Forgotten Tools: Altiris DS

As consultants we always have the challenge of migrating from one Desktop OS to a Newer Version and normally we stick to the same products: USMT, SCCM and Radia CAE; Its rare that we deviate from this because we know that USMT + SCCM or Radia is bullet proof, millions of desktops have been migrated this way with much success.

While Altiris may not be as capable in other areas as SCCM or Radia CAE, there is one thing it does get right: Migration & Deployment. There is some things to think about however, its ok saying “Well that Desktop running Windows XP/2000 there, we want it upgraded to Windows Vista / 7 while retaining user data”. There is a set of logical steps have to be thought of here, during my Windows Migrations i plan migrations as follows:

  1. Perform automated backup of Desktop / Laptop using ImageX, Ghost or RapiDeploy
  2. Run and Store USMT in a Shared Location using a logical naming convention that uses tokens
  3. Image the Machine
  4. Restore USMT Data from Shared Location
  5. Get user to Test
    a.) Failure – Restore Image taken in Step 1. b.) Success continue onto next desktops.

Symantec Employee Jason Short shows this as a self initiated process using Symantec Workflow Manager which interacts with Altiris DS (6.9):

Remember, Imaging machines is easy but migrating data takes time and careful planning. Migration plans should have an acceptable number of machines imaged per day! Migrations can take anywhere between 45 Minutes to 3 Hours, do allow for this disparity.

Symantec Resources:

Deploying Windows 7 –
Getting Started  –

Windows 7 Migration Commercial