I subscribe to numerous different Microsoft newsletters, to the tune of perhaps 15-20 per month (or more frequent mail-outs as the case sometimes is). Last Friday, a fascinating e-mail from Microsoft Connect showed up in my inbox. Entitled “P2V Migration for Software Assurance Beta Now Available!” it explains how this beta tool version combines the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and SysInternals Disk2VHD utility to
convert a user’s existing Windows XP or newer client environment to a virtual hard disk then automates the delivery of an updated and personalized Windows 7 operating system containing a virtual machine with the user’s previous Windows environment, applications and Web browser. The user’s previous virtual desktop retains its existing management components, domain membership and policies. The process also publishes applications and the browser for the user to access them seamlessly within Windows 7’s Start menu.”
Being already familiar with Windows 7 premium versions’ Windows XP Mode, and having recently reviewed the Zinstall and zPOD products from Zinstall, I already knew that it is possible to capture an XP system image and turn it into a virtual hard disk (VHD). Now, customers who pay for Microsoft Software Assurance (an annual upgrade/maintenance/added-value tech support offering from MS) can take advantage of this technology to convert existing XP installations into VMs that they can deploy to their former users in the wake of a Windows 7 upgrade or migration.
Don’t have (or want to pay for) Microsoft Assurance? The two Zinstall products mentioned in the previous paragraph go for $89 at single-copy retail pricing. If you’ve got 10 or more desktops to put through an XP-to-Windows 7 migration, you might want to compare the pricing of MS Software Assurance against volume licenses for these other products. And as recent, in-depth experience showed me in detail, the Zinstall tech support folks are second to none!