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Choosing a Method for Collecting User State

Updated: March 28, 2003

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

The first step in planning your user state migration is to determine the best way to collect user state in your environment (Figure 6.2). Four user state migration methods are available for collecting and restoring user state:

  • Manual migration

  • Scripted-manual migration

  • Centralized automation

  • User-driven migration

Figure 6.2   Choosing a User State Collection Method

Choosing a User State Collection Method

The method by which you deploy Windows XP affects which user state migration method you should choose. Table 6.3 explains how each system deployment method affects the environment into which the user state will be migrated. A clean environment reduces management and support requirements.

Table 6.3   Effects of Windows XP Deployment Methods on User State Migration


Deployment Method Effects on User State Migration

Wipe-and-load. The computer’s hard drive is reformatted before installing Windows XP. This is the recommended deployment method when the existing hardware is sufficient to run Windows XP, because it provides a clean platform on which to restore applications and settings.

Presents a completely clean environment in which to restore user state.

Parallel deployment. The original computer is replaced with a new computer running Windows XP. This is the recommended deployment strategy when the old computer has insufficient hardware capability to run Windows XP. You can keep the original computer running until you are sure that the new computer is completely functional.

Presents a completely clean environment in which to restore user state. Commonly used when deployment of Windows XP is timed with computer replacement, as in lease rollover.

Operating system upgrade. The original computer is upgraded using the Upgrade option during the setup phase of Windows XP deployment. This leaves the user’s files, folders, settings, and installed applications intact.

Does not provide a clean environment, thereby increasing support and management costs. The migration of System Policy, registry settings, files, drivers, DLLs, and folder hierarchies can cause problems and nonstandard installations. Not recommended in production environments.

When determining the best user state collection method for your situation, weigh these factors:

  • The size of your organization

  • The number of users to be migrated

  • The level of desktop management already in place

  • The uniformity of file locations on workstations

  • The type of technical personnel available to assist in the migration

  • The amount of time you can dedicate to the migration process

Each migration method is particularly well suited to specific scenarios. It is likely that a large corporate deployment will involve several of these scenarios and employ a mixture of migration methods.

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