Campus-wide Windows 10 Deployment

by Joe Chow
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According to Microsoft, no more support and security patches will be provided for computers running on Windows 7 after 14th January 2020. Without support and security patching, Windows 7 will be vulnerable to hacking activities.

To mitigate the potential risks, all Windows 7 machines are required to be upgraded to Windows 10.  Currently there are around 1,700 computers running on Windows 7 in the staff LAN.  After the support end date, the Computing Services Centre (CSC) may take actions such as blocking machines from Internet access or disconnecting them from the campus network in order to protect the campus network.  To avoid this from happening, the CSC is trying its best to upgrade all these computers to Windows 10 before the deadline.  

Having said that, the success of deploying Windows 10 campus-wide depends entirely on the cooperation of departments.   Besides sending several reminder CAP messages to all staff, a memo was also sent to each department concerning the upgrade. Some staff do act immediately while others still have hesitations. The followings are some feedbacks and reasons from staff who do not wish to upgrade at this stage: 

  1. They are too busy to fit in the time-consuming upgrade in their busy schedules.
  2. They suspect that there might be some software compatibility problems.
  3. They think that they still have time to wait until the last moment.
  4. Some of their software can only run on Windows 7. 

To help staff perform the Windows upgrade smoothly, the CSC has launched the campus-wide Windows 10 deployment by offering two methods: 

  1. A “fresh” installation of Windows 10
    The PC’s hard disk will be formatted and then installed with Windows 10 system. In doing so, all data and application software installed on the hard disk will be erased and need to be reinstalled again.
     
  2. An “in-place” upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10
    The Windows 10 system will be installed on top of the existing Windows 7 environment. Most of the settings and applications will remain, but some non-Windows 10 compatible applications may not work anymore. 

To help staff decide which method to employ, the following table shows a comparison of these two methods:

T​ype of Method

Pros

Cons

“Fresh” Installation

 

  • ​Uses less hard disk space since all unused Windows   7 system files will be removed.
  • Since we are installing from scratch, the new Windows 10 system would run faster.

 

 

 

  • All applications, printers, email, network, etc. are required to be reinstalled or setup again.

 

“In-place” Upgrade

 

  • Uses less time to upgrade.
  • Can keep most of the settings and applications.

 

 

 

  • Takes up more hard disk space since the old system files will be kept in a folder called “Windows.old” for roll-back purpose.
  • Hidden problem(s) may exist until they are found.

 

 

(Note: D​isregarding which method is employed, backing up all user data on a separate hard disk is the most important thing to do before the upgrade.) 

Special Handling of Old Computers 

Since the campus -wide deployment is carried out under special circumstances, all computers running Windows 7 will be able to enjoy the upgrade support regardless whether they are under the Computer Warranty Scheme or not. However, these computers must meet the minimum Windows 10 system requirements.​​​​