Application Compatibility – User Experience – Part 5

By Rory Monaghan


The first mention for User Experience from an application perspective has to do with Data Migration. Which isn’t really just an application consideration. But when your packages are put down and deployed on your users Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows Whatever, if they don’t have their application settings such as their Outlook Signature, Word Settings, Browser Favorites etc. etc. Most companies I have worked with have used USMT which is a Microsoft tool (User State Migration Tool) This tool integrates well with MDT and SCCM. You can also easily customize the tool to capture any known application settings that need to be migrated so the users unique application settings for them are carried across. The tool comes with many canned rules for various applications and out of the box it actually gets a lot of the heavy hitters but you may want to customize for any heavy hitting apps in your environment. It’s likely not necessary to carry settings for each and every application across. The tool like I stated is not just for applications, it can be used for migrating User Profile data and user created files, Desktop Background etc. and can be used to migrate only certain file types like .pdf, .doc and ignore .mp3 or whatever you please. You can use the tool without integrating with SCCM is you please by scripting your own solution using the tool which is very simple to do.

If you have grown frustrated with trying to manage roaming profiles in your environment maybe it’s time to use this as an opportunity to bring in a User Virtualization Tool which is particularly cool when using Kiosk machines, with hotel users or going to a VDI environment. These tools can help migrate settings from XP to Windows 7 but also can be used in your day to day environment to dynamically capture and carry across all specified user data and bring it back whenever the user logs on to a domain desktop session. The User Data is stored centrally and these tools have a client which sits on your desktops that has triggers for example log on and log off. On log on the tool will go the centralized location with the users credentials and bring back their data. These tools can also help eliminate the need for creating multiple packages with multiple different environment settings for the one app as these settings could be managed with the use of these tools combined with Active Directory. Also ActiveSetup can be a thing of the past which helps speed up some login times considerably. You could also get creative with the tools and use triggers for network connected to a certain IP range to determine that a user is on a network other than the work IP range and so perform actions such as disable the company proxy setting.

The tools I have alluded to are RES WorkSpace Manager, AppSense and Microsofts UE-V. UE-V appears to be an extension of USMT with a few extras thrown in. It does the job required for the most part but to this point, in my opinion, does not have the same umph that RES and AppSense provide.

Technically a compatibility issue but not really regarding applications but certainly would impact on User experience and printing from within applications! You may require new print drivers for your new OS. With 64-bit Windows 7 you will need a 64-bit Print Server. This will need to be rolled out before the OS is deployed!

For more read on to Part 6

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