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Windows Vista Migration Step-by-Step Guide

Updated: March 5, 2008

The Microsoft® Windows Vista® operating system introduces new setup methods and processes, based on the new image-based setup feature of Windows Vista. This document provides the steps to use when upgrading a computer from the Microsoft Windows® XP Professional operating system or the Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition operating system to Windows Vista, and also how to migrate existing files and settings from Windows XP to Windows Vista.

Windows Vista Migration Scenarios

This document covers two primary scenarios for installing Windows Vista: upgrading an existing Windows XP computer "in-place" on the same computer hardware, and migrating user settings to a new computer running Windows Vista. If you purchase a new computer to run Windows Vista and want to move your files and settings from Windows XP to the new computer running Windows Vista, refer to the "Migrating to Windows Vista" scenario. If you are planning to install Windows Vista on a computer running Windows XP, refer to the "Upgrading to Windows Vista" scenario.

  • Upgrading to Windows Vista
    This scenario assumes that you are installing Windows Vista on a computer running Windows XP Professional or Windows XP Home Edition.
  • Migrating to Windows Vista
    This scenario assumes that you are installing Windows Vista on a new computer, and then transferring your user settings and files from a computer running Windows XP Professional or Windows XP Home Edition.

Requirements for Installing Windows Vista

Hardware requirements for Windows Vista may change before its official release. The present requirements can provide a guideline, and are as follows:

  • A computer with one gigahertz or higher processor clock speed recommended; 300 MHz minimum required (single or dual processor system); Intel Pentium/Celeron family, or AMD K6/Athlon/Duron family, or compatible processor recommended
  • 512 megabytes (MB) of RAM or higher recommended
  • 5 gigabytes (GB) of available hard disk space
  • A video adapter capable of supporting the Windows Server® 2008 Display Driver Model (LDDM) drivers used in Windows Vista
  • A DVD drive

Overview of Scenarios

These scenarios cover the steps required to install Windows Vista as either an upgrade to an existing operating system, or on a new computer to which you will transfer settings and files. The steps are very similar for the Windows Vista setup in both scenarios; the scenarios differ in the state of the computer at the beginning of the procedures, and the transfer of data after the Windows Vista installation.

Upgrading to Windows Vista

Avoiding Software Conflicts

This section addresses a temporary issue that may be present when you upgrade from Windows XP to Windows Vista.

If you are upgrading a computer running Windows XP and Windows AntiSpyware Beta 1, you may see software conflicts with Windows Defender when you upgrade to Windows Vista. To avoid this, uninstall Windows AntiSpyware Beta 1 before starting the upgrade process described in this section.

Steps for Upgrading to Windows Vista

Step 1: Assess Hardware Requirements

Hardware requirements for Windows Vista may change before its official release. The present requirements can provide a guideline, and are as follows:

  • A computer with a modern CPU, as detailed in the Windows Vista Capable PC Hardware Guidelines (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=54987)
  • 512 megabytes (MB) of RAM or higher recommended
  • 5–10 gigabytes of available hard disk space (exact amount depends upon several factors, including features installed and virtual memory settings selected)
  • A DirectX 9–class graphics adapter that supports WDDM and Pixel Shader 2.0, capable of supporting the Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) drivers used in Windows Vista
  • A DVD drive

Step 2: Backup Important Data

You should back up files, or save them to a safe location, before upgrading to Windows Vista. While this step is optional, it is important to have a current backup of important data before making significant changes to the computer to prevent data loss.

To save your important data to a safe location, your options will depend on the original operating system and the backup options available to you. The following list provides a few suggestions:

  • Windows Backup, or other backup software
  • Copy the important data to a network folder
  • Burn the data to a CD or DVD
  • Backup to an external hard disk

Step 3: Upgrade to Windows Vista

The procedure for upgrading to Windows Vista assumes that you are already running a previous version of Windows on your computer. Upgrades are supported for the following versions of Windows:

  • Windows XP SP 2
  • Windows Vista
Upgrade to Windows Vista
  1. Start Windows Vista Setup by inserting the DVD while running Windows, and click Install Now. If the autorun program does not open the Install Windows screen, browse to the root folder of the DVD and double click setup.exe.

  2. Click Next to begin the Setup process.

  3. Click Go online to get the latest updates (recommended) to retrieve any important updates for Windows Vista. This step is optional. If you choose not to check for updates during Setup, click Do not get the latest updates.

  4. In Product key, type your product ID exactly as it appears on your DVD case. Click Next to proceed.

  5. Read and accept the License Terms. Click I accept the License Terms (required to use Windows), and then click Next. If you click I decline (cancel installation) Windows Vista Setup will exit.

  6. Click Upgrade (recommended) to perform an upgrade to your existing installation of Windows.

  7. Windows Vista Setup will proceed without further interaction.

    noteNote
    To perform this procedure, you must be a member of the Administrators group on the local computer, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. If the computer is joined to a domain, members of the Domain Admins group might be able to perform this procedure. As a security best practice, consider using Run as to perform this procedure.

Migrating to Windows Vista

To migrate to Windows Vista from a previous version of Windows, you should have a computer running a supported version of Windows that contains applications, settings, and data to be moved to a new computer running Windows Vista. The migration tools in Windows Vista provide three options for migrating your settings and files:

  • Network connection
  • Removable media (such as a USB flash drive or external hard disk)
  • CD or DVD

In addition to a choice of transfer method, you have a choice of migration tools. Windows Easy Transfer, included in Windows Vista, can be used to migrate settings and files for all of the users on a single computer to a new computer. If you want to migrate files and settings for a number of users on multiple computers, use the User State Migration Tool (USMT).

Steps for Migrating to Windows Vista

Step 1: Migrate User Settings Using the User State Migration Tool

You can use Microsoft Windows User State Migration Tool (USMT) 3.0 to migrate user accounts during large deployments of Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Vista operating systems. USMT captures user accounts including desktop, and application settings, as well as a user's files, and then migrates them to a new Windows installation. Using USMT can help you improve and simplify your migration process. You can use USMT for both side-by-side (where you are copying the data from the old computer to a new computer) and wipe-and-load (where you are saving the data and then formatting the computer's hard disk and performing a clean install) migrations. If you are only upgrading your operating system, USMT is not needed.

USMT is intended for administrators who are performing automated deployments. If you are migrating the user states of only a few computers, you can use Windows Easy Transfer. For more information about USMT, see "Step-by-Step Guide to Migrating Files and Settings" on the Microsoft Web site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=37680).

USMT allows you to do the following:

  • Configure USMT for your unique situation, using the migration rule (.xml) files to control exactly which user accounts, files and settings are migrated and how they are migrated.
  • Automate your migration using the two USMT command-line tools, which control collecting and restoring the user files and settings.

USMT is described in full detail in "Getting Started with User State Migration Tool" on the Microsoft Web site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=56578).

Step 2: Migrate User Settings Using Windows Easy Transfer

You can use Windows Easy Transfer to move user accounts, files and folders, program settings, Internet settings and favorites, and e-mail settings from an existing Windows computer to a new computer running Windows Vista.

Step 1: Preparing for the Transfer

Step 2: Capturing Files and Settings from the Existing Computer

Step 1: Preparing for the Transfer

Windows Easy Transfer in Windows Vista supports the following operating systems:

  • Windows 2000 SP 4
  • Windows XP SP 2
  • Windows Vista
Preparing Windows Easy Transfer
  1. Open Windows Easy Transfer on your Windows Vista computer: click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, click System Tools, and then click Windows Easy Transfer. Click Next to proceed.

  2. If you have any programs open, you will be prompted to close them. You can opt to save your work in each program, and then close them individually, or you can click Close All in Windows Easy Transfer to close all running programs at once. Click Next.

  3. Click Start new to begin the process of preparing Windows Easy Transfer to gather information from existing computers.

  4. Click This is my new computer.

  5. Select the destination for Windows Easy Transfer files. You have the option of creating the wizard files on CD or DVD, removable media, or a network drive. To use removable media or CD/DVD, you must have a drive in your computer that supports writing data to the appropriate media. Click Network drive.

    noteNote
    Both computers must support the transfer method you choose. For example, if you write the data to CD or DVD, the destination computer must also have a CD or DVD drive. If you choose to transfer the data across the network, both computers must be connected on the same network.
  6. Type a path and folder name in which you will store the Windows Easy Transfer files. The default value is C:\migwiz. Click Next.

Step 2: Transferring files and settings

Perform this step on the existing computer from which you are migrating user settings and files. Once the files and settings have been collected from your old computer and saved, you will move to the new computer to complete the wizard.

Transfer files and setting using a network
  1. Start Windows Easy Transfer on the computer from which you wish to migrate settings and files by browsing to the removable media or network drive containing the wizard files, and then double clicking migwiz.exe.

  2. If you have any programs open, you will be prompted to close them. You can opt to save your work in each program, and then close them individually, or you can click Close All in Windows Easy Transfer to close all running programs at once. Click Next.

  3. Determine the transfer method to use. Click Through a network.

    noteNote
    Both computers must support the transfer method you choose. For example, both computers must be connected to the same network.
  4. Click Connect directly via network to begin the transfer. Alternately, click Save to network location if you want to store the files and settings in a file to be loaded later. If you choose to store the data in a network location, you will be prompted to provide the path.

  5. Click Everything - all user accounts, files, and program settings (recommended) to transfer all files and settings. You can also choose to determine exactly which files should be migrated by clicking either Only my user account, files, and program settings, or Custom.

  6. Review the list of files and settings to be transferred, and then click Start to begin the transfer. Click Customize if you want to add or remove files or settings.

Transfer files and settings using removable media
  1. Start Windows Easy Transfer on the computer from which you wish to migrate settings and files by browsing to the removable media or network drive containing the wizard files, and then double clicking migwiz.exe.

  2. If you have any programs open, you will be prompted to close them. You can opt to save your work in each program, and then close them individually, or you can click Close All in Windows Easy Transfer to close all running programs at once. Click Next.

  3. Determine the transfer method to use. Click On a CD or other removable media, such as a flash drive.

    noteNote
    Both computers must support the transfer method you choose. For example, both computers must support the same type of removable media.
  4. Click To a network drive to save the files to either a network folder or a folder on a removable drive.

  5. In Where do you want to save your files, type the path to a folder on the removable drive, and then click Next.

  6. Click Everything - all user accounts, files, and program settings (recommended) to transfer all files and settings. You can also choose to determine exactly which files should be migrated by clicking either Only my user account, files, and program settings, or Custom.

  7. Review the list of files and settings to be transferred, and then click Start to begin the transfer. Click Customize if you want to add or remove files or settings.

  8. Click Close once Windows Easy Transfer has completed moving files.

  9. Move the removable media to the new computer and launch Windows Easy Transfer. Click Next.

  10. Click Continue a transfer in progress.

  11. In Where did you copy your files, click Removable media. If Removable Media is unavailable, click Network Drive. Click Next.

  12. In Locate your saved files, type the path to your saved files or click Browse. Click Next once you have located the files.

  13. Choose user names on your new computer that match the names on the old computer. You may have to create new accounts in this step. Type in a user name to create an account on the local computer. Type in a user name in the format domain\user to create a profile for a domain user.

  14. In Choose the drives for files on your new computer, select the destination drive for each source drive location. For example, for files that came from the D: drive on your old computer, you must determine which drive they should be moved to on the new computer.

  15. Review the list of files and settings to be transferred, and then click Start to begin the transfer. Click Customize if you want to add or remove files or settings.

  16. Click Close once Windows Easy Transfer has completed moving files.

Transfer files and settings using a writable CD or DVD
  1. Start Windows Easy Transfer on the computer from which you wish to migrate settings and files by browsing to the removable media or network drive containing the wizard files, and then double clicking migwiz.exe.

  2. If you have any programs open, you will be prompted to close them. You can opt to save your work in each program, and then close them individually, or you can click Close All in Windows Easy Transfer to close all running programs at once. Click Next.

  3. Determine the transfer method to use. Click Burn a CD or DVD.

    noteNote
    Both computers must support the transfer method you choose. For example, both computers must have a working CD or DVD drive.
  4. In Choose your media, type the path to the writeable CD or DVD media. Click Next.

  5. Click Everything - all user accounts, files, and program settings (recommended) to transfer all files and settings. You can also choose to determine exactly which files should be migrated by clicking either Only my user account, files, and program settings, or Custom.

  6. Review the list of files and settings to be transferred, and then click Start to begin the transfer. Click Customize if you want to add or remove files or settings. If there is not enough free space on the writeable media, Windows Easy Transfer will tell you how many blank discs will be required.

  7. Click Next once the CD or DVD burn process has completed.

  8. Click Close once Windows Easy Transfer has completed moving files.

  9. Move the CD or DVD media to the new computer and launch Windows Easy Transfer. Click Next.

  10. Click Continue a transfer in progress.

  11. In Where did you copy your files, click Read CD or DVD.

  12. In Choose your media, select the drive letter for your CD or DVD drive where the disc is located. Click Next once you have located the files.

  13. Choose user names on your new computer that match the names on the old computer. You may have to create new accounts in this step. Type in a user name to create an account on the local computer. Type in a user name in the format domain\user to create a profile for a domain user.

  14. In Choose the drives for files on your new computer, select the destination drive for each source drive location. For example, for files that came from the D: drive on your old computer, you must determine which drive they should be moved to on the new computer.

  15. Review the list of files and settings to be transferred, and then click Start to begin the transfer. Click Customize if you want to add or remove files or settings.

  16. Click Close once Windows Easy Transfer has completed moving files.

Additional Resources

For more information about automating your deployment (including best practices, migration sample scripts, and information about application compatibility, imaging, and remote deployments) see "Desktop Deployment" on the Microsoft Web site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=56488).

For more information about planning for user state migration, see "User State Migration: Overview" on the Microsoft Web site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=56489).

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