Even if Microsoft nails the in place upgrade process from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, which does look very promising so far in the technical preview releases, the scenario has a major flaw: It more or less assumes that all Windows environments are in perfect shape already. In the real world, that is not exactly an absolute truth.
To give you a few great examples: You can’t use your own corporate image in the in place upgrade process, which means your existing Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 machines must pretty much already be installed the way you envision your Windows 10 client platform will be. You can’t be running the “wrong” SKU, because that will prevent the upgrade. You can’t be on a different architecture. You can’t be in the “wrong” BIOS/EUFI mode. You can’t have a different language, and by the way, if you are using third-party antivirus software or third-party disk encryption software, I would not bet much on your succeeding with that in place upgrade.
Old school Windows deployment methods will prevail
Luckily, the people at Microsoft know about this, and as we speak, they are working hard to make sure their OS deployment solutions, as we have known them for the past 10 years, are ready to support Windows 10. Yes, I’m talking about Microsoft’s only two real deployment solutions: MDT and ConfigMgr. These deployment solutions will support the following core OS deployment scenarios for Windows 10:
- New Computer. Companies will buy new computers, or replace mechanical or faulty hard drives with new SSDs, and for that you need to able to deploy Windows 10 via the bare metal scenario, using either PXE or USB sticks. (No one in their right mind uses DVDs anymore, even though it’s still technically possible.)
- Computer Refresh. Companies will need to refresh computers, not only to upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 with their own corporate image, but also to repair a machine that cannot otherwise be quickly fixed.
- Computer Replace. Companies will replace computers. If you’re lucky, you work for a company that is replacing 20 – 25 percent of its machines every year. The replace, or side-by-side scenario as it’s often called, is when you take a backup of the old machine, and throw it out the window (or preferably, give it away for charity). Then you deploy a brand new computer and, at the end of the deployment process, restore the previous backup.
The league of extraordinary IT environments
Now, for those of you who have IT environments already are in perfect shape and are not affected by the in place upgrade’s limitations: First, my hat is off to you. Second, congratulations, and feel free to run the in place upgrades option for Windows 10 to your heart’s content.
Yes, you should move on to Windows 10. It’s a fantastic platform. Just make sure to pick the right setup method when doing so. Thanks for reading this post, and I would love to see your comments below.