...take inventories, capture and distribute system images, migrate user data and so on. The Microsoft toolkits are still worth having, though — if only for the associated migration guides and other bundled documentation, and to plug the gaps in third-party tools not specifically tuned to handle Windows 7.
Compatible or not?
Then there's the little matter of applications, drivers and other software needed to handle peripherals, such as printers, scanners, Wi-Fi connectivity and the like. Making sure these are all compatible with the new OS is another key task and one that, again, Microsoft and others can help with.
Checking hardware for compatibility is fairly straightforward: install the device or hook it up to a Windows 7 PC and see if it works. Beyond that, check to see if there's a built-in driver or, if not, whether the vendor has one on their website. Most will, or at least will be able to advise on compatibility where issues arise — and, of course, sell you something new if necessary.
Testing applications is much harder because incompatibilities don't always manifest themselves straight away, and may only appear in specific circumstances. Here, again, Microsoft has free tools to help, including the MAP Toolkit mentioned earlier.
There's also a downloadable Excel spreadsheet that lists almost 20,000 applications and their status in terms of Windows 7 compatibility testing. This is the somewhat unimaginatively titled Windows 7 Application Compatibility List for IT Professionals.
Another useful resource is the online Windows 7 Compatibility Centre, where you can check both hardware and software for compatibility simply by searching on a name. You can also get hold of the latest drivers here, locate suitable updates and find other downloads to help with your deployment.
Finally, for now, there's the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.6. This is a bundle of tools that can be used to assess commercial and in-house applications for their compatibility.
What you do with incompatible apps is, however, a different subject — and one we'll cover in our next and final migration article.