A. If you're considering a Windows 7 upgrade, you're probably concerned about the success of getting one OS converted into another. There's nothing quite as problematic as returning an upgraded computer to a user only to discover that something important didn't make its way to the new OS.

For this and other reasons, Microsoft has recently augmented its Microsoft Deployment Tookit (MDT) for Windows 7 deployments with a new physical to virtual (P2V) feature. Similar in concept to the P2V used in virtual environments, P2V Migration for Software Assurance converts a user's Windows XP computer into a virtual machine (VM) during the Windows 7 upgrade process. That VM is then delivered with the upgraded Windows 7 OS. It retains its original management components, domain membership, and policies, allowing users to interact with them from the Windows 7 Start Menu.

In addition to preserving important user settings, the P2V Migration for Software Assurance is also useful for upgrading desktops that contain incompatible applications. By automating the P2V of the user's old computer, users can continue using their XP-only applications within the VMs. This feature assists organizations who may be holding off on an upgrade due to application compatibility concerns.

You can get a copy of the P2V Migration for Software Assurance from Microsoft's site.