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Windows 7 Rolling Review: Zinstall Runs Windows 7 and XP

Windows 7 Deployment Tools
The goal of this Rolling Review is simple: Simulate how easy, or painful, it will be to upgrade client systems to Windows 7 in a distributed environment.
Acronis Deploys Windows 7 With Ease
Acronis' Snap Deploy 3.0 client imaging system focuses only on client imaging and deployment. If you're shopping for a full enterprise desktop management suite, look elsewhere.
Zinstall Runs Windows 7 and XP
Organizations have an option from an upstart called Zinstall, which lets users run both XP and Windows 7 on the same computer.
Kace KBOX 2000
The KBOX 1000 series focuses on client management, including client inventory, software distribution, app virtualization, remote control, rudimentary NAC and a Web-enabled help desk, among other things.
Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager R2
Of the products tested, Configuration Manager is most efficient at OS deployment and user state migration.
Avocent LANDesk Management Suite 9
LANDesk's range of OS support makes it the most diverse client management solution we tested.
Mainstream support for Windows XP Pro is over, and mainstream support for Vista Business runs out in 2012. The upshot? Windows 7 is coming to your organization. The right deployment tool can make an upgrade less painful.

If you've tried migrating a few users to Windows 7 already, you know that moving user files, applications, and settings from the old OS to the new can be a serious pain. Now organizations have an option from an upstart called Zinstall, which lets users run both XP and Windows 7 on the same computer.

Zinstall offers three products. For deployment on existing PCs, Zinstall XP7 lets companies load Windows 7 while also keeping a copy of XP with all of the user's preferences in place. Users click an icon to switch from one OS environment to the other. If you're adding new hard drives to existing machines, Zinstall Bare Metal Edition loads up Windows 7. Finally, Zinstall HDD edition lets you image Windows 7 onto brand-new PCs and laptops.

We tested Zinstall XP7. Our test bed laptop was designed to provide a challenge, running a dual-boot version of XP because the first OS was previously corrupted by malware (a common scenario). There also wasn't much disk space left on the hard drive.

First, we booted from the Windows 7 DVD and ran an advanced installation so that our existing XP environment would be preserved on disk. After completely installing Windows 7, we ran Zinstall XP7 and hit our first brick wall: We needed more disk space. We turned to Zinstall's HDD. By attaching a new laptop hard drive via USB, Zinstall imaged the existing drive to the new drive easily and cleanly.

We then moved back to the original task. It was here we went from a brick wall to the great wall of China. Because we were operating in a dual-boot environment, and because C:\Windows wasn't our XP installation directory, Zinstall XP7 failed. The Zinstall support staff jumped all over the issue and debugged the code. Note that the tech support team knew we were writing a review for publication.

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