User State Migration Tool, or USMT, is a Microsoft facility to enable the migration of files, applications, settings, and personalities between versions of the Windows operating system.
The latest version of USMT has specific support for the migration of user settings from Windows XP to Windows 7. USMT is a very powerful migration facility. Unfortunately it has no GUI and relies on a combination of command line scripting and XML coding to get the job done. For many USMT’s lack of a GUI makes its use rather problematic. Also, the fact that it is a standalone tool, and is not integrated with other PC lifecycle management facilities, limits what would otherwise be advantages.
The operation of User State Migration Tool is controlled by XML files that define what and how settings should be migrated between machines. These XML files need to be hand-coded. The absence of templates for these XML files and an associated GUI to edit those templates is a further impediment to the widespread adoption of USMT.
Scalable Software’s heritage product WinINSTALL introduced a comprehensive GUI that can be used to enable operation of User State Migration Tool. Furthermore, the complexities of XML, which control the operation of USMT, are concealed behind templates with their own USMT GUI.
WinINSTALL’s GUI enables templates to be developed to support installation specific migration scenarios. Included in WinINSTALL support for USMT is the ability to perform a migration and operating system upgrade in-place using the USMT hardlink facility. The hardlink facility is used if an operating system upgrade is targeted at an existing machine.
In this scenario none of the applications, files, settings, and personalities are moved. Instead, as part of the pre-boot execution (PXE) environment, USMT simply identified where all the key files to be migrated are, and ensures they are injected into the correct place in the new operating system. Using USMT with hardlink under PXE enables machine migration to be measured in minutes rather than hours. Use of USMT is fully integrated with WinINSTALL architecture, enabling its use from the WinINSTALL GUI console. This capability ensures that, for the first time, USMT can be used in an entirely remote and zero-touch mode, via an intuitive GUI to guarantee rapid migration of user settings, files, and applications.