William here, continuing with my inside track discussions on Windows 7. Last time, I provided step by step options for using Windows Easy Transfer. Now let’s kick it up a notch and look at automating migrations using User State Migration Tool (USMT) Version 4.0.

As you learned from my earlier blog entries, Windows Easy Transfer is best suited for personal use or for transitioning several computers from Windows XP or Windows Vista to Windows 7. When you have a lot of computers to transition, you’ll want to automate the process using USMT 4.0.

Unlike Windows Easy Transfer, which doesn’t require much pre-planning, you’ll need to perform some fairly extensive planning before you use USMT to transition your computers. As part of your planning, you’ll need to identify the settings you want to migrate.

USMT 4.0 can help you migrate operating system settings, application settings, user data, and more. As examples, operating system settings that you can migrate include:

  • Appearance settings for the desktop, menus and the overall user interface.
  • Keyboard and mouse settings as well as folder options
  • Internet options for home pages, favorites, bookmarks, cookies, security, connections and proxies
  • Mail settings, rules, contacts, views and signature files

USMT 4.0 allow you to configure your migration using these migration rule (.xml) files:

  • MigUser.XML Sets the rules for migrating user profiles and user data
  • MigDocs.XML Sets the rules for automatically finding user documents that should be migrated
  • MigApp.XML Sets the rules for migrating application settings

To control exactly which files and settings are migrated, you’ll need to modify these scripts to suit your environment. You might need different versions of these rule files for different departments or different types of users.

USMT also allows you to configure user account migration by using ScanState and LoadState command-line tools. You use ScanState to collect settings and data and LoadState to restore settings and data. Because USMT 4.0 now supports offline migrations, you can run ScanState in Windows PE and you also can perform migrations from previous installations of Windows contained in Windows.old directories.

As part of the migration process, you can use the MigUser.Xml file to define the user data to migrate and also to control how access control lists (ACLs) for user data are migrated. By default, all user folders from each user profile are migrated, including Desktop, Downloads, Favorites, Links, My Documents, My Music, My Pictures, and My Videos. Folders from the All Users in Windows XP and Public profiles in Windows Vista are migrated as well, which ensures any shared data is migrated.

If you use the MigUser.Xml file, ScanState searches fixed drives, collecting and migrating files. The files collected are determined by the file extension. Although you can edit the MigUser.Xml file to add or remove file extensions, the default files collected include those with the following file extensions:

.accdb, .ch3, .csv, .dif, .doc*, .dot*, .dqy, .iqy, .mcw, .mdb*, .mpp, .one*, .oqy, .or6, .pot*, .ppa, .pps*, .ppt*, .pre, .pst, .pub, .qdf, .qel, .qph, .qsd, .rqy, .rtf, .scd, .sh3, .slk, .txt, .vl*, .vsd, .wk*, .wpd, .wps, .wq1, .wri, .xl*, .xla, .xlb, .xls*

USMT 4.0 can migrate ACLs along with user data. However, to do so, you must specify the folders to migrate. The source ACL information is migrated only when you explicitly specify the folders to migrate.

Well, that’s it for now. In my next post—Windows 7: Inside Track, Part 7 “More on Automating Migrations with USMT 4.0”—I’ll dig deeper into the automation process. Thanks for reading!

William R. Stanek

williamstanek at aol dot com

Twitter at http://twitter.com/WilliamStanek