When it comes to migrating user settings and data for Windows 7 deployments, the User State Migration Tool is a valuable ally.
Migrating user state, data and settings is a critical part of any Windows 7 deployment project. The question is not whether you should migrate, but rather if you can afford to not migrate.
The Microsoft User State Migration Tool (USMT) 4.0 is a free set of tools you can use to migrate user state, data and settings as part of your Windows 7 deployment project. These tools are enabled by default in the Microsoft recommended deployment solutions (Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, or MDT, 2010 and System Center Configuration Manager, or SCCM, 2007), and for a good reason. If you don’t take care of local data or settings, and that data is lost because you reimaged a user’s machine, recovering that data will be expensive and difficult.
Some organizations may only migrate certain components, like ODBC connections, third-party fonts and the Outlook profile. Other organizations migrate more, including scanning the local drives for known data types and applications settings. There’s always something worth migrating.
The USMT 4.0 is the enterprise version of the Windows Easy Transfer utility available for Windows 7. It consists of a few command-line utilities:
Refresh and replace are the two deployment scenarios where the USMT 4.0 plays a big role. A refresh involves re-imaging the existing machine while keeping a local backup. A replace is just that—replacing a machine. In that scenario, you store the backup on a network share or sometimes on an external drive.
The latest version of the USMT 4.0 includes several new features:
The USMT 4.0 supports the following source and destination OSes:
As far as crossing processor platforms, the USMT 4.0 will support 32-bit to 64-bit migration, but not 64-bit to 32-bit.
In the USMT, XML templates control the data being migrated from the machine. The default templates migrate the following:
In addition to this list, the USMT also migrates settings for some 30 applications and many known file types. Please check the USMT documentation (USMT.CHM) for a detailed list.
The original version of the USMT 4.0 doesn’t support Office 2010. There was an update released in February 2011 that adds support for Office 2010. If you’re using SCCM 2007 OS deployment (OSD) with MDT 2010 Zero Touch, you need to update the ZTIUserState.wsf with the new version numbers. You’ll find detailed information here.
When using MDT 2010 and SCCM 2007, these will generate the necessary command lines for ScanState and LoadState. These drive the fully automated process in the background, but you’ll most likely want to customize what data is being backed up by the USMT.
In the USMT 4.0, data and settings are defined as either data within a user profile or data outside a user profile. With command-line switches, you can define what profiles are being backed up. By default, the USMT will migrate every profile on the machine. The USMT will only migrate local profiles (local accounts as well as domain users). You can’t point the USMT to a server share used for roaming profiles.
You can use the following switches to the ScanState command to limit the number of profiles you’ll be backing up. These switches will configure the USMT to only back up profiles logged on to within the past 60 days:
Another way to limit the data being backed up is to configure the XML templates. The USMT comes with several default templates. You can also create your own templates. Here’s a sample that will migrate all text files in the C:\Demo1 folder, and the entire C:\Demo2 folder:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<component type="Application" context="System">
<displayName>File Migration Test</displayName>
<pattern type="File">C:\Demo1\* [*.txt]</pattern>
<pattern type="File">C:\Demo2\* [*]</pattern>
When using MDT 2010 Lite Touch, you need to store your custom template in the deployment share\USMT folder. Then update the rules (customsettings.ini) with the following settings:
When using SCCM 2007 OSD and MDT 2010 Zero Touch, you need to store your custom template in the USMT Package folder. Then update the settings package with the following settings:
When working with the USMT, you can take the following approach when testing templates you’ve created:
By using a VM for your testing, you can quickly test multiple templates in a matter of a few hours. That’s much faster than doing a full image deployment every single time. Once you have verified that it works manually, you can test a full image deployment.
Johan Arwidmark is a consultant, author and all-around geek specializing in enterprise-grade Windows deployment solutions. He speaks at several conferences each year, including the Microsoft Management Summit and TechEd. He is also actively involved in deployment communities, including deploymentresearch.com and myitforum.com, and has been recognized as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional in Setup & Deployment. His areas of expertise include Windows deployment tools and solutions, Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, Windows Preinstallation Environment, Microsoft User State Migration Tool, Windows Deployment Services and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager.