Windows Migration Tools – CompTIA A+ 220-802: 1.4

When it’s time to upgrade your PC, you’ll need an easy way to migrate your documents and applications to a new computer. In this video, you’ll learn about different techniques for migrating from one Windows OS version to another.

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If you’re using a computer, then you’ve probably customized it just for you. There are probably specific application configurations, you might have documents that you have stored on your system. Maybe there are specialized bookmarks that you’ve created onto your computer.

And if you move from one computer to another, you don’t want to lose those. And we’ve gone through videos before where we’ve described the process of doing upgrades, where you put in an installation disk and it simply upgrades a system all in one place. But sometimes you don’t have that option.

For instance, if you want to go from Windows XP and jump to Windows 7, there’s no upgrade between those two. So you have to find some way to migrate that data between Windows XP and somehow get it into Windows 7.

There may also be a time where you’re not upgrading the same computer. Maybe you’re changing to a brand new system. So in that case, you can’t really upgrade the operating system, either. You need to move everything to a brand new computer itself.

And if you run into those situations, you might want to use some of those migration tools that are built into Microsoft Windows. If you’re migrating from one physical computer to another physical computer, you can do what’s called a side-by-side migration. You’ve got both computers there, they’re turned on at exactly the same time. You can connect them with a specialized transfer cable so you can send information between the two, and it will simply move information from one computer to another.

Another type of migration is called a wipe-and-load, and that’s where you are taking all of the data on that computer and you’re moving and backing it up to another storage device. Maybe you’ve got an external hard drive, or maybe you’re backing it up to another device over the network, because you’re going to delete everything that’s on this computer.

You’re going to install the new operating system, and then you’re going to transfer everything back to the computer. Now fortunately, there are utilities that will allow you to do this, so you don’t have to remember where all the files were located, or what type of configurations that you need to set up on the system once you get the new operating system installed. You simply use this built-in migration tool, and it will take care of all of those details for you.

One of the very early migration tools in the Windows operating system was called the File and Settings Transfer Wizard. That’s when you needed to do a migration to get into Windows XP. So if you were running Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, Windows ME, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, previous versions or editions of Windows XP and Server 2003, you could migrate all of those into Windows XP using this File and Settings Transfer Wizard.

This migration tool has been updated, so if you’re using newer operating systems, you’ll probably see the Windows Easy Transfer instead. If you’re already running Windows XP, or Windows Vista, or Windows 7, and you want to migrate from any one of those to a newer version, and perhaps even to older versions as well, you can use Windows Easy Transfer.

And you can see here, you can transfer user accounts, documents, music, pictures, email, internet favorites, videos, and more, all by using this built-in utility. We can use this to do side-by-side migrations where we have two computers that we’re connecting with a transfer cable, or we can do wipe-and-load.

This will take all of the data and move it off to an external storage device, and then you can use the same utility to get all that information brought into the new operating system. If you’re in a larger organization, you may need a way to automate this process. You don’t have time to go to everyone’s computer and click in the graphical interface and step through the process.

Instead, you might want to script this, or have it automated. And you can do that with a tool that Microsoft provides, called the User State Migration tool. And this will also allow you to migrate from one Windows version to another.

For instance, I can move from Windows XP to Windows 7. There’s a transfer that you can’t do through a normal upgrade. You can migrate from Windows Vista to Windows 7, Windows 7 to Windows 8. You can also go from Windows 8 back to Windows 7 if you’d like to.

This is included with something called the Windows Automated Installation Kit. So you can look for AIK to be able to find the User State Migration tool. And this is scalable to use across your entire organization. Because it’s a command line option, makes it very, very easy to deploy this and have many people using it simultaneously.

Because this is all command line driven, with the User State Migration tool, there are a lot of different options available, and it’s a two-step process to be able to perform these migrations. The first step is to do something called a ScanState, which is going to take all of your data, and it’s going to compile it all together and store that somewhere else, so that you have to be running as an elevated prompt in Windows Vista and Windows 7, or as a local administrator if you’re in Windows XP.

Once that information has been scanned and stored elsewhere, you can then load it into the new operating system. The second step would be to perform a LoadState, where we’re taking all of that profile information that we’ve saved elsewhere, and we’re loading it into our new operating system.

So by combining this capability of using ScanState and LoadState, this allows us to take all of the migrations that we need to perform, we can do it all at the command line and automate the entire process, all by using the User State Migration tool.