Migrating from Windows XP Understanding the Challenges—and How to Mitigate Them Abstract

Migrating from Windows XP
Understanding the Challenges—and How to Mitigate Them
Written by Dell Software
Microsoft® has announced that extended support for Windows®
XP will end on April 8, 2014. But because migrating to a new
operating system can be a time-consuming and error-prone
process, many organizations have yet to complete—or even
start—the process. Such a delay is a bad idea: when Microsoft
support ends, organizations still running Windows XP will
be exposed to increased security risks, support challenges
and costs.
This paper describes how effective migration projects can
be broken down into four manageable phases, and how
industry best practices and products from Dell’s endpoint
systems management group—including the Dell™ KACE™
K1000 Management Appliance, Dell KACE K2000 Deployment
Appliance, and Dell ChangeBASE application readiness
solution—can reduce the time and disruption caused by a
migration from XP to Windows 7 or 8, as well as provide IT
more time and resources to focus on more strategic initiatives.
Since operating system migration projects typically take 12 to
24 months to complete, there is simply not enough time to
migrate to a new operating system using a manual approach.
Fortunately, organizations can still complete their migrations
in time—by learning what has and hasn’t worked for others,
following industry best practices, and leveraging automation
tools that are integrated and proven.
Microsoft has announced that extended support for Windows
XP will end on April 8, 2014. Organizations need to move to a
supported version of Windows by that date or face increased
security risks and support challenges. However, since migrating
to a new operating system can be both time consuming and
error prone, many companies have yet to complete—or even
start—the migration process. In fact, a
June 2013 surveyi of 467 IT professionals
by Dimensional Research found
that only 37 percent of respondents’
organizations had completely moved off
of Windows XP, and 31 percent had yet
to set a target completion date. Of those
that do have a target completion date,
the schedules for 26 percent are beyond
Microsoft’s end of support deadline.
Worse, 16 percent of the respondents’
organizations haven’t even started their
migration project. A recent Gartner
studyii estimates that 15 percent of
large enterprises will not complete their
migration in time.
“With the advent
of Windows 7,
the nature of your
application estate,
and how each
application will react
in the environment,
has become central
to the success of the
migration project.”
Chris Jackson, Principal
Consultant for Application
Compatibility at Microsoft
When Microsoft support ends,
organizations still running Windows XP
will face increasing security risks and
support challenges that will consume IT
resources and budgets:
• An IDC studyiii warned that remaining on
Windows XP is “a bad idea.” The IDC study
found that supporting older Windows XP
installations consumes more IT labor: $870
per XP system per year, versus $168 for
comparable modern Windows 7 systems.
• Obtaining custom Windows XP support
from Microsoft will be expensive, and will
include a charge per deployed patch per
machine. First-year costs are estimated to
be as high $150,000 for 750 PCs and as
much as $5 million for organizations with
25,000 PCs.
• Even with custom patches applied, an XP
system is a higher security risk than an upto-date Windows 7 or Windows 8 system.
• Compatibility problems for Windows XP
systems will increase as well. Gartner
estimates by the end of 2013, more than 60
percent of ISVs will offer software releases
that are not supported on Windows XP.iv
This paper describes how effective
migration projects can be broken down
into four manageable phases, based on
the data gathered in the Dimensional
Research survey. The lessons learned
from those 467 IT professionals and
industry best practices are applied to
each phase to illustrate how to quickly,
efficiently and cost effectively migrate to
a supported version of Windows.
What keeps companies
from migrating?
Migrating end-user systems to a new
operating system is a lengthy (typically
12-24 months), error-prone process with
many potential pitfalls. Over 86 percent
of the Dimensional Research survey
respondents reported encountering
challenges during their projects. The top
five issues in order of occurrence were:
1. Application compatibility problems
2. Time available to perform migration and
conflicts with other IT initiatives
3. User training and support required
after migration
4. Lost user productivity during migration
5. Issues with repackaging, remediating and
deploying applications
The common elements in these issues are
applications and time. Some of the other
survey answers provide further insight:
• A large portion of the time spent on
applications—More than half of the survey
participants (53 percent) reported that at
least half of the migration time was spent
on installing and migrating applications.
• Unused applications—Nearly half
(48 percent) reported encountering
applications that are deployed but are not
used. A surprising 24 percent reported that
less than half of their deployed applications
are in use. Considering how much of
the migration process is consumed by
applications, spending time on unused
applications is extremely wasteful.
• Length of time to deploy a PC—73 percent
indicated that it took longer than an hour
to reimage and deploy a PC with the new
operating system. That includes 37 percent
who reported this process took more than
two hours. Only 8 percent were able to
migrate a PC in under 30 minutes. Much
of the time is consumed in post-operating
system install tasks such as installing
patches and applications.
• Too many system installation images—43
percent are maintaining five or more
system installation images, and 24 percent
maintain ten or more images. Keeping that
many system images up to date is very
labor intensive and error prone. Images
can get stale during the migration process,
leaving more patches to be installed post-
installation. As a result, even more time is
spent on each PC deployment.
• Didn’t use outside expertise—Only 16
percent indicated their organizations
utilized external expertise during their
migration projects. However, more than
a third (35 percent) of larger companies
(those with more than 5,000 employees)
did seek outside assistance. Smaller
organizations (with fewer than 1,000
employees) were much less likely (only 11
percent) to use outside help.
Application compatibility
Application compatibility issues are a
major concern in the migration process
because Microsoft has made a number
of significant improvements since
Windows XP to simplify administration
and improve security—improvements
that affect application compatibility
between Windows XP and the newer
operating systems. The changes with
the biggest impact are the User Account
Control (UAC) security mechanism and
the update user profile system. Many
applications that were built specifically
for Windows XP will not work 100
percent correctly out of the box on
Windows 7 or Windows 8.
According to Chris Jackson, principal
consultant for Application Compatibility
at Microsoft, “Application compatibility is
the single biggest blocker to enterprise
Windows 7 migration. With the advent of
Windows 7, understanding the nature of
your application estate, and how each
application will react in the environment,
has become central to the success of
the migration project.”
An analysis from actual migration
projectsv found that only a third
(34 percent) of applications had no
compatibility issues when installed on
Windows 7. Fortunately, 61 percent of
the applications with compatibility issues
could be addressed with minor updates
or “tweaks.” Only 5 percent required a
developer update, an upgrade to a new
version, or the use of virtualization to
provide access to the application in a
Window XP virtual machine.
Migrating an application to Windows
7 or Windows 8 requires compatibility
testing, re-packaging, and usually some
remediation for the 61 percent with minor
compatibility issues. User acceptance
testing (UAT) is needed to verify that the
application actually functions correctly
on the new system. This testing must
be performed in conjunction with
other packages, since there may be
dependencies on components such as
Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, and
document or media viewers. In addition,
any changes made during the course of
the project can necessitate re-testing
some or all applications to find newly
introduced incompatibilities.
Testing, remediating and packaging a
single application can easily take at least
four hours. It’s not uncommon for a
medium-sized organization to have more
than 1,000 applications deployed. The
labor needed for that many applications
can be 18 to 24 person-months. Given
the amount of time it takes and the
potential for compatibility problems, it is
important to focus only on applications
that are actually needed and in use.
Multiple outdated versions or redundant
applications should not be migrated.
Tools that automate compatibility
assessment, remediation, packaging and
deployment can greatly reduce the labor
needed and have a significant impact on
the success of the project.
Reasons for failed migrations
Reasons why migrations fail include
application or hardware compatibility
issues, missing or outdated drivers,
and other software dependencies.
The worst case is discovering that
required applications are missing or that
applications or hardware don’t work
after spending hours on the migration of
a user’s PC. These problems result in lost
user productivity and a poor perception
of IT and the migration project.
The majority of problems can be
detected and handled ahead of time
by performing a thorough inventory
and careful analysis of all hardware and
software. Even with a careful inventory,
Gartner reports
that customers
save 40 percent
by deploying
automated tools
for compatibility
things are likely to change and therefore
be missed if too much time elapses
before the actual migration is performed.
In order for the data and the analysis to
be effective, it must be both complete
and up to date.
Best practices for ensuring a
smooth migration
Considering the
time required to
test, remediate
and repack an
application, each
eliminated from the
migration saves an
average of $3,000.
The work done at the beginning of the
project, before any end-user systems
are migrated, has the largest impact
on the success of the project. This is
the time to re-evaluate the current
state and make improvements. Many
organizations under time and resource
pressures take the approach that
migration is a one-time event and
that they just need to get through it
as quickly as possible, by brute force
if necessary. This is a critical mistake.
The decisions made at the onset will
largely determine how ongoing support
and maintenance of the new Windows
environment will occur for the next
several years. Selecting the correct tools
to understand the current landscape
and deploy systems will also lay the
foundation for the management of the
new environment.
An effective migration project can
be divided into four phases that make
the entire process manageable
and achievable:
• Phase I—Planning: inventory, analysis,
and rationalization
• Phase II—Applications: testing, remediation,
and repackaging
• Phase III—Deployment: migration of
systems and user content
• Phase IV—Ongoing maintenance
and support
Automation can have a significant
positive impact on each and every phase
of the migration process. From obtaining
a complete inventory and keeping
it up to date, to assuring application
compatibility and assessing the impact
of potential changes, to deploying and
patching systems and applications, using
a suite of automation tools can easily
reduce the amount of time and labor
needed in half.
The rest of this paper describes each
phase, the best practices for that phase,
and then discusses how Dell’s endpoint
systems management products can help
automate each phase to reduce the time
Migrate applications and operating systems rapidly, accurately and securely with
the Dell™ KACE™ management appliances and Dell ChangeBASE application
readiness solution.
and risks of the migration process and
subsequent system maintenance.
Phase I—Planning: Inventory,
analysis and rationalization
Best practice: Create and maintain a
complete, up-to-date inventory of all
hardware and applications, and who
uses them.
The first step in beginning a migration
project is to create a complete inventory
of all applications, hardware, users
and groups. Be sure to discover and
analyze the hardware characteristics of
all existing PCs and peripherals to verify
compatibility with the new version of
Windows. A common cause of failures
during migration is that incompatible
peripherals or missing drivers are not
detected during the inventory process.
In addition to listing all applications, be
sure to find out who uses them. It is
common to find applications that are
installed but no longer used, particularly
older versions of applications.
Another important piece of data to
gather is the amount of valid data your
users store on their desktops or laptops.
This will help determine how long it will
take to migrate the users’ local data.
You need to keep the inventory up to
date, since systems, applications and
users are likely to change during the
many months that a migration process
can take. This means a manual inventory
process alone is insufficient and will lead
to oversights.
How Dell can help: The Dell KACE
K1000 is a fully-integrated systems
management solution. The K1000 can
build and maintain an inventory of all
systems and software. The Dell KACE
K2000 is used alongside the K1000
to fulfill system deployment needs,
complementing the K1000’s inventory
with details on all hardware and
information on all device drivers in use.
Together, the K1000 and K2000 provide
a comprehensive set of reports that can
be used for the next steps of analysis
and rationalization.
Best practice: Rationalize content
so you only migrate what is actually
used and necessary. Eliminate unused,
outdated or redundant applications.
Remove hardware and peripherals
that are not used. Do not spend time
migrating unsupported user content
such as music and videos.
Cleaning up and removing unused
components through analysis and
rationalization can significantly reduce
the amount of effort required for the
project. Data gathered from actual
migration projects show that careful
analysis can eliminate 50– to 90 percent
of applications from the migration
project. Dell’s own internal migration
effort identified more than 10,000
applications during inventory and
rationalized the list down to 3,000 that
were actually needed. Considering the
time required to test, remediate and
repack an application, each application
eliminated from the migration saves
an average of $3,000. For most
organizations, rationalization yields
significant savings.
How Dell can help: The Dell KACE
appliances can provide valuable
assistance with rationalization. The K1000
provides software metering data on who
actually uses which applications, in both
the current XP installation and the future
Windows 7 or Windows 8 environment.
The inventories produced by the K1000
and K2000 can help identify unused
hardware components as well. In
addition, K2000 migration templates help
automate user state migration, including
files, and can ensure that unsupported
data such as mp3 files and videos are not
migrated, reducing both the time and the
effort required to migrate a system.
Phase II—Applications: Testing,
remediation and repackaging
Best practice: Improve speed, quality,
and consistency by automating
application compatibility testing,
remediation, and repackaging.
Each application that needs to
be migrated must be tested for
compatibility with the new Windows
“The ChangeBASE
solution saved us
50 percent of our
projected costs, and
the migration took
only half the time it
would have required
if we had done the
application analysis
and remediation
Jim Barton, Senior Architect,
Telefónica UK
environment. Experience shows that
more than 60 percent of applications
need some minor compatibility
fixes. This is the longest phase of the
migration project. Real-world migration
experience for mid-sized organizations
with more than 1,000 applications is
that it takes 18 to 24 months to test,
remediate and repackage. Retesting
is frequently necessary as some
components can change during the
course of the project.
“ChangeBASE has
not only allowed us
to make a significant
head start but also
meant that we
have been able to
contain costs and
keep to schedule by
automating a large
bulk of the work.”
Matthew Cutts
Client Systems Group Leader
John Lewis Partnership
While ensuring that applications are
thoroughly and consistently tested is
time consuming, this phase is perhaps
the most critical one to get right.
Mistakes can lead to post-migration
failures and loss of productivity, and
result in lack of confidence in the project
and in IT in general.
While operating system migrations
don’t occur that often, other changes
are occurring constantly—changes
that also require careful testing to
avoid disruptive compatibility issues.
Microsoft issues patches monthly. And
even though major applications may be
updated only once or twice a year, many
common software components such as
browsers, document viewers and media
players have security updates every
month or two. Investing in application
compatibility assurance now can pay off
not only during the migration but after,
by providing a more stable environment
with increased agility going forward. In
fact, Gartner reports that customers
save 40 percent by deploying automated
tools for compatibility assurance.vi
How Dell can help: Dell ChangeBASE
application compatibility assurance
software complements the Dell KACE
appliances with application readiness
and compatibility assurance capabilities.
ChangeBASE automates application
compatibility testing, remediation, and
packaging and provides a wide range
of reports that make it easy to find and
fix compatibility issues in minutes. Dell
ChangeBASE can be used to mitigate
the risks and disruptions caused by
compatibility problems not only during
Windows migration but also when
applying monthly Microsoft “Patch
Tuesday” updates or when
virtualizing applications.
The key benefits of ChangeBASE are:
• Saves time and resources–Automated
testing and remediation tools can reduce
migration time and cost by 50 percent.
• Improves decision making–ChangeBASE
helps you better understand the time, costs
and risks when making changes or moving
to a new platform.
• Increases deployment quality–Using
ChangeBASE can reduce postdeployment failures with in-depth
and standardized checks.
• Decreases risk and disruptions–
ChangeBASE identifies potential
compatibility issues that could
disrupt business.
Phase III—Deployment: Migration
of systems and user content
Best practice: Use automated system
deployment and data migration tools to
minimize disruption to users.
While the application phase can take the
majority of the calendar time during the
project, the actual migration of end-user
systems can result in some disruption
and lost productivity for each person.
While only one person is impacted for
each system, the length of time it takes
to complete all of the tasks—including
backing up user data, deploying the new
system, installing updates and copying
back user data—determines the amount
of lost productivity. This amount of time
needs to be multiplied by the number
of systems in your organization to
calculate the total cost and the value
of automating and optimizing the
deployment process.
Automated systems deployment and
data migration tools can greatly reduce
the time and effort required to migrate
your systems to the latest Windows OS.
These tools not only save time for IT,
they can also minimize the disruption to
end users by reducing the time it takes
to migrate each individual system.
How Dell can help: The K2000
appliance fulfills system deployment
needs, including disk imaging, inventory
scanning and assessment, OS and
application provisioning, user state
migration, and repair and recovery
for systems that won’t boot. It uses
K-imaging, a flexible file-based imaging
format that allows files and folders to
be easily added to a Windows 7 or 8
K-image. Through K-imaging, the Dell
KACE appliance helps eliminate redundant
transfers while capturing, storing and
deploying Windows images, resulting in
minimized downtime and user disruption.
Additional features of the K2000 that help
minimize user disruption include:
• K2000 templates help automate user state
migration, including files and settings.
Corporate compliance policies can be
enforced to ensure unsupported data, such
as music and videos, aren’t migrated. This
can save valuable time during migration.
• The Dell KACE appliances allow systems to
be migrated when not in use. User content
can be copied from a device without
requiring the OS to be running. If the device
is powered off, it can be automatically
powered on over the network.
Best practice: Use a system imaging
tool that allows the creation of a small
number of thin, hardware-independent
“gold masters” that can easily be kept up
to date.
To speed up installation of systems, most
organizations use some type of disk
imaging. However, the manner in which
the images are created and maintained
determines how much time each
deployment takes. Post-installation tasks
such as applying OS updates can take an
hour per system. The more out of date a
system image is, the longer it will take to
install all of the needed patches.
Many system imaging tools create
hardware dependent images with device
drivers and settings for specific systems.
Since organizations typically use more
than one type of desktop or laptop, they
wind up with multiple images. Nearly one
out of four respondents (24 percent) to
the Dimensional Research survey reported
that their organization maintained more
than 10 images. The majority (64 percent)
said these system images were large
(over 10 GB). Due to the number and
size, keeping these images up to date is
time consuming and error prone, which
lengthens the deployment time with
more post-install tasks.
How Dell can help: With the K2000
appliance, network OS installation
of thin, hardware-independent “gold
master” system images is enabled
by slip-streaming hardware-specific
drivers during the installation process.
In addition, K2000 utilizes K-images,
which are editable and can be hardware
independent. This makes it easier
to maintain a small number of upto-date images, further minimizing
post-installation tasks. The K2000
also simplifies driver management by
automatically downloading a feed of the
latest drivers from Microsoft and Dell,
which are organized by computer model.
Best practice: Use a centralized
deployment system that supports
network installations and remote
site management.
Sending staff physically to each PC with
media to perform a migration is very
inefficient. For organizations with a
number of remote locations, the travel
costs and time would be prohibitive. A
centralized deployment solution that
can migrate all of your systems over
your network can significantly reduce
this burden.
How Dell can help: The K2000 supports
deployment over your network. Systems
at remote sites can also be easily
migrated. The remote site management
technology requires virtually no
dedicated hardware at the remote site
and is accessed using the same webbased central administration console.
Best practice: Use a flexible software
distribution system that is integrated
with your system deployment solution.
“The K2000
Appliance has
helped cut our
down by leaps
and bounds as far
as our Windows
7 migration is
Dameon Kirchhefer
Hardware Software Tech
Leatherman Tool Group
A software
distribution system
that works together
with your system
solution can reduce
the effort needed to
install the specific
applications each
user needs and keep
those packages up
to date.
Given the large size of the images
maintained by some organizations
in the survey, it’s clear that many
depend on system imaging for much
of their software distribution. This is an
inefficient way of ensuring up-to-date
software is correctly and consistently
installed. Using system images to
distribute applications is very inflexible
and creates maintenance problems
because you must create additional
images for different department’s needs,
such as marketing and sales.
Instead, organizations need a software
distribution system that can distribute
applications, updates and patches
during the whole life of the system
after installation. A software distribution
system that works together with your
system deployment solution can reduce
the effort needed to install the specific
applications each user needs and
keep those packages up to date. This
approach avoids the duplicated work of
maintaining applications in both system
images and installer packages.
How Dell can help: The software
distribution function of the K1000
management appliance is integrated
with the K2000 deployment appliance.
This enables you to automate both preand post-deployment tasks, including
deploying thin images and only the
necessary software post-migration.
Phase IV—Ongoing maintenance
and support
Best practice: Prepare for ongoing
maintenance and support before
migrating systems. Select tools that not
only help perform migrations, but also
enable you to efficiently manage the
whole system lifecycle.
Support of your new Windows
environment begins as soon as the first
user’s system is migrated. Even though a
modern release of Windows is deployed,
the systems still need to be kept up
to date, secured and tracked. With
automated tools that track and manage
systems, all of the effort that went into
understanding and rationalizing the
original environment can continue to
deliver value in the new environment.
How Dell can help: The K1000
management appliance can deliver
this value in ongoing maintenance
and support by making it easy to track,
update, secure and manage systems. For
IT administrators, the K1000 appliance
provides patch management, security
audit and enforcement, and policy and
configuration management functionality.
In addition, the Dell solution can help
support end users after they migrate.
Users moving from Windows XP to
Windows 7 or Windows 8 must learn a
new user interface. Participants in the
Dimensional Research survey indicated
they underestimated the amount of
time needed for end-user training and
support after their migrations. To help
end users, the K1000 management
appliance includes a user portal that
implements an IT service desk. Users
can submit requests through email or
through the web portal. For self-help, a
knowledge base is available.
If you are behind in migrating from
Windows XP before Microsoft support
ends, automated tools from Dell and
best practices can help you complete
the move in less time. The Dell KACE
K1000 Management Appliance, Dell
KACE K2000 Deployment Appliance,
and Dell ChangeBASE application
compatibility assurance software reduce
the time and disruption of migrating and
help automate the lifecycle of the new
platform. In addition to reducing the
risks and costs, completing the migration
project sooner allows IT to focus on
more important and strategic initiatives.
Learn more
White paper, “A New Automated
Approach to Achieving Application
Compatibility in Windows 7
Migrations”: https://software.dell.com/
White paper, “Top 10 Considerations
for Migration to Windows 8”: https://
Contact us
U.S. telephone:
“Migrating Away from Windows XP: A Survey of IT Professionals.” Dimensional Research,
July 2013, https://software.dell.com/whitepaper/migrating-away-from-windows-xpa-survey-of-it-professionals826062 (sponsored by Dell KACE).
“Prepare Now for the End of Windows XP and Office 2003 Support in Less Than a Year.”
Gartner, April 2013, gartner.com/newsroom/id/2434216.
IDC Whitepaper: “Mitigating Risk: Why Sticking with Windows XP is a Bad Idea”, 2012,
microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29883, Note: sponsored by Microsoft
Redmond Magazine, “Gartner: Get Off Windows XP by 2013” (quoting Gartner analsyt
Michael Silver), May 2012, http://redmondmag.com/articles/2012/05/22/get-offwindows-xp.aspx
“Windows 7 Migration: An Industry View of Application Compatibility.” Dell Software,
2012, https://software.dell.com/whitepaper/windows-7-migration-an-industry-viewof-application-compatibility822266/.
“Application Compatibility Assessment Tools for Windows 7 Migrations “ Gartner,
December 2010, Michael A. Silver and Stephen Kleynhans
“Application Compatibility Assessment Tools for Windows 7 Migrations “ Gartner,
December 2010, Michael A. Silver and Stephen Kleynhans
With automated
tools that track and
manage systems,
all of the effort
that went into
and rationalizing
the original
environment can
continue to deliver
value in the new
For More Information
© 2013 Dell, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This document
contains proprietary information protected by copyright. No
part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in
any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including
photocopying and recording for any purpose without the
written permission of Dell, Inc. (“Dell”).
Dell, Dell Software, the Dell Software logo and products—as
identified in this document—are registered trademarks of Dell,
Inc. in the U.S.A. and/or other countries. All other trademarks
and registered trademarks are property of their respective
The information in this document is provided in connection
with Dell products. No license, express or implied, by estoppel
or otherwise, to any intellectual property right is granted by
this document or in connection with the sale of Dell products.
About Dell Software
Dell Software helps customers unlock greater potential through
the power of technology—delivering scalable, affordable and
simple-to-use solutions that simplify IT and mitigate risk. The Dell
Software portfolio addresses five key areas of customer needs:
data center and cloud management, information management,
mobile workforce management, security and data protection.
This software, when combined with Dell hardware and services,
drives unmatched efficiency and productivity to accelerate
business results. www.dellsoftware.com.
If you have any questions regarding your potential use of
this material, contact:
Dell Software
5 Polaris Way
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
Refer to our Web site for regional and international
office information.
representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or
completeness of the contents of this document and reserves
the right to make changes to specifications and product
descriptions at any time without notice. Dell does not make
any commitment to update the information contained in this