Understanding what the USMT 4.0 CONFIG manifests migrate (Part 1: Introduction)

Hi folks, Ned here again. We've been asked many times to provide more specific information on what USMT migrates when using the included manifests and calling the OS' built-in manifests . We've touched on these details previously in the so-called "operating system components" listed under TechNet article "What Does USMT Migrate".

After deeper investigation over the past few months, I have compiled a list of explicit descriptions that cover exactly what components we migrate and what this means in practical terms. Because operating system manifests focus mainly on SCANSTATE behavior, these descriptions are currently for XP and Vista. XP and Vista are far more likely to be the source OS and I didn’t want you to wait another month or two (or six). I am working on the Windows 7 portion and will update this series when it's ready.

Notes on the style and info of this series

  • The data is organized by component, cites the manifest for a more detailed examination, gives a synopsis of what is migrated, and provides one or more sample graphical interfaces to the settings when possible. It is not a complete list of all settings migrated or application interfaces, but instead provides a reasonable entry point for an administrator to dig into details. I am not documenting every little registry setting and file copied, but I believe you have been equipped now to answer those one-offs.

  • This is a lot of info, so I had to break it out into a series. I have attached DOCX downloads so you can have "all in one" offline references.

  • The Windows 7 series will be ready when it's ready, please don't "are we there yet" me.

  • For further info on CONFIG.XML and the USMT manifests, examine:

  • The lists are ordered in the same way as the CONFIG.XML manifest is when it is generated. CTRL+F is your friend for specifics.

  • Windows XP and Windows Vista both use USMT-provided replacement manifests. Vista also uses manifests scoped for USMT within the "c:\windows\winsxs\manifests" folder. In the examples below, the path is to one of the included manifests within c:\windows - it is not necessarily the XML manifest used in your case, as it will differ by operating system, service pack, and hotfix installation. To make this clearer, I used green highlighting to show the named portion of each manifest that's unlikely to change after updates or between architectural versions.

  • Remember, not specifying the /CONFIG or specifying it with an unmodified CONFIG.XML implicitly uses all of the below, with the exception the ones you only get when you specify /TARGETVISTA. Only setting "NO" to a migration element ever actually changes the behavior of config.xml.

  • If migrating from x86 to x64, make sure you disable the COM+ Setup manifest.

  • The format of this series is referential, so expect boredom from here on out. Seriously.

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Ned “better than counting sheep” Pyle