ASPE-IT instructor Tom Carpenter starts a series of posts on Windows 7 deployment:
Many small and medium businesses lack a good hardware inventory management tool. Even larger companies often fail to inventory their hardware in detail. By hardware inventory, I mean a detailed database of computers and the components in those computers. For example, do you know which machines in your environment are ready to support Windows 7? Do you know which machines can be upgraded through memory or hard drive upgrades in order to run Windows 7 efficiently? Do you know which machines must be replaced because they cannot run Windows 7?
Odds are, most IT support professionals in environments with more than 50 computers but less than 1000 answer no to all three of those questions. The good news is that Microsoft has provided you with a free tool that can perform this hardware inventory collection and management. It’s called the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit (MAP toolkit).
In this post, I want to give you a brief tip related to this tool. If you didn’t notice, the MAP toolkit required a SQL Server database. This database can run on SQL Server Express Edition, but it is a SQL Server databases in the exact same format used by full SQL Server installations. The point is simple: the entire inventory pulled from the scans of your environment is stored in a SQL Server database. This means you can use tools like Crystal Reports, Microsoft Access or even the SQL Server Reporting Services to generate detail reports against the inventory database.
Yes, the MAP toolkit has reports built-in, but what if you want a report of all machines currently running Windows XP with SP1 or no service pack (instead of a later service pack) with less than 1 GB of RAM and a processor speed of more than 2 GHz? There is really no easy way to both display this report and format it for presentation within the MAP toolkit. With Crystal Reports, you could create this report in less than two or three minutes.
Why would you want such a report? Simple, the report shows you computers that can be upgraded to support Windows 7 and also require an upgrade to SP2 or later in order to use the User State Migration Tool 4.0 to migrate user profiles from the XP machine to the Windows 7 operating system (if you didn’t know, the User State Migration Tool 4.0 can only migrate user profiles from Windows XP SP2 or later).
So, remember, you can access the SQL Server database directly and run reports against that database using your favorite reporting tools. This utilization takes the MAP toolkit to a whole new level.
Tom teaches public courses but is also available for a personalized on-site training courses that can be tailored for your companies needs, for more information please visit our On-Site page.
If you are interested in Windows 7 training check out our courses: