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What are the pitfalls of going through a migration?

We are moving from a stand alone system with Windows 95 PCs to a central server environment with PCs running XP. My job is to liason with the central server folk and move my users into the new central server/XP world. Could you point me to some Web sites or reference materials to assist our planning?

We are going from basically stand alone PCs (some minor peer-to-peer networking) to a centrally managed server. We are buying new PCs that are XP compatible, but my users have had no experience with XP or networks. Our internal Telecom division is handling this, but I have never been through this type of migration and am concerned about what might be lost in the translation.

For example, my check list might include: have they backed up personal address books in Outlook, favorites in Internet Explorer, mapped drives, IP addresses, printer drivers, etc? If anyone has gone through a migration, what are the pitfalls that cost productivity, time or money?

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Migrating users from a workgroup environment to a domain environment can be a bit of a challenge at first, but both you and the users will see the advantages after the implementation is complete.

If you are upgrading to Windows XP as your network client, you should plan on using Windows 2000 domain controllers. While you could make the XP clients go to a Windows NT 4.0 domain, you lose too much network management functionality by using Windows NT 4.0.

There is a tremendous amount of information available at the www.microsoft.com/technet site on how to perform a number of different types of migration. In all migrations, you should take care of the following:

* Back up all user data
* Record all users account names and passwords
* Plan groups and rights assigned to groups
* Plan network shares and permissions
* Create a network usage policy
* Creating a network security policy

That is just a very short list of what you have in front of you. The specifics of your environment will determine what other issues you need to consider. Plan out everything you can think of in advance, and then attempt to implement your plan. Remember that nothing ever works as planned, so be flexible and consider viable alternatives when things don't work.

This was first published in April 2002

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