Monday, August 1, 2016

District's MS Windows 10 and MS Office 2016 Deployment Plan

It is no news to you that Microsoft released Windows 10 and Office 2016 over a year ago. However, you may be puzzled as to why District is still running older versions. As an update, we have started working on the future deployment of Windows 10. Deployment is a long process encompassing the creation of a master image (an image is a package that includes all the standard software that gets installed on your PC), bench testing, and field testing finalized by the final deployment. Additionally, we need to get your computer and you the user, ready for the changes. We are currently working on building the master image for testing. In conjunction, we are also testing other software and hardware that gets used by our faculty, staff, and students.This fall, we will work with beta testers to collect their data and feedback as they "kick the tires" of the new image. At the same time, we will also work with our Professional Development Centers to create training materials to introduce the new operating system to you. Next summer (2017), if everything satisfies all checks, we will be ready to deploy Windows 10 and Office 2016.

Project Details:

  • Our first task, currently in progress, is the creation of the master image. This takes into consideration not only driver and hardware compatibility (for the more than 10 computer models currently supported) but also other areas such as licensing, active directory integration, group policies, printing, virus protection etc. There is a lot to learn and we are going through this learning curve knowing that it is a prerequisite for us before we can start offering support to our users.
  • The second task will be testing. This will allow us to work the obvious bugs out of the system and allow us to refine integration into our current environment. This is where we will figure how ready we are for the new Operating System. For instance, by the end of this summer, only a little more than half of our desktops will have 4GB of memory, but by next summer, once we get more of the Dells 790 out of circulation, we should be better poised to run Win10. There are always new issues arising and we just keep on working on them as they pop up.  This fall, our plan is to include some end-users to help us do further testing and their feedback should validate our prep work and also help us refine the end product even more.
We are aiming to make this transition as seamless as possible, so we will work with the PDC's to disseminate the help and information that you may need. In the interim, we will keep you posted and we ask you to please stay tuned.

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