Well here we are again, you've already decided that you are going to migrate to Vista, you now know how to address/plan for Application Compatibility, so at this moment in time it would be a good time to take a look at the hardware that you are targeting for install.
If you have a configuration management tool such as Systems Management Server 2003 or System Center Configuration Manager 2007 the task is much easier, as you only have to create a report that tells you which computers are ready for a Vista Upgrade.
If you don't have such a tool, don't worry help is available and to be frank, the help available is damn good! It comes of the form of a solution accelerator called Microsoft Assessment and Planning formerly known as "Windows Vista Hardware Assessment".
This new tool basically provides three functions:
What is interesting about this tool is that for the hardware inventory feature it has an agent less architecture where the only thing that you need is to provide credentials to examine the computers and the tool does the rest. It can do 25,000 computers in a single pass. You can scan different forests, do it by subnet, computers on its own. There is also intelligence built in so that if you run the assessment against a set of computers that you have already scanned, it will only scan the ones that it couldn't reach the first time.
Compatibility Analysis (Hardware & Device)
This is really cool, the tool will let you know which computers are ready for Vista, which ones aren't and for those, it will tell you what upgrades are required to make the computer ready for the migration. Now something which is a tremendous advantage is that the analysis will also tell you whether the devices connected to the computer have Vista ready drivers on the Vista Installation CD, or if they can be downloaded from the Windows Update site or if you need to contact a manufacturer for the drivers.
The outcome of the assessment can be exported in the form of an Excel spreadsheet containing the detailed results of the inventory, if you will be the person implementing the migration this is the report for you.
The second report is a word document which is a summary of the results in a readable manner and is usually give to business decision maker so they have a condensed but realistic view of the current environment.
As you can see the tools are there to help you and it doesn't take a lot of effort to use them. There are of course considerations depending on the complexity of your environment, but there is detailed information on the site and the documentation on how to install and implement the tool is straightforward.
Part 4 - End user experience is coming up next!