Network World's Windows Networking Strategies Newsletter, 03/07/07

Resources to help you plan and migrate to Vista

By Dave Kearns

Some of you have corresponded with me recently, taking me to task for my seeming enthusiasm for the new Windows Vista desktop operating system. So I want to take a moment to explain my position and point you to some further reading and to some tools to help you evaluate, test and plan a rollout of the new system.

In a nutshell, Windows Vista is more secure, more robust and more manageable than the Windows XP operating system it replaces. A large group of security experts, for example, were recently quoted as favoring Vista over XP from a security point of view. Do note that I’m not advocating that you immediately switch over, far from it. But you should be started into the evaluation and planning stages, ready to roll out Vista in three to six months to those who can best use the new system.

A recent Network World article by Senior Editor John Fontana (“Microsoft makes free Vista migration tools available to IT”) should be cut out and pasted on your bulletin board. The six tools are:

* Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) 2007.
* Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.0.
* Windows Vista Hardware Assessment 1.0.
* Microsoft Volume Activation 2.0 Tools.
* Key Management Service (KMS) for Windows Server 2003.
* Virtual PC 2007.

Additionally, Microsoft has an extensive library of material – white papers, guides, best practices, etc. – to help you through the evaluation, testing, planning, rollout and migration steps as you move to Vista on your organization’s desktops. The Windows Vista Technical Library breaks down into seven sections, each of which has more than enough material to keep you busy reading from now until the next TechEd conference (coming up in early June – see details here).

The seven sections are:

* Windows Vista: Product Evaluation - Quickly learn about the new and changed features in Windows Vista.
* Windows Vista: Getting Started - Find out the system requirements and other preinstallation issues before you install or deploy Windows Vista.
* Windows Vista: Planning and Architecture - Review planning guidelines and checklists before you deploy Windows Vista.
* Windows Vista: Deployment - Use the content in this collection to help deploy Windows Vista.
* Windows Vista: Security and Protection - Learn about the security features in Windows Vista.
* Windows Vista: Management and Operations - Refer to how-to and troubleshooting content for managing and supporting Windows Vista client computers.
* Windows Vista: Technical Reference - Learn about how Windows Vista works. Also, see the syntax and usage Command Reference for the Windows Vista command-line tools.

You’ll also want to get your hands on the “Windows Vista Step-by-Step Guides for IT Professionals”, a series of Word documents detailing exactly how to perform common tasks:

* Deploying Vista Step by Step Guide.doc
* Managing Group Policy ADMX Files Step by Step Guide.doc
* Managing Roaming User Data Deployment Guide.doc
* Netsh Commands for Wired Local Area Network (LAN).doc
* Netsh Commands for Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN).doc
* Performance Monitoring and Tuning Step by Step Guide.doc
* Print Management Step by Step Guide.doc
* Step by Step Guide to Controlling Device Installation and Usage with Group Policy.doc
* Step by Step Guide to Device Driver Signing and Staging.doc
* Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Multiple Local Group Policy.doc
* User Account Control Step by Step Guide.doc
* Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption Step-by-Step Guide (September 2006).doc
* Windows Vista Beta 2 Migration Step by Step Guide.doc
* Windows Vista Beta 2 Trusted Platform Module Services Step by Step Guide (May 2006).doc
* Windows Vista Multilingual User Interface Step by Step Guide.doc
* Windows Vista Speech Recognition Step by Step.doc
* Windows Vista Windows Meeting Space Step by Step Guide.doc
* Winlogon Notification Packages Removed Impact on Windows Vista Planning and Deployment.doc

There’s a lot to read, a lot to learn, a lot to try and a lot to plan for – and the sooner you start the sooner you can have the more secure, more robust and more manageable desktops that every network manager deserves.

Copyright Network World, Inc., 2007

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Last Modified: March 9, 2008