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Tools Used for the Migration Process

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Some large organizations develop their own migration tool. This frequently provides an excellent migration experience for the user, because the tool is customized to the specific environment. Such a tool can capture and restore user settings and files. Adjustments can be made quickly when new applications are deployed or bugs are found.

Typically, this option requires a significant investment in development time. If your organization does not have personnel who can create a migration tool, the cost of hiring programmers to create one might be prohibitive. Even if you do have programmers on staff, compare the cost of tool development with the migration costs of other available methods.

Many tools currently available from vendors can collect and restore most necessary settings and are extensible to include additional application settings. These tools often provide multiple types of rules to specify which files to migrate. However, while fairly thorough, such tools are not targeted to your specific environment, and their initial cost can be high.

Microsoft provides two tools designed specifically for migrating user state in a Windows environment:

  • The Files and Settings Transfer Wizard

  • The User State Migration Tool (USMT)

Both tools automate the migration of basic application, operating system, and user settings, as well as user data, and both support customization.

Files and Settings Transfer Wizard

The Files and Settings Transfer Wizard is a Windows XP accessory, available in System Tools. (On the Program menu, point to All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and then click Files and Settings Transfer Wizard.) The wizard enables users to migrate personal display properties, folder and taskbar options, and Internet browser and mail settings, as well as specific files or entire folders (such as My Documents, My Pictures, and Favorites) from their old computer to their new one without any manual configuration.

Designed for home users and small office users, the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard is also useful in a corporate network environment for employees who get a new computer and need to migrate their own files and settings without the support of an IT department or Help desk. For information about using the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard, see Help and Support Center for Windows XP.

User State Migration Tool (USMT)

Designed for IT administrators who are performing large deployments of the Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional operating system in a corporate environment, USMT provides the same functionality as the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard, but on a large scale targeted at migrating multiple users. USMT enables administrators to precisely configure unique settings, such as making user-specific modifications to the registry. The tool is included on the Windows Server 2003 operating system CD in the \ValueAdd\Msft\USMT folder.

USMT uses the following files in collecting and migrating user data and settings:

  • Scanstate.exe collects user state.

  • Loadstate.exe restores user state.

  • Migapp.inf determines which application settings are migrated.

  • Migsys.inf determines which operating system settings are migrated.

  • Miguser.inf determines which user settings are migrated.

  • Sysfiles.inf defines files that must not be migrated despite any other rules. These are operating system files that will conflict with the newer version of the files in Windows XP. The SysFiles.inf file should not be modified except to add more files to the list of files that never migrate under any circumstances.

These files are shipped with Windows XP in the ValueAdd\Msft\USMT folder.

Table 5.1 and Table 5.2 list the file types, folders, settings, and system components that are migrated by default using USMT. (See also the Inf Commands.doc file included on the Windows Server 2003 operating system CD in the \ValueAdd\Msft\USMT folder.)

Table 5.1   File Types and Folders Migrated by Default by USMT

File Types Migrated Folders Migrated




























My Documents

My Pictures



Table 5.2   Settings and System Components Migrated by Default by USMT

Settings and System Components Migrated

Accessibility options

Classic Desktop settings

Dial-up connections

Display properties

Folder options


Microsoft® Internet Explorer settings

Localization/International settings

Microsoft® Office settings

Mouse and keyboard settings

Network drives and printers

Microsoft® Outlook® settings and store

Microsoft® Outlook® Express settings and store

Phone and modem options

Regional options

Screen saver selection (not users’ personal screen saver files)

Shortcuts (shell tools, network items, and so forth)

Sounds and audio devices settings

User certificates (personal, e-mail, Internet Explorer security, and so forth)

Taskbar settings

USMT offers multiple customization options for including various file types and settings in the user state migration. Administrators should expect to customize the default set of data and settings. Customization should be performed by technical personnel with knowledge of the registry.

This chapter describes how to plan and test a user state migration, but does not describe how to use the USMT tool. For code samples to assist you in customizing the .inf files used with USMT and the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard, see the file Inf Commands.doc included on the Windows Server 2003 operating system CD in the folder \ValueAdd\Msft\USMT.

For more information about using USMT, see the User State Migration Tool link on the Web Resources page at