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Hassle less configuration of user profiles and migration to Vista?

By Barry Dean ·
We just decided to buy new hardware for our new office and decided to purchase Vista stations for it. I believe it will provide us with more security in data management and device control. What are you all here using here? I am thinking about managing it with group policies but I don't think that'll be enough. Or maybe we shouldn’t go this way?

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Reasons for Vista, Desktop deployment and a bit of group policy

by Adam Eisenberg In reply to Hassle less configuration ...

I think you are going the right way, guys. The business value analysis performed by IDC for Microsoft in December last year shows some key moments that may boost your performance and stability. I don't know about service desk calls because we do an OS independent support in our company with the desktop management software that allows managing all our systems but I see that Vista is more user-friendly in how quickly it can adapt user needs and increase their performance. Microsoft also provides several case studies from AMD
Group Policy is a good solution once you've already deployed Vista and integrated it into your environment. Before that you have to plan the deployment and proceed with the process in detail. I recommend you start with this Vista Deployment guide and continue at Vista Deployment Center.
I recommend you look to this TechNet article describing how you can deploy Vista with Windows Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) 2007 Solution Accelerator.
And group policies will work great for you for deploying Office like with this example with using some scripting although there are more smooth and painless ways to do that.
But still it's what you can start with.

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Great, but too complicated. Need to migrate my Outlook profile

by Barry Dean In reply to Reasons for Vista, Deskto ...

Great, but too complicated. Need to migrate my Outlook profile and user data. Thank you for your answer. I am more than willing to reduce the TCO I've seen more rumors about increased power management in Vista, etc. Okay, then it's not group policy. Right then, I gave a shot to the BDD 2007. Looks like a great tool but seems to be overkill for us. These WIM images are very nice features. I never thought it can be that quick and hardware independent. But what puzzles me here is that you have to "Perform a "bare metal" deployment from the lab deployment point" with the BDD that means that I will lose all my user settings, right? I believe we'll get bare new stations with Vista preinstalled on them and I want to migrate my user settings from their existing state to the new workstations. We already have users that have years' worth of work stored within their profiles, Outlook configuration, Office settings, printer settings, some have scanner settings. Is it possible that we could migrate all this stuff to the new workstations without reconstructing this all from the bare metal?

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Migration, user profiles in Vista. Tricky part

by Adam Eisenberg In reply to Great, but too complicate ...

Well, yeah power management in Vista got a huge improvements, so it worth investments although there were ways to configure power management that smartly years before Vista has pop up. Ah, now I got what you want. To migrate to Vista I recommend you look to this Vista migration guide. Then you'll need to migrate your user settings with User State Migration Tool 3.0. And that's where you'll need to use group policy and its roaming profiles and folder redirection. The weird thing with your situation is that Vista new features play a role of a double-edged sword in this case. While you are moving to a more robust and enhanced architecture that has a revised user profile management and structure that prevents you from migrating from the user profiles version 1 effective on Windows 2000 and Windows XP to user profiles version 2 introduced in Vista. So there's an important moment you have to be informed before you start:
"Users previously configured with roaming, mandatory, or super mandatory profiles no longer have a roaming, mandatory, or super mandatory profile after upgrading their computer to Windows Vista. This is a result of Window Vista using the ".V2" specification for Windows Vista user profiles. For best results, prepare Windows Vista mandatory and super mandatory user profiles prior to upgrading the users computer."
So you have to use folder redirection only that is known to be limited to redirect a very limited set of system folders only (see table 1).

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Any recommendations for desktop management?

by Barry Dean In reply to Migration, user profiles ...

What are you using yourself? Any recommendations for desktop management?
Oh, that again looks too complicated and I don't see if it's possible to migrate Outlook profiles. I see there are problems mentioned in this document with migrating Outlook Express profiles to XP which are not the case when you are migrating to Vista but I don't have Outlook Express! I have Exchange server and Outlook 2003 profiles (and some old on older computers) installed on my client computers. I see hey mentioned there SMS? Is it something like the desktop management software that you've mentioned in your post. I see all this paves the way for me to start with desktop management. These little migrations look good but seem to me pretty limited in what they can do for my case. What's that SMS? Is that SCCM 2007 that I heard so much about. That looked too complicated for me. Is there are simpler way for me just to let users get all their settings when they move to Vista? I also want them not to lose the ability to move back to old systems when needed. We still have many laptops which have Windows XP installed on them. Is there a way for me to be able to let them receive the same settings on old machines ones they moved to Vista? Or is that a point of no return? What are you using yourself?

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Desktop management tools and migration automation

by Adam Eisenberg In reply to Any recommendations for d ...

You are completely right, System Management Server is now a System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (SCCM 2007) It's a quite new and a huge product and I don't have information about if it's possible to move between various user environments with XP or Vista operation systems and have the user settings and application preferences within both environments. But since you are interested I've been using Scriptlogic's Desktop Authority desktop management tool since my old days. The tool is able to move all configuration settings between different environments no matter if it's Vista, XP or Windows 2000. (I fact even NT4 workstations are supported in this tool). And I am 100% sure it's possible to move Outlook profiles because that's how we manage the Outlook profile settings here. That allows users to get an access to corporate mail when they sit in our building and in their business trips as well. I even can move printer settings and do a trickier things like setting the user to receive another printer if he connects from a different network, automatically configuring him to have the nearest printer and perform a more elegant folder redirection. The freedom from roaming profiles that you get with Desktop Authority is one of the main features that I love there because the configuration process if fully hardware and OS independent. That makes features like network drive mapping for a specific group membership a breeze. A good example of what I do is I set users to have and additional network drive mapped to them once it's determined that the user have been logged from the local network that the client OS he uses is Windows Vista. New Vista encryption technologies allow me to provide the users with access to private data that I usually don't provide to users if they login from an older operating system.

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Thank you for your recommendations and help!

by Barry Dean In reply to Desktop management tools ...

Thanks for the information, Adam! That was a very big help to me. I gave the tool a try. I dug into what you called a smarter way to configure power management. Looks awesome to me.

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Welcome to the world of desktop management. Enjoy it!

by Adam Eisenberg In reply to Thank you for your recomm ...

Enjoy! I recommend also to look at a special migration site. That helped me during my migration process.

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