Windows 10 migration for enterprise: what to consider

When Windows 10 was released in 2015, the enterprise world reacted calmly – during the poll at Microsoft’s own Ignite conference around half of the respondents claimed their company would wait for more than a year before upgrading. The same answer was given by a whopping 80% of businesses with more than 100 000 end users.

However, 2017 is the high time to start a migration process. Here are the top 3 reasons:

  1. Windows 7 end-of-life is scheduled for 2020. Seems like a distant future? Not for the enterprise world – business had the same amount of time to move from Windows XP to Windows 7, and still, lots of them ran out of time. Migrations pilots, testing, and fixing compatibility issues (more on that later) may take over a year.

  2. Windows 7 is still the dominant OS in the enterprise market; however, Windows 10 adoption is gradually accelerating. According to Spiceworks’ survey, Windows 10 penetration is already at 11%. Ultimately, more enterprise software vendors will be shifting their focus to Windows 10 quite soon.

  3. Universal Windows Platform – a Windows 10 novelty – is a major focus for Microsoft, and software providers are following suit. For example, Sage’s popular CRM and accounting apps are already in Windows Store. Our own PACE Suite will support repackaging any installer into Universal Windows Platform format later this year.

Assuming the majority of businesses are planning to upgrade this year, we would like to highlight a few challenges that must be considered.

Cost of migration

The most recent similarly large OS migration was moving from Windows XP to Windows 7. According to Forrester, businesses have spent $1000 per average upgrade back then. While the cost of moving to Windows 10 will probably be smaller, it could still be a significant amount for any large company. What is more important, the application migration process was the most expensive part of that upgrade, and it will be a large investment this time as well.


Any migration project involves deploying business software to a large number of end users. To smooth this process, we would advise repackaging apps to MSI format for the following reasons:

  • Minimize end user involvement. With MSI silent installations, important configurations (licensing information, components to be installed, etc.) are pre-defined, and users can’t change that and disrupt the deployment.
  • Create and deploy pure packages. Exclusion lists automatically filter all captured resources and omit unnecessary system changes, which ensures the creation of pure packages (for example, PACE Suite has an editable exclusion list tailored to Windows 10).

Compatibility issues

Migrating critical applications from Windows XP to Windows 7 was a major challenge for enterprise IT and service providers. Though lots of Windows 7 applications are compatible with Windows 10, the best practice is to verify if mission critical software survives the upgrade. Moreover, testing is especially important for infrastructure apps.

Windows 10 adoption for the enterprise world is imminent, and we believe 2017 will be the year the majority of businesses will start or even complete the upgrade. If your migration project includes application repackaging, we invite you to try PACE Suite. PACE Suite doesn’t require any post-install configurations, has an easy user interface with helpful wizards, and allows installations of any number of virtual and physical machines. You can learn more about PACE Suite features here.


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