When we upgrade our computers to the latest and greatest hardware, we need a reliable method of migrating between different computers or operating systems. In this video, you’ll learn about the Windows migration options.
As consumers of our computers, we tend to create our own customized work areas. We have our own documents. We’ve changed configuration settings. The user interface has settings that we’ve set for ourself.
And if we move from one computer to another, we would like to be able to carry those configuration settings with us. We also want to be sure that all of our documents and all of our important files are moved between systems as well. Unfortunately, some of our operating systems don’t give us a way to directly go between one operating system to another.
For example, there is no direct upgrade path between Windows XP and Windows 7. You may also find that you’re moving to a completely new piece of hardware. You’re leaving your old laptop behind and going to a brand new faster laptop.
So in all of these cases, we’ll need to perform a migration to get from one computer to the other. If you want to install Windows 7 on your existing computer, you may want to check to see if it’s compatible with that operating system by running a program called the Windows Upgrade Advisor. You can download this directly from Microsoft, or there is a standalone application you can run from the installation media of Windows 7.
In Windows 8 and 8.1, this is called the Upgrade Assistant. And again, you can download this directly from Microsoft’s website. Once the Upgrade Assistant goes through its process, it will tell you what it found. And in my case, it showed that seven of my applications and devices are compatible.
There were two items that it wanted me to review. And it says I may need to reinstall compatible applications and devices in Windows 8.1. If I drill down on more detail, I can see that I may need to install an app to play DVDs. The secure boot is not compatible with my PC. And then it does show me the hardware that is compatible on my computer.
There are different ways to migrate between operating systems on the same computer or between operating systems across two separate computers. One way is a side-by-side migration where I have two physical devices and I’m simply connecting them together to migrate information from one computer to the other. Another way to do this is through a wipe and load, where I would export data, I would completely erase everything on the existing computer, install the new operating system, and then import all of the information that I previously saved.
Once I’ve now imported all of that information, I can remove all of that exported data that I originally created. Since you are erasing everything on this computer and re-importing the data, you’re going to need to save the information into a separate drive. You can usually plug in a USB-connected hard drive, or maybe save this information across the network to a network share.
Windows 8 and 8.1 relies on Microsoft’s cloud-based storage called OneDrive. It synchronizes your files and your configuration settings to the cloud. So if you install a new operating system, it can pull all of those settings down directly from the cloud.
One utility to provide this migration functionality is called Windows Easy Transfer. This allows you to migrate from Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, or Windows 8 and 8.1. So if you’re moving from one computer to another, you can use Windows Easy Transfer to help with the migration.
This does not always provide a direct path between operating systems, however. For instance, you can perform a Windows Easy Transfer from Windows XP to Windows 8. But there’s no way to perform the same transfer from Windows XP to Windows 8.1.
Windows Easy Transfer migrates almost everything. It migrates all your user information and all of your local configurations. But it is not migrate your applications. You will still need to install applications on your new computer once you’ve migrated all of your data over.
And Windows Easy Transfer supports both a side-by-side migration and a wipe-and-load migration as well. Another way to migrate is by using USMT, which is the User State Migration Tool. And again, we’re migrating from one Windows version to another.
You can go from Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8, to Windows Vista 7 and Windows 8, 8.1. The User State Migration Tool is included with the Windows Automated Installation Kit, the AIK. And it’s something that runs at the command line. It’s very scalable. And it’s very common to see this being used across very large enterprises to migrate many systems simultaneously.
The process with USMT is a 2-step process. This happens all at the command line. The first process is to perform a scan state. This is going to compile all of your information together and store all of this migration data.
In Windows Vista, and Windows 7, and the Windows 8 editions, you have to run this in an elevated prompt. If you’re running in Windows XP, you can run this as a local administrator. The second step is the load state, where where you’re taking all of this information and loading it onto the destination computer. Whether you’re using the User State Migration Tool, or the Windows Easy Transfer, this is a very good way to take all of your information from one computer and get it onto your brand new system.