William Stanek: Windows 7: Inside Track, Part 5 “Migrations with Windows Easy Transfer”


William Stanek: Windows 7: Inside Track, Part 5 “Migrations with Windows Easy Transfer”

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William here. Last time, I talked about migrations and the options for using Windows Easy Transfer. So now let’s look at the actual migration process. Keep in mind that migration is only necessary if you can’t perform an in-place upgrade. Generally, in-place upgrades are supported when you are moving from a like edition of Windows Vista to a like edition of Windows 7, but there are many gotchas as discussed in my previous blog entries.

Also, last time, I forgot to talk about using external hard drives with Windows Easy Transfer. With external hard drives, you’ll want to look at speed as well. Most external hard drives have USB 2.0 connections. Generally, USB 2.0 has a maximum transfer rate of 480 Mbps with sustained rates of 10 to 30 Mbps. As with UFDs, transferring multiple gigabytes will take a while. In contrast, FireWire 400, FireWire 800 and eSATA generally will be much faster (up to 3X faster with eSATA) and there are a few high-performance external hard drives that support these interfaces. The catch is that your computers (both old and new if you are transitioning from one computer to another) must support the interface and removable media type.

With Windows Easy Transfer, your migration has two phases:

  1. Copy the data you want to transition.
  2. Move the data to its destination.

You kick start phase one of the migration process on the old computer or operating system using the Windows 7 installation media. The process is similar to the following:

  1. Insert or attach the Windows 7 installation media while running Windows XP or Windows Vista. On the installation media, in the Support\Migwiz folder, double-click MigSetup.exe to start Windows Easy Transfer.
  2. When the wizard starts, click Next, select the “An external hard disk or USB flash drive” option and then click “This is my old computer.” You can specify that you want to migrate all user profile data, select specific user profiles or customize the process.
  3. Enter a password to protect the data you are transitioning and then click Save. Next, select the external location or external media where you want to save the data. Click Save again.
  4. Click Next and then wait for the copy process to complete. Click Close.

Once you’ve confirmed that the data has been transitioned, you can move the data to the new computer. Or you can upgrade the Windows XP or Windows Vista computer to Windows 7 by performing a clean installation and then move the data back to the computer. Remember, this migration process with a clean installation is only necessary if you can’t perform an in-place upgrade.

To move the user data to its final destination, the process is similar to the following:

  1. Attach the UFD or external disk to the computer or make sure you can access the shared network location where the data is stored.
  2. Insert or attach the Windows 7 installation media while running Windows 7Windows XP or Windows Vista. On the installation media, in the Support\Migwiz folder, double-click MigSetup.exe to start Windows Easy Transfer.
  3. When the wizard starts, click Next, select the “An external hard disk or USB flash drive” option and then click “This is my new computer.”
  4. Click “Yes, open the file,” and then browse to where the Easy Transfer file was saved. Click the file name and then click Open.
  5. You can transfer all the files and settings you saved or only those files and settings for specific users. To transfer all the saved data, click Transfer. To select the saved data to transfer, click Customize, select the user profiles to transfer, and then click Transfer.
  6. Wait for the copy process to complete. Click Close.

That in a nutshell is how the copy/move processes work. Hope this gives you the core details you need to successfully migrate your computers using Windows Easy Transfer! In my next post—Windows 7: Inside Track, Part 6 “Automating Migrations with USMT 4.0”—I’ll dig into automating the migration process. Thanks for reading!

William R. Stanek

williamstanek at aol dot com

Twitter at http://twitter.com/WilliamStanek

  • Step 2 in the last set of 6 steps is wrong.  It should say "Insert or attach the Windows 7 installation media while running Windows 7", (not "...running Windows XP or Windows Vista").  After all, you're on the "final destination" computer that has Windows 7 installed on it at this stage of the two-stage process, aren't you?  I think maybe you made the simple mistake of copy/paste of the same wording from the first set of steps in "stage one".  No biggy for those of us who are savvy users, but it might lead to some confusion by newbees.

  • Fred,

    You are correct. Maybe Devon can fix that in the text above for us.

  • Fixed, guys.  Thanks much, Fred!

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