Here is another essential tool in your arsenal of Windows 7 deployment tools. The P2V Migration for Software Assurance Tool is now available for download. Yes it’s kind of a weird name but it’s an awesome tool. This is what it does. The tool automates the delivery of the Windows 7 operating system and at the same time backs ups your current Windows XP physical machine and converts it to a VHD file that can seamlessly be used in Windows 7. The tool supports both native Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) Lite Touch installations as well Microsoft System Centre Configuration Manager 2007 zero touch installations.
So lets dig into this a little bit more. At it’s heart it uses MDT 2010 and the Sysinternals Disk2VHD to convert a user’s physical machine to a virtual hard disk or VHD. I’ve got a picture of what this looks like in this post. After you run this tool on client computers currently running Windows XP you’ll end up with a newly installed Windows 7 environment with the old XP environment available as a VHD in Windows Virtual PC. Plus those applications that have not made the compatibility jump to Windows 7 will be available seamlessly in the Windows 7 start menu but underneath they are running inside an XP virtual machine. So when you launch the old application it runs as if it’s running natively on Windows 7 but in reality it’s running on top of an XP virtual machine.
Now of course you want to work towards making your applications compatible with Windows 7 but P2V migration can help in those cases that are very targeted and the user absolutely needs to keep a backup copy of their old XP environment. And we all know there are custom applications out there that will probably never get fixed to work with Windows 7 but you still want to continue the deployment project. This tool will help speed up the process and keep the project going.
So check out the tool and have a play around with it. I think you’ll find it works well and is essential to help reduce your deployment time when moving to Windows 7.
Starting next week we’ll be running Application Compatibility seminars around Australia where will talk about many strategies for application compatibility in Windows 7. Check out my previous post for details of when this will be coming to your city.