installed and we just apply the image. Typically when we buy new PC's (HP) the PC comes with the current OS and we apply the image of out OS that is the current standard. We upgraded 3000 computer and it took about 8 months.

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