One of the common messages around a number of Microsoft products is "it just works". One example being the new databound controls in ASP.NET 2.0, and how they interact with the underlying DataSourceControls, or the Login controls, and how they interact with the underlying Membership API. Both are designed such that you can change the underlying provider, and the controls "just work" without any additional work on your part.

Now, obviously one could make the observation that software should "just work" as a base expectation, but we all know that's not always the way it is.

So I wanted to call out a tool that "just works" in helping transition from one machine to another (or from one OS to another on the same machine). It's the Microsoft Office 2003 Save My Settings Wizard, and you'll find it under Program Files > Microsoft Office > Microsoft Office Tools. Since I've had a reasonably good experience with my installs of Windows Vista Beta 1, I've decided to run at least one machine close to full-time on Beta 1. For a few days, I'd been accessing my email via a web interface, but that's less than ideal. So I installed Office, and booted back into my old OS and ran the Save My Settings Wizard, then booted into Windows Vista and ran the wizard again to import the settings. Then I opened up Outlook 2003, and it was configured essentially exactly the same as I had it configured in my old OS (the only exceptions being that the wizard does not appear to save account passwords, presumably for security reasons, and neither Newsgator nor Lookout were configured, since those are add-in installs that aren't on my Windows Vista partition). Because both OS partitions are on the same machine, I didn't even need to point it to my .pst file.

Probably one of the smoothest migration experiences I've ever had. Kudos to the Office team, and here's hoping we can make even more of our products work this well! :-)