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Information on the Downstate Windows 7 Upgrade

Downstate Academic Faculty and Staff:

Microsoft will no longer issue security fixes and patches for Windows XP.  Downstate computers currently running Windows XP must be upgraded to Windows 7.  The Department of Information Services (IS) has begun that process,  We wanted to give you some basic information about the process as well as describe steps that you can take to ensure a successful upgrade.

A basic survey of computers in your department has already been made.  Key information has been logged that will be used to determine whether your computer can be upgraded or needs to be replaced.

* Recent model - Dell Optiplex 700 series or higher will be upgraded.  Dell Optiplex 600 series or lower should be replaced from IS department inventory.

* Memory:  Minimum of 2 Gb RAM is required.  4 Gb RAM preferred. More memory may be installed at the time of upgrade or later, depending upon a variety of factors.

* Hard drive capacity: 50 Gb free drive space minimum, 70 Gb preferred; staff will recheck this before starting, in case the size of your “My Documents” size exceeds this.

See the section below "How can I prepare for the upgrade?" for suggested steps you should take.

A project manager will meet with your department in advance to go over the results of the survey, to assist you in planning for the upgrade and to create a schedule for your members. 

IMPORTANT: Ignore any Updates notifications! As we register your computer for an an upgrade, a small System Center icon and notification will appear at lower right of the screen, similar to Windows Updates.  Please ignore it – our staff will use this to trigger your update after running the pre-upgrade steps below.  

The basic process is as follows:

  1. Before they begin:

a. Staff will check with the user on any additional programs they may have installed, and will work with the user to capture any data files used by that program before upgrading the computer.

b. Key user information/files are copied to two locations:

i. A network “share” or external hard drive (done manually by staff).

ii. A protected location on the computer’s hard drive (done automatically at the start of the process).

2. During the upgrade:

a. Staff will run an automated upgrade process that will install Windows 7 and a set of standard Downstate programs including MS Office 2010, Lotus Notes; Adobe Acrobat Reader (or Adobe Acrobat Pro and Adobe Elements for those faculty/staff who already had it); SPSS; Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome web browsers; Java and Flash.

b. At the end of the process, the program will then copy your data back into My Documents and other key locations such as those needed for Lotus Notes.

3. After the upgrade:

a. Staff will run post-upgrade processing including:

i. Checking that you are able to log onto Lotus Notes successfully

ii. Restoring bookmarks/favorites

iii. Installing your additional software as appropriate.

iv. Installing printers

v. Installing network share drives

After the process completes, you should be able to log on to your computer as usual using your Downstate network username and password. Besides the postupgrade items listed above, our staff will also follow up with you in the ensuing days to ensure that all is going well. 


How can I prepare for the upgrade?

1. Clean up first:

a. Whenever I move, I always wind up getting rid of some stuff that I never use, and reorganizing the rest.  The same also happens when I move from computer to computer, or in this case, from OS to OS. You may want to delete old items from your Desktop and My Documents. You can copy it to an external drive for storage.  I move inactive stuff that I still want to have on my computer into a “Z-OldItems” folder.  (The Z prefix forces this folder down to the bottom of an alphabetical display.)  Slims down any searches and shortens the list of folders and files in the My Computer display.

2. Choose a backup strategy: 

a. If you aren’t backing up already, this is a great reason to get started.

b. Online cloud storage:  You can use one of a number of options, including Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, DropBox or SugarSync.  You’ll get a certain amount of storage free, and if you need more you’ll have to pay for it.  Cloud storage can be a big help in automatically synchronizing folders/files between multiple computers at work and home.  Here is a recent review article comparing the main options that can guide you on which one might work best for you:

OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box: Which cloud storage service is right for you?

c. USB flash drive (if you have 32 Gb or less).  These can be purchased at a wide variety of locations such as drug store chains and office supply stores.

d. External hard drive:  These are lightweight, fast, can be powered by the USB connector – no more AC/DC adapter – and are slim enough fit in a purse.  One such drive that we like to use is the Seagate Slim, well-reviewed by CNET.   500 Gb of storage is less than 60 dollars and it works well with both Apple and Windows OS machines – great if you use a Mac at home or as a laptop.

3. Backup your files:

a. Media:  Be aware that default folders containing pictures, audio or video files may NOT in a subfolder inside your My Documents folder.  If that is the case, these will NOT be automatically backed up and restored as part of the process.  If you have digital media used for medical education/teaching, or simply don’t want to lose these, be sure to copy them to a subfolder inside the My Documents folder, and back them up to the cloud or an external drive.  They will need to be moved back to their proper location after the upgrade if your digital media programs are set to use the original location.  Note that if the size of these folders exceeds the free space needed for the process, it may be necessary to copy these to external storage and restore them after the process is done.

b. Programs:  Some programs are saving your data outside of My Documents.  Don’t leave it behind!  Make a list of any programs installed on your computer that are not part of the basic standard programs like Microsoft Office, Lotus & Acrobat Reader.  Go over your list with the staff member so that they can check for any data files.  You will need to reinstall these programs, so include the source of the installation in your list (DVD, online link, etc)

c. Favorites/Bookmarks:  IE Favorites will be copied over automatically.  Staff will try to copy bookmarks over for Chrome and Firefox, so let them know if you use either of these.

d. Multiple users: If more than one department member routinely uses a computer, you should let the staff member know so that they can make sure all of the active users’ data folders are backed up and restored.

4. Copy “outside” key subfolders to My Documents:

a. The process will not copy everything from your old computer.  Generally items inside the My Documents folder will be copied over.  Examples of items at risk might include graphic, audio or video files in Pictures, Sounds or Video folders ‘outside’ of My Documents.  Other examples might be data folders used by programs such as statistical or database programs. If you have educational items in folders located ‘outside’ of My Documents, make a list and copy them to My Documents.  Afterward they can be copied back out so that your programs will find them again.

5. Identify your “extra” programs:

a. Staff will assist you as best we can to install your additional personal programs but will require your help with the following:

b. List:  Check your computer’s listing of programs (Start >> Programs) and compile your own checklist of any that you installed and that you still want to use.

c. Compatibility:  Keep in mind that some of these Windows XP programs may not work with Windows 7, may have been discontinued, etc. It may not always be possible to install/use a program on your new operating system if the manufacturer does not support it any longer or has gone out of business.

d. Licenses, Installers, Support:  You will need to locate the license keys and installation media for your personal programs. These could be CD/DVDs, or if you downloaded them, the installer file or better yet, a link to the installation page.  The version that you installed may need to be replaced for Windows 7. In some cases the manufacturer may require purchase of an upgrade license to migrate their program to a version compatible with Windows 7.  If you have the contact information for the company’s technical support, be sure to include that on your list of programs you want to install after the upgrade.

6. Other items:

a. Mapped drives:  These are often shown to you as “extra” drive letters – O, M, Y, Z – but which are actually directories on another computer.

i. Network shares:  Storage that you can access on the network storage servers.  “hotel” is one such example.  Staff will log these but in most cases they should be restored automatically, especially if they appear on any Downstate computer when you log onto it.

ii. Shared from another user’s own computer:   This is pretty rare – for example, if a group of faculty all are using a single exam question database file that is kept on one of their computers.  If your department has data on a user’s computer that is accessible/shared to others in the department, you will want to make sure to backup that data.  Be sure to let the staff member know before they start the upgrade so that they can log the Security/Sharing settings, users who access that share, etc.

b. Printers/Scanners:  In some cases staff will need to capture key information such as the printer’s TCP/IP address (if applicable), or if it is using a campus printer server.

c. Other devices: Webcams, touchpads, Bluetooth adapters, etc.  Staff will need to download appropriate drivers to install afterward.

 Here is a link to some instructional videos posted on the Information Services web page:

jmn - 5/6/2014

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