Argh…Windows 7 and Users

14 Mar

The last few weeks have been a bit hectic at work, with me regularly working up to 12 hours a day, and more often than not, coming home and working remotely in the evenings too.

Most of the reason behind this has been because of the Windows 7 rollout that I’m managing. With over a hundred new PC’s now configured and deployed across the site (with the exception of a few held back due to software compatibility issues), I thought now would be a good time to sit back (albeit for about 30 seconds) and reflect on how things have gone and what I could have done differently/better.

First of all, I think that this is technically probably the most organised rollout we’ve done. Thanks to a combination of SMS reports and command line magic, we had a detailed inventory of all existing machines that were being replaced with new kit, so each computer could be individually customised for the user before it was deployed. This took some time, especially given the fact that we were also performing full backups of every computer we received back. We do tell our users not to save data on the C: drive, but we’ve had problems before with data on the C: drive nearly being lost and, as always, it was “our fault” – hence the need for complete backups.

The second thing that strikes me is that some of our users have been unnecessarily nit-picky about the whole thing. I understand the whole Outlook 2010 ribbon bar/gui thing will take some getting used to, but I had hoped the fact that users have gone from having old machines that, in some cases took 30 minutes from switch on to being useable, to having machines that booted in about 60 seconds, would soften any resistance to change. Especially when, two weeks ago, the same users were complaining that they were still being forced to use old software and how we had to “keep up with the rest of the world”.

We also have the student committee complaining that we haven’t upgraded them yet. Well, I’m sorry, but there is only one of me and while I realise you may “want” the new software, you certainly don’t “need” it to the extent where I stop working on more urgent upgrades to deal with you. Whining and complaining will only serve to push you further down my list. That’s right, I am a follower of BOFH practices 🙂

I even had one user blow up at me for “being in her office”. Not entirely sure how I was supposed to replace the computer without going in. Perhaps she expected me to reach in through the window with my extendible arms? Oh, and the 50Gb of files you’d saved on your C: drive? Already moved to the new machine. You’re welcome.

I did have one user yesterday however who commented that she absolutely loves her whizzy new machine with the new Office suite, and how all her personal email folders etc were present and working, and that she owes me cake. Which, for this tired and grumpy sysadmin, kind of makes up for some of the other shitness 🙂

So, what could I have done better? Well, I think documentation for the new system should have been better. Not full documentation (there are help files for that), but just a handful of top ten issues/FAQs that users are likely to have. Unfortunately I left that to other members of the IT team, who neglected to help. I also think the project would have progressed more rapidly if I didn’t have to continually pick up and deal with neglected support calls.

Anyway, 100 new machines are pretty much in, now I’m off for a quick shower before I load up on caffeine and start to focus on the remaining hundred or so in-place migrations.

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Posted by on March 14, 2012 in Work


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