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Windows XP to Windows 7 Hard-Link Migration of User Files and Settings

Updated: June 18, 2009

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows XP

This guide explains options for moving your user files and settings from a Windows® XP operating system to a Windows 7 or Windows Vista® operating system. This guide also introduces how to use User State Migration Tool (USMT) 4.0 on multiple computers to expedite file and setting migration when installing Windows 7 or Windows Vista on an existing Windows XP computer. For more information, see the User State Migration Tool 4.0 User's Guide.

If you create a Windows 7 DVD by using the published ISO files, users with Windows Vista Service Pack 1 can perform in-place upgrades to Windows 7. For users with Windows Vista Enterprise, you must use a Windows 7 Enterprise DVD for in-place upgrades. By inserting a DVD with Windows 7 and then performing the installation, the user is presented with an upgrade wizard and can choose either Upgrade or Custom (advanced). To retain files, settings, and programs, the user must choose the Upgrade option. In-place upgrade is intended for use by consumers and supports upgrading from Windows Vista Service Pack 1 or Service Pack 2 operating systems. In-place upgrade in Windows 7 does not provide support for Windows XP and Windows Vista without Service Pack 1.

This guide explains your options for moving files and settings from operating systems that are not supported for in-place upgrade and it explains your options for performing a clean installation of Windows 7 on existing hardware with Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 already installed while retaining and migrating files and settings that are on the computer. The steps in this guide do not migrate programs or applications from the old operating system to Windows 7. This document is intended for IT professionals with limited deployment infrastructure or automation expertise, who are primarily installing from retail DVDs or operating system files contained within DVD or ISO media.

For more advanced deployment and image customization scenarios, see the Windows Automated Installation Kit for Windows 7 [WAIK_win7], the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, or the operating system deployment capabilities of the Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007.

For a complete view of Windows 7 resources, articles, demos, and guidance, please visit the Springboard Series for Windows 7 on the Windows Client TechCenter.

For a downloadable version of this document, see Windows XP to Windows 7 Hard-Link Migration of User Files and Settings in the Microsoft Download Center.

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