First Look

Zinstall: Making Windows migrations and upgrades painless (even for Windows 10!)

Rather than having to go through a clean install, Zinstall lets you do an upgrade to Windows 10 for the cost of Windows 10

birdmigration
Credit: Petras Gagilas / Flickr

Windows 10 will be released on July 29 and you’re probably dreading the day because if you’re on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 SP0, or Windows 8.0 there’s no product upgrade path … you’re going to have pay full whack; $119 for Home and $199 for Pro (Windows 10 is a free upgrade only for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1). Ouch.

But wait, it gets better! As there’s no product upgrade path not only will your wallet be empty but your calendar will be completely full because there’s really no functional upgrade path at all! Windows 10 requires you to do a clean install so you’re going to have to find all of your installation disks and … well, it’s going to be quite a process. 

According to my sources, Zinstall has found a way to offer a Windows10 upgrade and migration service for those unlucky users priced at the same $199 that Windows 10 itself costs. Yep, Zinstall WinWin 10 includes a Windows 10 Pro license as well as performing a complete transfer of all programs and files to your new Windows 10 machine with no reinstalling of anything.

This version of Zinstall will be available starting July 29th, the same day that Microsoft releases Windows 10.

Another cool migration tool from Zinstall is WinServ which will make your migration from Windows Server 2003 (now at end-of-life) a lot easier by moving everything as well as making it possible to go from a 32-bit system to a 64-bit platform:

Zinstall WinServ migrates applications, configurations, databases, profiles, shares and data from one server to another. You can migrate even across different Windows Server versions, including 2003, 2008 and 2012, 32bit and 64bit. For example, you can use WinServ to transfer your applications and server environment from Windows Server 2003 32bit to a new Windows Server 2012 64bit.

I’m currently testing out the company’s Migration Kit Pro which is designed for complex migrations. I’m trying to migrate from a Windows 7 virtual machine created under VMware Fusion to an Oracle VirtualBox VM. Zinstall also offers other migration products including an enterprise-oriented version; these are well worth checking out.

I would have liked to run Migration Kit Pro inside the running Windows VM but for totally obscure reasons the latest version of Fusion (version 7) won’t run it  (in fact, running the VM causes Fusion to become unresponsive after a few minutes). Of course, I can’t use the previous version of Fusion because I’m running OS X “Yosemite” and VMware Fusion 6 won’t run on Yosemite. This is very much a “you can’t get there from here” situation but I’m hoping Zinstall can solve my problem. More later … I’m just in the process of copying the VMware VM from my iMac to a Windows machine which Windows told me will take over 8 hours (the VM is 24GB).

Oh, joy! Chrome just crashed and I couldn't relaunch it because it left an unkillable process running. Now, OS X won't restart if it thinks Chrome is still running so there was only one choice: Power down my iMac and then restart it killing off the transfer of the VM to the Windows machine which had been running for two hours. This is going to try my patience ...

Anyway, let me know what migration horrors you have had or are looking forward to having. 

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