Windows 7 : Migrating User Profiles (part 2) - User State Migration Tool

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The User State Migration Tool (USMT) is a command-line utility that you can use to automate the task of migrating user profiles in wipe-and-replace and side-by-side migrations. USMT is a part of the Windows AIK and is designed to be used in highly automated migration scenarios. USMT migrations occur in two phases: in collecting profile data from the source computer using Scanstate.exe and in importing profile data to the destination computer using Loadstate.exe. In PC Refresh scenarios, the source computer and the destination computer are the same machine.

USMT allows you to capture user accounts, user files and folders (including NTFS permissions), operating system settings, and application settings. You can use USMT to migrate profile data to destination computers running Windows 7 from source computers running the Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 operating systems. You cannot use USMT to migrate settings for mapped network drives, local printers, device drivers, local user account passwords, shared folder permissions, and Internet connection sharing settings.

More Info


To learn more about the User State Migration Tool, consult the following TechNet document:

Configuring USMT Migration Settings

If you use USMT with basic options, it moves the most common application settings as well as data from folders most commonly used to store documents. Although this selection works in most cases, many organizations use unique local storage configurations and deploy unusual applications. You can configure USMT to migrate data stored from these unique locations and unusual applications by configuring an appropriate XML-formatted configuration files. Here are the XML-formatted configuration files that you can use with USMT:

  • MigUser.xml. This file contains rules about user profiles and user data. The default settings for this file move all data in My Documents, My Video, My Music, My Pictures, desktop files, Start Menu, Quick Launch settings, Favorites, Shared Documents, Shared Video, Shared Music, Shared desktop files, Shared Pictures, Shared Start menu, and Shared Favorites. This file also contains rules to ensure that all the following file types are migrated from fixed volumes: .qdf, .qsd, .qel, .qph, .doc, .dot, .rtf, .mcw, .wps, .scd, .wri, .wpd, .xl*, .csv, .iqy, .dqy, .oqy, .rqy, .wk*, .wq1, .slk, .dif, .ppt*, .pps*, .pot*, .sh3, .ch3, .pre, .ppa, .txt, .pst, .one*, .mpp, .vsd, .vl*, .or6, .accdb, .mdb, .pub, .xla, .xlb, and .xls. The asterisk (*) represents zero or more characters.

  • MigDocs.xml. This file contains information about the location of user documents. Use this file if local user documents are stored in nonstandard locations.

  • MigApp.xml. This file contains rules about migrating application settings. These include Accessibility settings, dial-up connections, Favorites, folder options, fonts, group membership, Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) settings, Microsoft Office Outlook Express mailbox files, mouse and keyboard settings, phone and modem options, Remote Access Service (RAS) connection phone book files, regional options, remote access, screen-saver settings, taskbar settings, and wallpaper settings.

  • Config.xml. This file is used to exclude features from the migration. You can create and modify Config.xml using Scanstate.exe with the /genconfig option.

In some situations, there may be files or application settings that are not migrated when you configure the XML files listed in the preceding paragraphs. In these instances, you must create a custom XML file. You can also use custom XML files to reroute folders, specific file types, or specific files. Rerouting is the process by which you move all files of one type that may have been stored in separate places on the source computer to a specific, final location on the destination computer.

More Info


To learn more about creating custom XML files, consult the following document on TechNet:


Scanstate.exe runs on the source computer. If you are running Scanstate.exe from within Windows on computers that have either the Windows Vista or Windows 7 operating system, you must do so from an elevated command prompt. If you are running Scanstate.exe on a computer running the Windows XP operating system, you must be logged on with an account that is a member of the local administrators group.

You can use Scanstate.exe to perform an offline migration of data. An offline migration occurs when you run Scanstate.exe from the Windows PE environment, rather than from a client Windows operating system environment. The benefit of performing an offline migration is that it occurs more quickly than when you perform an online migration. You can configure a special bootable Windows PE image that performs an automatic offline migration. You can also deploy this image using Windows Deployment Services, which allows you to perform automatic offline migrations on a computer from a PXE boot. Although you can use Scanstate.exe in offline mode, you cannot use Loadstate.exe in this manner. You must always run Loadstate.exe from within the Windows client operating system environment.

More Info


To learn more about performing offline migrations using Scanstate.exe, consult the following TechNet Web page:

Scanstate.exe is a command-line utility. When using Scanstate.exe, you must specify the location in which the migration store will be hosted. The following command creates an encrypted migration store named store123 on the file share named Migration on the file server named Fileserver and uses the files MigApp.xml and MigUser.xml. You encrypt the store using the key mykey:

Scanstate \\fileserver\Migration\store123 /i:MigApp.xml /i:MigUsr.xml /o /encrypt /

More Info


To learn more about how to use the Scanstate.exe command-line utility, consult the following TechNet document:


You run the Loadstate.exe utility from an elevated command prompt on the destination computer. You should install all applications that were on the source computer on the destination computer prior to running Loadstate.exe. If you install applications on the destination computer after running Loadstate.exe, individual application settings might be overwritten by the new installation.

You need to use the same custom XML files when using the Loadstate.exe utility to restore data if you used custom XML files during the Scanstate.exe process.

Loadstate \\fileserver\Migration\store123 /i:MigApp.xml /i:MigUsr.xml /decrypt /key:"mykey"

More Info


To learn more about how to use the Loadstate.exe command-line utility, consult the following TechNet document:

Selecting a Migration Store

When you have determined exactly what files and settings you need to migrate from the source computer to the destination computer, you need to determine which type of migration store you will use. Although you can use a removable storage device as a migration store, most administrators do not use this option when they are moving a large number of user profiles. This store type requires the technician performing the migration to attach and detach the device as a part of the migration process. This level of manual intervention can significantly lengthen the migration process when you are dealing with several thousand computers. If you choose to use a network share as a migration store host, you need to consider the amount of storage space required and the possible impact on network bandwidth of transferring a substantial amount of user profile data to and from the network share as the migration progresses. USMT supports three general migration store types:

  • Uncompressed. This type holds data in a hierarchy of folders that mirror the user profile data that is being transferred. Uncompressed migration stores create a duplicate of the migrated data in a separate location on the original volume, on an attached volume, or on a remote location such as a network share. You can navigate the folder hierarchy using Windows Explorer or the command line. Uncompressed migration stores are not encrypted when created by the Scanstate.exe utility, and they lack the security of other migration store types. When you are moving multiple computers by using uncompressed migration stores on a shared network folder, you need to ensure that each migration store is written to a separate folder location on the store.

  • Compressed. This type writes all migration data to a single compressed file. You can encrypt this file. You can extract the data located in this file using the Loadstate.exe utility. When you move data for multiple computers by using compressed migration stores, ensure that the resulting migration store has a unique name that allows you to tie it back to the computer that you migrated from.

  • Hard-link. You can use hard-link migration stores only in wipe-and-load migrations. The hard-link migration store allows files to be stored on the local computer while the old operating system is removed entirely and a new operating system is installed. Hard-link migrations do not create a duplicate of the migrated profile data and use less space than an uncompressed or compressed migration store. You cannot use a hard-link migration store when you are using a network share as a storage location.

You should consider the security of uncompressed and compressed migration stores that are located on shared network folders. If the security of user profile data is a concern during a migration, you should use a compressed migration store with encryption. This method minimizes the risk that unauthorized third parties are able to access user profile data during the migration process. You configure an encrypted migration store in the practice exercise at the end of this lesson.

Estimating Storage Requirements

You can use Scanstate.exe to determine the amount of space required for each storage type on a computer given a specific set of migration rules. This can be useful when you are planning a migration and you do not know how much data actually has to be stored. The migration report is written in XML format. You can open the report for review using Windows Internet Explorer, as shown in Figure 1.

Migration store report

Figure 1. Migration store report

You run the following command to generate an estimate of the migration store size:

Scanstate.exe c:\migrationstore /o /p:"C:\migrationstoresize.xml"

Practice: Using USMT

USMT allows you to automate the process of migrating user profile data. In this set of practice exercises, you perform several steps that you would perform with USMT when preparing to migrate profile data. These include creating an estimate of the size of the migration store, creating a custom XML file that has the location of any nonstandard document directories and then creating an encrypted migration store.

EXERCISE 1 Creating an Estimate of the Migration Store Type

Prior to performing this practice exercise, ensure that the Windows Automated Installation Kit is already installed on WKSTN1. To complete this exercise, follow these steps:

  1. Log on to computer wkstn1 with the Mark Lee user account.

  2. Create the directories c:\mig-store, c:\mig-reports, and c:\usmt.

  3. Depending on whether your Windows 7 installation is x86 or x64, copy the contents of the c:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\USMT\x86 or c:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\USMT\amd64 directories to the c:\usmt directory.

  4. Run the following command to generate an estimate of the migration store size:

    C:\USMT\scanstate.exe c:\mig-reports /p:"c:\mig-reports\MigrationStoreSize.xml"
  5. Use Internet Explorer to open the file c:\mig-reports\MigrationStoreSize.xml.

  6. Run the following command to create an encrypted store:

    C:\usmt\scanstate c:\mig-store /encrypt /key:"Pa$$w0rd"
  7. Verify that the migration store has been created in the c:\mig-store directory.

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