Windows 7 is a big and welcome change to the client operating system environment for many users. But upgrading to the new OS requires careful planning to align options and configuration for an easy transition.

This Visio flowchart walks through the Windows 7 installation process for desktop administrators planning their migration to the new client operating system. It covers a basic installation, with helpful callouts of practice points to consider in installing Windows 7, and provides information about the automated deployment options, such as Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010.

Note: The flowchart is available in our Downloads Library. You can view it with Visio 2003 or later or Visio Viewer. Host Note: After reading the discussion thread, I installed Visio and created a PDF that is now part of the download.

The flowchart also covers the finer points for a Windows 7 upgrade, such as addressing user data. New features for management tools supporting Windows 7 allow administrators more flexibility, with the proper planning. This includes the new hard-link snapshot feature, which saves the transfer of user data during upgrades. Upgrading to Windows 7 is also the time to address details that may have been omitted in prior Windows installations, such as automated installations and user data placement on drives other than C:. This flowchart provides insight at the various decision points throughout the upgrade process to help administrators make the right decisions at the right times.

Additional Windows 7 resources