Tips and Tools for Deploying Windows 7 Part 3–User State–User Data Migration

Like everyone else, you love Windows 7 and can’t wait to get it deployed throughout your organization. Let’s take a look at the many tips and tools available today to ease your burden of deployment. I have broken it down into several steps (or categories of steps). While writing all of this, it became obvious really fast that there is way too much stuff for a single post so I have broken it down into 5 parts. They are:

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Part 3: User State – User Data

There are multiple tools to know about when it comes to user state. In the smallest of environments, you may be able to get by with the Windows Easy Transfer Wizard. The latest version of this tool is included with Windows 7 and there is a download version for Windows XP and Vista. The Easy Transfer Wizard allows you to transfer user accounts, documents, Music, Pictures, e-mail, Internet favorites, videos and more. If you go into advanced configuration you can select other files on the system to migrate as well. It is a nice and very simple interface for those that do not have any interest in automating or in scripting a migration solution. I suspect most will want to use a more powerful tool like the User State Migration Tool. To do the migration of basic OS (User State) settings and files you can use the Lite-Touch deployment method. The Lite-Touch, High-Volume Deployment strategy requires limited interaction during deployment. Interaction occurs at the beginning of installation, but the remainder of the process can be automated. Microsoft recommends this strategy to organizations with a dedicated IT staff that have managed networks with 200–500 client computers. Prior deployment experience is not required but is beneficial for using this strategy.  Personally, I would use this method for almost all organizations with less than 250 machines as well.  Maybe not to upgrade Grandma’s computer but I would use it for upgrading all small and medium sized businesses. This method is discussed in detail in the blog post and video found at:

Migrate Windows XP to Windows 7 Using USMT (User State Migration Tool) [Upgrade XP or Vista] Step By Step or Vista] Step By Step

If you also want to know more about migrating applications and even upgrading office while doing the user state migration, you will want to look at the blog post and video from:

Upgrading Windows XP to Windows 7 and Migrate Microsoft Office and Other Applications Using The User State Migration Tool (USMT)

Using the USMT you have complete control including migrating any number of additional files and folders, mapping old users to new users etc. Much of this does require changing XML files but even this chore can be made easy by a great little free tool that can be downloaded from Microsoft called XML Notepad. You can also use special capabilities in USMT to do things like Hard Link Migration which allow you to migrate a large amount of data without ever having to physically move that data. In other words, if you have someone that has a bunch of pictures in their profile and they are stored in their profile (I would hope if they are business pictures, they would be stored on a server and part of a back strategy but for the sake of explanation let’s assume it is not) In this case say you have a 250gb of data that you do not want to copy up to the network during the migration. You can use the Hardlink Migration and it will mark these files as protected you clean the drive install the new OS and then the files are unprotected and linked back to the proper location in the new OS. All of this data does not need to go across the wire limiting the time window and the storage capacity needed on the network.

If you like this post, please contact me on Twitter @ITProGuru to let me know.  To keep from missing other posts, make sure you add an RSS to my blog.

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