How to deploy Windows 7 to 200,000 computers

The Microsoft IT team have the job of running an complex and rapidly-changing IT infrastructure for a very demanding user base – our own. Sound familiar to you too? Well I guess it should, because almost every education institution has exactly the same challenges and budget pressures.

The team are often on the leading edge of deploying our technology to our own in-house users – for example, not only supporting users running Windows 7 betas, but also rolling out Windows 7 to 84,000 clients within 2 months of the release day. They also have a role of documenting the processes and experiences, and publishing them for our customers to learn from.

The story of how Microsoft deployed Windows 7 internally is online now, and here’s some of the nuggets I picked up from it:

  • The team focused on providing a self-install process for non-technical users (yes, I did my own!)
  • Simultaneously, they wanted to reduce help-desk calls
  • They had to support 46 types of laptops, and 22 types of desktops – and offer 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows
  • Data security was increased by rolling out BitLocker Drive Encryption and DirectAccess at the same time
  • And they had to test 1,500 applications for compatibility

And somehow, they did – seeing up to 3,000 Windows 7 installations a day, to get to 84,000 clients within 60 days, and a total now of over 190,000 internal clients around the world.

Learn MoreThe article on how they did it, and the lessons they learnt (and the constraints they had) makes a good read if you’re in an infrastructure planning role.