back to article How to plan a Windows 7 roll-out

Windows 7 may be Microsoft's fastest selling OS, but some of the larger scale roll outs have started only recently. Rev 1 teething problems, combined with the effects of a slump, fuelled the initial caution. But with many of you set to cut your teeth on this OS refresh, we have pulled some experts into our studio to give you a …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wash your mouth out

    By taking your windoz7 disc and placing it in the nearest bin. Then asking how to roll out Gentoo to which I am sure you will find many people only too willing to help, myself included :)

    1. Danny 14


      Then marvelling as the employees tear the network to pieces due to lack of GPOs. I can hardly wait.

  2. Inachu
    Thumb Up

    How to plan windows 7 rollout.

    In house testing for 6 months to a year.

    Control Windowsupdates at all time. Refuse end clients access to windows updates.

    If the hardware does not have 4 gig of ram or less then it gets removed from the network or stays as windows xp.

    Anything less than a i5 and you will be asking for trouble from your users such as getting hammered with calls THIS IS SLOWER THAN MY OLD XP MACHINE! confirm hardware is i5 or better and 4 gigs of ram and make sure OS is 64 bit and not 32bit.

    Power users may need to use solid state drives.

    1. Danny 14


      Cant agree there. Our W7 machines are nearly all dell 380 2.5ghz dual core with 2G RAM. They run office, a quarter use serif packages and a nother quarter with more RAM edit movies and create flash bits and bobs. We went from xp/office 2003 to 7/office 10. Exchange had already gone to 2010 so we were ready for the outlook changes. No real complaints and my own machine is fine (same spec but a graphics card for erm, graphical intensive lunchtime stuff)

      Apart from the training aspect the machines all run just fine. redirected docs, app data, desktop so we turned off the local search functions.

      Deployed in batches of 30 across the network using M$ own deployment tools. We had to change a few GPOs for our printers (we didnt use the previous extensions for XP). Biggest argument was people losing their local profiles if they hadn't logged off before the upgrades. GPO changed our exchange settings for legacy machines (PRF files), a few issues not thought of were fixed in GPOs (I.E. 8 proxy issues with DHCP WPAD, start menu oddities, a couple more things to lock down - no real biggies)

      Job done, 3 months start to finish with close to 300 machines. First batch of 30 took 1 month from green light to last installation. The rest were done daily. Get the "image" (I use the term loosely) sorted and you are away. As I said though, 200 of our machines are identical hardware, these were rolled out in a fortnight after the first 30. The last 100 took another month.

  3. David 155

    I hope they have a solution for..

    the 'copy to default user' feature thats been disabled by Microsoft in W7. And no, sysprep really aint the answer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not officially supported


      As far as I know the "copy to default profile" was never an officially supported feature and got removed/disabled in Vista/Win7 because of the issues it had. Still, some people on the TechNet forums managed to come up with a solution by using an old program for it, see this thread:

      The program is called "Windows Enabler" and mentioned around 1/3rd of the entire thread.

      And maybe you're also interested in this (relatively recent) support article:

      Explaining how MS wants you to do things these days.

      Hope this can help!

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Rollout of W7

    what - without an open window?

    Oh wait - I read this wrong...

  5. SpottedCow

    @David 155

    This is THE number one issue I have with Windows 7 rollouts, David.

    We have an environment that involves multiple users using the same machine. If Microsoft cannot give us a utility that lets us create a standardized Default User profile, Windows 7 is nearly impossible to deploy, as much as I'd like to. It would take less than six months for the boffins at MS to come up with a method, if someone high up made it a priority.

    Microsoft says that a combination of Sysprep's copyprofile=true, combined with GPOs and scripting will take care of this. For one, they're wrong; it isn't possible to get the same level of control. Two, it takes three times as long (or longer) to use their new supported methods. There is a multipage comment thread on "The Deployment Guys" Technet blog from users frustrated by the current methods.

    Sysprep now has bugs, too. So far, I haven't been able to set machines to automatically join the domain unless I allow them to be assigned random names. If I tell Sysprep to let me choose a name, the "join domain" step occurs before the machine naming step, and it fails.

    I want to be able to deploy Windows 7 easily. Right now, I'm telling my boss that the ongoing issues are going to keep most of our systems on XP for another year, in the hopes that Microsoft sorts out some of this garbage. They got the OS right; problem is, the deployment is enough to drive anyone to drink.

    1. Danny 14
      Thumb Up

      it can be done

      We used GPOs and OUs. It can be done and the login times arent too bad. We have students, staff, senior staff and guests. All having different levels of access (and different proxies in some respects). Each PC has printers assigned depending on what room is what. Some PCs in particular rooms are *allowed* to have applications installed on them by the users - regardless of their OU.

      I didnt find anything I previous did in an XP default profile missing from GPOs. That being said we dont do anything "outside the box"

      It was all done in GPO. I know it sounds crazy that a default profile would usually be locked down and GPO's enable features but we had to swallow that one. Joining the domain automatically without a random name makes sense. In XP I used to put an * in the name field of minisetup so that it would halt at that stage so I could type a name in. A similar setup can be employing in 7 for the first time boot. Providing a suitable domain user is added then you can get the W7 onto the domain with a simply pc name + return - worked for my 300 machines.

      The best bit? I *didnt* have to delete the machines from AD first. I assumed I would have to - certainly XP would sometimes freak out (sometimes not).

      Sysprep was a pain in the arse but we persevered and got the "image" working. Once you have that you can bloat the working image out with other drivers for different models. This is where I found W7 to be superior, XP still needed base images for vastly different hardware architecture, W7 doesnt so a working base image is good for many machines. Obviously these will be bloated images but I could live with that.

      Dont get me wrong. I *did not* want to move from XP but it was the ripe time to do so (oh and bitlocker on our laptops using roaming profiles is a great idea).

    2. Cervantes


      It's a bit of an oversight alright from Microsoft re joining the domain before renaming the machine - I use this process to prompt for a PC rename before joining the domain:

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    App Virtualization

    Better brush up on your application virtualization for those crap apps that won't work under win7.

    VMware-Thinapp, Microsoft AppV, and Citrix presentation server, xenapp whatever they call it now.

    1. Danny 14


      We had about a dozen old scanners that wouldnt work. We were lucky that we only use mainstream relatively modern apps that worked. XP mode might be worth looking at. No idea if you can image this in.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    use SCCM its sooo sooo easy to use, and works everytime


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