Migrating to New Windows Systems

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Technology improvements never seem to slow down, and Microsoft’s operating systems for PCs and servers are no exception. In the past five years, network and systems administrators who keep on top of the latest releases have had to upgrade from NT 4.0 to Windows 2000, and from Windows 2000 to Windows Server 2003. The problem with continual updates and upgrades is ensuring uptime and a transparent migration for end users, while getting the job done right.

Although migrating to any new system is a chore, luckily there are plenty of tools out there to help you, whether you’re going from a UNIX system to Windows, from Windows to Linux, or simply migrating from one Windows system to another. This month, we’ll take a look at some of the tools that can help you easily migrate to new Windows systems

The first place to look is Microsoft’s Web site. Microsoft offers plenty of tools to download and articles to read. Start at Microsoft TechNet and search the Knowledge Base for the help you need (www.microsoft.com/technet). In addition to how-tos and other helpful articles, Microsoft has developed downloadable tools to help you with your migration. At www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/upgrading/nt4/tooldocs/default.mspx, you can find links to tools from Microsoft as well as several third-party vendors. For example, Microsoft offers the File Server Migration Toolkit (FSMT), which provides multiple tools to ease the consolidation process, creating less impact on end users. Systems administrators can use FSMT to migrate and consolidate shared folders from servers running NT 4.0 or Windows 2000 to servers running Windows Server 2003 or Storage Server 2003.

Also downloadable from Microsoft is the latest version of Active Directory Migration Tool (ADMT). CertMag author Ed Tittel recently wrote, “Active Directory sits at the heart of any modern Windows network.” Cut out the heart of the network, and you’re left with a lifeless system. You can use ADMT to migrate users, groups and computers between domains while allowing users to maintain access to applications and other resources. The latest version also allows for password migration and an easier command line interface.

To address concerns with how your newest OS will support existing applications, Microsoft offers the Windows Application Compatibility Toolkit 3.0. It contains several tools that will help you manage the process and ensure a smooth transition.

In addition to the tools offered by Microsoft, there are plenty of third-party migration tools on the market. Quest Software (www.quest.com), for example, offers several tools, including Controlled Migration Suite, which provides a migration management and execution framework for projects of all sizes and levels of complexity. The suite integrates domain management products from Aelita Software (now part of Quest) with a planning and reporting system, along with server consolidation tools. According to the Web site, it’s particularly suited for large and complex migrations in distributed networks.

BindView (www.bindview.com) developed the first migration tool that was based on AD technology. Now it offers bv-Admin for Windows Migration, allowing administrators to migrate their systems from various platforms to Windows 2000 or Windows 2003. BindView’s tool automates the migration of user accounts and their resources to Windows 2000, 2003 and AD, and it supports domain consolidations, in-place upgrades and parallel migrations. You don’t have to use it with bv-Admin for Windows, a tool to simplify directory administration, but you can.

Sys-Manage (www.sys-manage.com) offers CopyRight 1.2 to help administrators copy network shares, files, folders and accounts, including security information. With this tool you have the option of using the Microsoft Windows Explorer version or a command-line version. It is flexible, offering numerous ways to migrate users and groups from the source environment to the destination environment.

NetIQ (www.netiq.com) delivers a relatively low-cost solution with its NetIQ Migration Suite. This suite helps accelerate the transition to platforms like Microsoft Windows 2000 and 2003 or Exchange 2000 and 2003. The suite includes a Domain Migration Administrator, Server Consolidator and Exchange Migrator.

Since security is always a concern, you might want to try White Hat’s Secure Copy (www.whitehatinc.com). This product allows for seamless migration, permitting administrators to copy files and directories on NTFS partitions, keeping security intact throughout the process. It’s available in a simple GUI, and keeps administrators updated on copy progress, while alerting them to any errors along the way.

IntelliMover SE (service edition) from Detto Technologies (www.detto.com) allows service technicians to migrate users quickly. If you’re like most IT folks, family and friends often ask you for technical assistance and advice. If they’re asking how to move from one PC to another, point them to the Learning Center on Detto Technologies’ Web site (www.detto.com/learningcenter). It offers a tutorial for users migrating to new systems.


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