MDT 2010 New Feature #12: USMT 4.0 hardlink support

Version 4.0 of the User State Migration Tool will release with Windows 7.  The RC version of it is available in the Windows Automated Installation Kit for Windows 7 RC (  This has several new features, including one that MDT 2010 takes advantage of: hard-link migration.  If you are performing a Lite Touch “refresh” deployment (backing up the user state, clearing the old OS, installing a new OS, reinstalling apps, and restoring the user state), this process can be made significantly faster using hard-link migration, taking minutes instead of hours because it doesn’t actually move any of the data.  Instead, it just creates new links to the same existing files in a protected folder (e.g. C:\MININT).  When the old OS cleanup process runs later, it deletes the original links but the files remain because there is still another link in the protected folder.

The “estimate” process that is executed in the task sequence recognizes that USMT 4.0 is present.  When a refresh is being performed, it will skip the estimate because it knows a hard-link migration can be performed.

If you want to see this process in action, check out Jeremy’s video at

This same process works with ConfigMgr 2007 Beta 2 as well, again with the ZTIUserState estimate process automatically setting the right variables to perform a hard-link migration.  (We are investigating some issues with this, so try it out in your lab to make sure you won’t run into these.)

There are lots of other features in USMT 4.0 as well.  See for the full list.

Comments (2)
  1. says:

    HI mniehaus ,

    I am using MDT 2010 update 1 and even testing the new P2V now. howver, since my 3 months testing now to prepare our 1200 machine movement (with heavy oracle applications). i was never successfull even once to use the hardlink USMT migration. I am using the deafult MDT task sequences. Do I need to add any extra lines to any script or define any additiona variables in the customsettings.ini or bootstrap.ini to get it working ?

    kindly note my windows 7 Custom Wim always installs a windows with disabled local administrator account. no matter howmany times I try to enable the administrator account before i do the capture. and I think that is might be the reason why I always get broken USMT migration.

    Your help is highly appreciated as I do not want to go to other third party expensive "head count solution". I got two offers until now and thier pricing is a shock, not mentining the fights I have to go in for the hardware upgrades :).

    forgot to mention that for some reason i feel i will be stuck too in using MDt for the windows 7 deployment, which sometimes freak me out when I think I cannt get the hard-link USMT and offline hardlink USMT to work. 🙂

    Thank you for your time,

    Walid Zohaira

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